The Tale of Three Fabrics

** To be read in the context of Indian reverence of the Silk (Pattu) **

Cotton looked decidedly dull in his lumpy lack-lustre attire. He yearned for his moments of fame. In one of Cotton’s more thwarted moments, he had defined fame as being photo-worthy at South Indian weddings for himself.

Cotton had learned from the moment he had sprouted that his life was to be plain. Cotton tried to take on vibrant colours and shocking patterns while weaving. Time passed- things changed and fashion trends favoured Cotton – cotton was fashionable! However, the more people wanted to wear Cotton in the hot plains of India, the more Cotton’s obsession grew – he wanted to be accepted as wedding attire in South Indian Tamilian weddings.

Cotton cursed Silk and swore at it, to no avail.

He tried various angles of argument:

“I come from crop”

“I look brilliant”

“I make you as comfortable as it is possible to be when you are sitting in front of a huge fire in the 90 degree heat!” he wailed. But, he was dragged out – left to lament and comfort himself in the 90 degree heat.

Wool, meanwhile was definitely more revered in the colder regions, but could not match up to Silk either. “Very useful”, everybody conceded, even the freshly fleeced sheep shiveringly acknowledged that wool was a fine material. T’was the age of the dawning cinema – Tinsel town had started shooting all the garish songs in the colder reaches of the mountainside. Suddenly, film crews floated to the coldest regions to shoot for songs featuring men and women dancing around trees. Wool looked on with yearning – his moment was fame was just there, he thought. The Bollywood film stars flocked to the cold wrapped in the best woollen with a hot cuppa tea in their hands. Every single strand in the sweaters of Hema Malini and Sharmila Tagore preened themselves when the camera cried – “One two & three!”.

What should happen?! Oh the cruelty – the disdain of being discarded just before prancing in front of the camera in silk was too much for the woollen to bear.

“I am not going to keep you warm when you come running back and put me on again”, thought the sweaters grumpily. A representation is what is needed wool decided. The Wool Positive Publicity Committee was set up and spent years trying to get people to see the sense behind seeing film stars dancing in front of mounds of snow with nothing but a thin silk saree. Things changed – soon, actresses did start appearing with warmer clothes, but they cut straight through wool, and went to trendy leather jackets.

And so, you can still hear wool whimpering about unfair treatment when you pass by. Wool’s hidden desire was to attain fame through the camera. But its wishes were sadly ignored. Another grumpy fabric.

Silk meanwhile apparently had everything going for him. He had roads built for his comfort and transport. Royalty flocked to him. Not a single function – big or small went by without silk it seemed. Yet, silk was the unhappiest of all. All he yearned for, ever, was to be left alone.
There were those who had few silk clothes and brandished them for every function. The old silks would lie wanting nothing more to be left alone – right next to the crisp enthusiastic cotton or the woollen waiting for a glimpse of the outer world. But no, the humans would unfailingly parade the same silks around everytime. It mattered not that every memory of themselves would be in one of the same silks – it was silk and that was all. One could practically see the silk fibre yawning in the photographs.

So, it was that Silk remained unhappy too.

One day, the three unhappy fabrics opened up and talked in the almirah – a mix may change the mindset they said.

And that is the story behind the Cotton Silks & Cotton wool and the Silk wools! Every fabric had a little bit of their urge satisfied. People ventured to appear in Photographs with fabric other than silk for once.

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4 thoughts on “The Tale of Three Fabrics”

  1. Wonder what makes you personify Silk alone as "him" where as wool & cotton , a mere "it"? Maybe, it shows that subconsciously silk has somehow been designated a higher status in our minds.

  2. Either it is Silk saree or White long marriage dress & Black tuxedo every one wants to hold on to one thing (at least) that they don't want to change.

    I thought 3000$ wedding dresses in US was crazy and just have to look back at 7000Rs wedding saree bought by poor people. (saving point is, you can wear your 7000Rs saree to many places not wait for your next marriage πŸ™‚ )

    Interestingly when you move up in the economy scale it becomes acceptable (even fashionable) if you wear "simple cotton" saree πŸ™‚
    I remember my athai wearing cotton saree and everyone was saying she carries it well..

    Another element (at least in Indian context) is that we are too worried about what others will say and in that process make others responsible for the action we take.
    And then, when they don't follow what we think they would've preached we will jump to find fault with them. And thus causing a vicious loop.

  3. Hey very creative :-). You know I have great fondness for cotton-silk mix fabrics … I don’t know if “they” like the “shared” pride, but I have a no of salwar suits of these materials. They look awesome!

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