I bought it for eight hundred rupees two years ago. It was the maximum I had ever paid for a single piece of clothing. My dad was aghast as he didn?t see what was there in those blue trousers (without pleats that too) made from thick cotton with rivets near the pockets that they cost such a fortune. Adding to the value of the item was a label saying ?Lee? near the backside. ?Eight hundred rupees for this thing!?, he thundered. ?I won?t get you another pair of jeans unless you wear this atleast eighty times?.
I have comfortably outlived his estimate. I have worn it at least a hundred and sixty times in the last two years. And washed it at least thirty times by beating it against the washing board behind my house. What was a brilliant indigo colour has become white near the thigh region. The cloth has been frayed in many places, with at least three proper holes with diameter greater than a centimetre. Constant wear has made this once tight-fitting pair of jeans baggy. I had to buy a new belt recently as the old one made of fine leather failed to hold up these jeans.
But now, sadly, it seems it is the time to let go. ?Boys from respectable families such as ours shouldn?t dress like hippies?, says my dad. ?If you are so fond of it, I?ll get you two new pairs of jeans but please don?t wear these faded ones?, says my mom. ?You may get away with it saying it is ?fashion?. But what will people think of us if they see you like this? ?Can?t even get their son proper clothes?, they will say. I don?t want to see these jeans again?.
When all powers of reasoning fail, it is prudent not to continue a battle. I have finally agreed to my parents? suggestion of discarding my old pair of jeans. But only after I have found a suitable substitute, I have told them. They seem to have grudgingly agreed. And as if to make a statement, I have told them that I will be wearing only those pair of jeans till I find a substitute.
Yesterday I went to the ?mega-mart? near my house from where I had bought those jeans two years ago. ?Blue Lee Jeans, something that looks like this one?, I tell the shopkeeper. Unfortunately everything he shows me are either too loose or too tight or too long or too short or if they satisfy all other criteria, too expensive ? upwards of three thousand rupees. Finally after a lot of rummaging, he pulls out another pair. They fit me to a T. The cost is reasonable. There is only one problem ? they?re already faded. Fat chance my dad?s going to pay for THAT. Even if he does, that means I don?t get any other new clothes till maybe I start earning. I walked out.
I went to all the Lee outlets in town, with no luck. I decided I should be willing to pay more for a pair of jeans. I decided to go for ?Levi?s?. Once again the problem arose ? too tight?too loose? too short? too long? too high? too low? too dark? too light?. I gave up once again. This way, I tried probably all the brands available in town. There was simply no replacement. I knew that no two PEOPLE are the same. But it was only now I realised that the same applies to jeans also.
So here I am, wearing the same old dear jeans of mine. Who cares whether there is a hole in the wrong place or if it is fully faded or if it is extremely dirty. As long as I feel comfortable wearing it, I don?t care two naya paise for what others say. For all you know, I?ll be wearing these jeans all my life. Like the guy in the live-in ad who goes into the washing machine wearing his jeans.