Friday, 27 September 2013

Shreeman Baniyan


5… 4… 3… 2…1 … and it’s time to talk about Shreeman's Baniyan!

Vest stolen from Google
If I could make a movie one day, I would make it on men’s baniyans. (Oops, will this post be banned by BMC for referring to men’s ander (wear) ki baat? Oh, that’s excluded from censorship? Praise be the lord!) Perhaps my movie will be a period drama called ‘The Unsung Hero’ or an action flick which ... Arrey, why do you smile? Okay, let me explain. 

Sitting under the Baniyan Tree of Knowledge one day, I was musing about this and that when enlightenment in the form of the following flashed down from heavens above. It dawned upon my philosophical mind The Truth about this piece of men’s inner wear. And the conviction immediately translated into a letter to the PMO requesting them to declare the Baniyan the National Dress of India. Let’s see why!   

Good character certificate
Do a thing first! Go to your balcony and peep at the neighbour’s clothes line, or observe your own. Is there 
another piece of nearly-washed clothing hanging with so much humility as a man’s vest? So much humility and simplicity as is seen in a white (often blueish) baniyan is unmatched in any other piece of clothing. Absolutely no frills attached, and just a tiny little tag with a number statistic no one cares about. Even with grand canyons for arm holes and plunging necklines, they continue modest. One size can surely fit all, and some can even accommodate two and a half men, nearly. These low-key beings ask for no limelight, no prime time, no good quality washing powder and not even a passing reference in the crorepati fashion industry. They just quietly promote equality – since all baniyans look the same, feel the same, show the same and hide the same (almost). They are secular in nature – everyone wears one, and usually not in the colours of their flags. The Baniyan Brotherhood’s sense of fraternity can make any two strangers from different castes look like twins when wearing them. If this is not Constitution friendly, what is?     

The name is enough
Look at the names they carry. While a sense of gender levelling and homeliness is kept in mind by calling some 'Rupa', most others can make you feel like studs if not look it. Amul Macho, Boss, VIP Supreme and even Dollar for that matter, considering its namesake currency continues so strong. I would surely name my 4th child after a baniyan I tell you, and perhaps encourage him/her to become a Jockey too. No, I am not jokey-ing around. I mean it! Why, even a mall in West Delhi is called ‘Vest-Gate’, as it should be, looking at the tattoos donning shimmery vests walking in with gota-zari women for formal lounges. It was sheer providence and the many hands of the many divine which made exactly one half of the ‘W’ of ‘West’ break to reveal the real ‘V’ for Victory Vest inside, yo! 

The versatility 
Such freedom of expression impression the baniyan offers, you can spot them anywhere, on any occasion. Log into Facebook and see. You can combine it with a dhoti, with shorts, pants or even your favourite RSS-ish chaddi with drawstrings. Mamaji is wearing one and standing under the waterfall, even as mamiji’s three-piece suit tries to keep the dupatta in place. Retired uncle ji from one house away wears it all night all day, even when welcoming in the RWA executive for a crucial meeting. And chachaji flaunts a few holes, other than the ones for arms and neck, even as he lounges on the bed for a picture with his suited-booted bhateeja. Reminds me of an armour actually, with scars from war and wounds of battleground dotting it all over- be it rust, mite holes and even good old mera wala neel. Like they say - when you have earned them, you flaunt them. The newer-modern ones are worn to malls and other’s mansions for shopping or football-beer party, respectively.  The older ones are worn everywhere else. Multi-faceted!

All this, even when Shreeman Baniyan asks for nothing in return. Completely selfless in service these daid-do meters of cloth. No ironing, no high maintenance and certainly no glitter-stone work and high-fashion cut. Why, it does not even care where it ends up one day when wounds of war far exceed counting ability. It becomes anything from a mop to chopped up dusters. Such good cotton, why throw, no? Or maybe it’s pure love for this humble inner wear (and not global warming) that makes men cling on to it, more and more. 

As I type in Baniyan on Google’s 15th birthday doodle to look for a heroic image for this ode, I recoil in shame. It throws up ‘banyan bonsai’ in its result. We need more voices to join in the cause of promoting The Aam Baniyan. Giving it it’s rightfully earned pedestal. Justice needs to be done and fast. Start a sign campaign for making it the national dress of India at least. 

In the meantime, any script-writer for my 'MIB - Men in Baniyans'?






[This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda]

86 comments:

  1. ROTFL!!! Who would have thought the humble baniyan would have the potential to bring out so much humor!

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    1. So happy you found it funny, Yamini. Yes yes, humble they are, really, even if the wearer isn't. :P Thank you for stopping by! :D

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  2. Seriously funny... I didn't look at Shreeman Baniyan this way at all... :-)

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    1. Well, now you can, Fizz. :D Thanks for reading! :)

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  3. Hahaha..I am with you Sakshi all the way in Promoting our Baniyan--The secular of all.. :-P

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    1. :D There, that makes two signatures on our sign campaign! :)

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  4. LOL :-D

    Conicidence or what!!! This morning only I was getting classes from Lady Friday on a different name for Shreeman Baniyan...and that's 'Ganji'. I am sorry but I never heard that one before and couldn't stop laughing at it.

    Imagine my expression when she said, "Hum chhath se Bhaiya ka Ganji laane gaye the." :-D
    Need to have asked hubby, "Who's this new found Ganji that you're hanging around with?" :-P

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    1. Ganji? Hahahaha, I have never heard of that used for a baniyan. I thought it meant a bald woman, maybe? Oh Rekha, that must have been funny. Hahaha, sweet woman buying your husbands vests. So sweet! Don't worry, if he finds a Ganji, you can show her your beautiful hair and she will stand not a chance. :D

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  5. What a funny post! How much thought did you give to this post? Loved it, from first line to the last.
    I am reminded of a sms that was floating a few years ago about Rupa baniyan 'agar rupa ki banyan pehnoge toh rupa kya pehanegi?'

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    1. Yes, yes, I remember that SMS now. Alas! Could have used it actually. I gave this post as much thought as a man gives his vest. :P Thanks for reading, Shilpa. :)

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  6. As you say, yeh andar ki baat hain. Love the dollops of humor, Sakshi:) We love our banyans and it comes sasta, ranging from 15 bucks to 100 rupaiyas..sometimes we get 2 for 100..cheaper than onions:)

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    1. Yes indeed, Vishal. Very sasta. Thank God no designer versions for this one. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. That was such a humour packed, creative yet sensitive writeup. Hats off to you sakshi...

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    1. Arrey arrey, thank you, Viteja. Also, glad you said 'hats'. Too much 'baniyan' happening anyway! :P

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    2. Girl, we women cannot take that off ;-)

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  8. Came to your blog from IndiVine. Today must be my lucky day for all the blogs I saw are brilliant. Unique and hilarious concept. :D A bit daring as well. Great job done. Cheers!

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  9. I remember the joke ,'Agar tum Rupa ka banian pehanoge , toh Rupa kya pehanige?' Hilarious.

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    1. Yes, Kalpana, and I think that was the only baniyan named after a woman, wasn;t it? Correct me if I'm wrong. :)

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  10. Ha ha....good one :) great imagination.....loved your last line :)

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    1. Thanks, Preethi. I hope you will be helping me with the script in that case. :D

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  11. Ha ha....good one :) great imagination.....loved your last line :)

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  12. Loved it, Sakshi. Your film, MIB, should star SRK. All through the finale fight sequence in Chennai Express, his ganji/banian flaunts its D&G label straight in your eye.

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    1. But the 'Boss' is always right, Mimmy Jain, so I will have to cast Akshay Kumar instead. However, imagine a row of ganji-clad stars - some desi brands some foren - THAT would be a true tribute to what's usually supposed to be inside the tee.:)

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  13. How do you do it! I mean who would have thought of a post on "Baniyan".. You are one awesome writer.. Such a delight to read!Today, every Baniyan had its day :P

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    1. Haha, yes! Today it was World Baniyan Day! :D Thanks for reading, Upadhi.

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  14. well I can just LOL at this post :p
    and yea for MIB am ready to contribute :p
    Good One :D

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    1. Good to have a contributor already, Anmol. Many thanks - for reading and bothering to write the script of the movie, both! :)

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  15. Replies
    1. :D It's the only thing that connects us all, An Indian Writer. :)

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  16. This is so funny, Sakshi :). It was wicked and nonsensical. I just loved the humor. You can really write on any topic! Men in Baniyan -- ingenious! Of course, you see the hunks wear stylish ganjis, even women who team them with shorts only in movies. Have you seen colourful baniyans. I saw a few in the supermarket the other day with white piping. I sort of imagined Sallu bhai donning them and tearing them off with elan ;). Fun post this!

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    1. Yes, especially if it is a topic of grave importance, like this one here Rachna! ;) I have seen stylish ganjis but I really don't know how one baniyan can be different from the other, even though the wearer can be by a huge margin. ;) I have seen 1 colourful baniyan which my son was given at 3 months by someone. It said 'Super Sardar' at the back. :P And Sallu bhai will tear them when he chooses to wear them at all. Waisey, it is his favourite dress I think! :P

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  17. LOL! Now I know what you actually do when your kid's away ;)

    Regards
    Sammya

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    1. Sammya, this is just ONE of the many things that I do. :D Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  18. I kept myself free from the burden of baniyan since my childhood. My parents, specially my father always scolded me for that. I just can't take that thing :)

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    1. "Burden of baniyan" haha, Jahid. Good one!

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  19. Glad you in'vest'ed time and energy to write this humorous piece!
    Salim could be the script-writer for your 'MIB - Men in Baniyans', with Salman as the hero! :-)

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    1. When you say "invested time and energy" I wonder if you mean it sarcastically. After all, who would write about baniyans in times of no time and energy which cn be used more constructively. But, thank you for finding it funny, and for the script suggestion, both. :D

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  20. They just quietly promote equality – since all baniyans look the same, feel the same..you thought so???well dear..there are so many colorful cousins to them who you completely ignored...red, orange,green..fancy colors and with different texturs...satin,net type.....next time u walk by a foot path undergarmet seller, take a peek...a whole lot of substance for your part 2 post :)

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    1. Certainly the white ones! I know know, I have seen the new-age versions of those vests. My ode, however, is dedicated to the simple, plain, white ones. No frills attached. :P And what a brilliant suggestion - Wonderful Baniyans, Part II will be in the making soon. Let me collect some pictures first. :P

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  21. You got me at Vest-Gate and I am still trying to recover from the bouts of giggles. Totally secular. I bet Modiji and Rahulji wear the same brand.

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    1. I am sure they do. Perhaps, different sizes, don't you think? Thanks for reading, Ritu ma'am! :)

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  22. hahahahahaha sakshi...you are an indigenous....out of the world creativity...and I have heard the word 'ganji' as well...it is commomly spoken around in bihar and jharkhand side....I just fell outta my chair laughing.

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    1. SO good to know you fell out of your chair laughing. :D Glad I could do that you, in a godo way though. :) Thanks for reading!

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  23. Fit Hai Boss. You can make the mundane interesting. MIB....? Why not.

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    1. "Fit Hai Boss" - Super comment. MIB, for sure, one day! :)

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  24. LOL! I thought only "banyan"trees gave rise to profound thoughts! The 'holey' vest is such a common sight! Enjoyed the post Sakshi.

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    1. Holey Vest, i should have thought of this expression myself. :D Thanks for reading, Ilakshee. :)

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  25. Immensely humour + topping of sarcastic spice = laughter unlimited ...Nice right up Sakshi !

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    1. Thanks, readersheaven. I like the little equation you got there. :)

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  26. Hahaha! An ode to the most unpretentious of garments! But you know this calls for a companion piece now - one on the humble chaddi!
    Loved it!

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    1. That was the initial plan actually. However, those don't come as unpretentious as baniyans. Thanks for liking it, Rickie. :D

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  27. And look at the colours in which it is available nowadays. Banyaans are trendy in the modern age. White ones are not cool anymore.
    It surely deserve to be our national dress. I don't think the common man can afford anything else.
    Mast read! :)

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    1. Thanks, mashedmusings. Yes, I know there are so many kinds and colours now. But I still think the white ones will be ever-green and never out of fashion. :)

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  28. :).. what observations! Hilarious!

    www.volatilespirits.com

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    1. Glad you liked it, Anupama. Yes, 30 years worth of observations did deserve a post. :P

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  29. Exactly, how do you come up with ideas to write so hilarious about the most mundane of the things.. ?? Dont tell me you wrote this while standing upside down and running after your toddler ;) :D

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    1. I wrote this while doing laundry, seriously! And I WAS upside down too. Doesn't it show? :P

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  30. Aussies romanticise the baniyan so much theyve given it a nic name ' the wife-beater'. Guess they have a story to reveal to the people who ponder about them.

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    1. That's news to me. I will try find out the story behind the weird name!

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  31. This is a funny post. Loved the bits of humour thrown in. But let's not underestimate the men, they can buy anything from a Rs. 50 to Rs. 500 and still use it the same way. My hubby is capable of such!

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    1. I can never underestimate the MIB, Kajal. :D

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  32. I must tell you I got the giggles when I saw someone in church wearing what looked suspiciously like a baniyan - his Sunday-vest, you think?
    I'm looking forward to the next part as suggested by Rickie!

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    1. Sunday-vest? Heavens, I should have collected the Baniyan tales before putting this piece together. My attempt is waxing stale in comparison to what all others have to share, Corinne. Care to take a picture the next tie around? ;)
      Hm. The next best thing to naked may just germinate into a post, now that two people seem to be interested in it! :)

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  33. Three cheers for the humble baniyan! Loved each bit of your campaign for the baniyan. I am sure if the anyone from the baniyan industry gets a clue of your post the next thing we will be finding is men on the ramp wearing trendy baniyans.

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    1. I do hope someone from the Baniyan Industry sees this. I mean who, just who, writes an ode to a baniyan. :P Someone who is really in love with them, knows their true worth and has lots of free time on her hands. :P Thanks for reading, Geeta.

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  34. Ah! Well! I am outdone :) I am the rags-and-bpne man normally who picks on small things and tries to make it sound humorous. Now here you go showing me up :)

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    1. Are you calling The Baniyan 'a small thing'? Goes to show you do not agree with my sentiments expressed here, Suresh. :(

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  35. I have "vest"ed interest in this, Sakshi! Loved your post. As I lovingly fold my son's baniyans, marveling at how the almost palm-size garment is now a full adult size, I too am amazed to think how faithful this humble ander ki baat is. :D

    Yep - I vote for the Men in Baniyans!

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    1. You will not believe me when I say this, Vidya maa'm. I was folding my son's dhai-saal-wala vest and wondering how the size will change, and hopefully it will no longer carry loony toons on them when this post took birth in my head. :D Thank you for your vote, and special thanks for stopping by. :).

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  36. Sakshi, you made the tale of men's inner wear so interesting that it outdid the sheer beauty of what the rest of the world appreciates more:)

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    1. Hahaha, wonderful comment! Thanks for reading, Rahul. :D

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  37. LOL, that was such a funny take on the prompt! How on earth did you even think of writing about this for this prompt! Tickled my funny bone! :) Well done!

    Cheers,
    Deepa

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    1. Well, truth be told, I did not intend to write this for WOW but as a tribute to this wow piece of men's innerwear. When I saw the prompt, I did a little abracadabra and made it relevant to 5..4..3..2..1 :)
      Thanks for reading, Deepa.

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  38. Loved the importance bestowed on this humble piece of garment.. indeed MIB should be taken seriously :P

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    1. :D Oh, Im taking it very very seriously. Really! :D
      Thanks for stopping by, Rinaya! :)

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  39. :D :D This one was absolutely hilarious! Loved it! :P

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  40. hilarious Sakshi . Love your style of writing .Who knew A humble 'Baniyan ' could bring in so much laughter & fun :)

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    1. :) Glad you liked it, Garima. Many thanks!

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  41. Hey Sakshi: Cant just stop at reading it but also to comment on it. "Yeh article to bada toing hain"
    And our Sunny Paji who started the trend of advertising it for years....cant get him out of our minds.He can b the mentor of your dream project 'MIB'...Lol

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  42. Haha! 'Toing' how could I miss that. And sure sure, forever grateful to Sunny Paji for his contribution to the world of baniyans. Thanks for reading, Kunal.

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  43. Grt article! got to it late but loved to go through it. Could you share some medical significance of wearing a baniyan as many people wear and many don't wear a baniyan

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    1. Oh, I have no idea beyond the 'it absorbs sweat and keeps you cool' catch-phrase.
      Thanks for coming by!

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