x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Desi Life: the trials and tribulations of dealing with tailors

It is a very special bond between the desi woman and her tailor - one which is nurtured throughout a woman's life and may even be part of the desi DNA.

Tailors - you can't live with them, you can't live without them. Come Eid or Diwali, though, one has to find a peaceful way to co-exist.

There is no parallel to the love-hate relationship that desi women have with their tailors. It's a very special bond, the value of which is drummed into us from the minute we need stitched clothing by virtue of having grown out of items held together by tape (ie nappies). I have a feeling that this bond - which we nurture throughout our lives - might even be part of desi DNA.

As far back as memory can go, we have accompanied our mothers to their tailors. First as bawling babies, then as testy toddlers, right up until that glorious "coming of age" moment when we make the trip alone and give our first brief for an outfit. This is the ultimate sign of empowerment. The ultimate sign of rebellion is to discover - and switch to - another tailor.

Forget about feverish 5-year-olds or monstrous mothers-in-law; the worst tragedy we can suffer is that of our tailor moving shop to another neighborhood or, worse, packing up for good. I have consoled many a friend suffering from painful episodes of "How can he do this to me?!" brought on by a departing tailor. How dare he decide to make a better living for himself elsewhere when I clearly have outfits that need to be stitched?

If you're starting to feel sorry for this breed called tailors, then please don't. They have it good and they know it. They lure us in with amazing display pieces (seldom delivering anything even remotely resembling them), shock us with extortionate rates, blackmail us with long waiting lists and hold for ransom our beloved outfits. Several times a year, they wield more power over us than any mortal should be allowed to. These times are, of course, festive occasions such as the two Eids and Diwali. You can see it in their eyes, the cruel pleasure they derive out of making us beg to have our outfits ready in time for that Diwali party.

It's that time of the year again, when tailors make a killing and we are the victims (well-dressed ones, if that is any consolation). With Eid Al Adha and Diwali around the corner, tailors are playing harder to get than a picture of Aaradhya Rai Bachchan.

You have two choices now: cater to their whims or show them who's boss by going for ready-stitched. Off-the-rack, ready-made and fuss-free: stick it to the man! Of course, you will have to fight with 200 other desi women who each had the same bright idea as you. But how much fun is it to own an outfit if you didn't have to punch someone in the face to get it?

If you feel up to it, I can clue you in on the best Diwali Bazaar to head to this month, not just for Eid and Diwali outfits, but also for accessories, home furnishings, gifts and general, hand-picked desi goodness.

Nitasha Mulani of Ennigma Events, who backs this event with 15 years of experience, claims no other bazaar in town can match this one's offerings, because she has sourced exhibitors straight from India and Pakistan.

The Ennigma Diwali Bazaar will take place on two consecutive Saturdays (October 20 and 27) at the Oud Metha Ballroom, Mövenpick Hotel Dubai, from noon until 11pm, featuring more than 160 exhibitors.

Don't forget to pack your boxing gloves!

The writer is an honest-to-goodness Desi fan living in Dubai.