Vegan Sikh Geek

Punjabi-Style Suit Frustrations

August 14, 2012

Why would a man be frustrated with Punjabi suits, a female article of clothing? As husbands, we have to either be involved in or witness/hear about the incredible inefficiency that is the preparation, dawning and removal of these ridiculous garments. As you read this, keep in mind I’m mostly referring to the fancy, decorative suits which are more trouble than they’re worth.

First of all, the Salwaar doesn’t even come with the Nala (string) to tie it at the waist. The shopkeepers aren’t selling dress pants here, where they have huge margins on the belts and the consumer has choices on style, colour and material. We’re talking about a strip of sewn cloth which ties as a string, never to be seen; to include this is a no-brainer. For the less lucky ones who don’t have a relative or friend to make one for every suit, if the suit that is wanted to be worn has no Nala, one of the suits which actually has one needs to be found and have its Nala extracted. What would follow is the process of threading it through the waist tunnel of the Salwaar by means of wrapping it around a pencil twice and pushing/pulling the pencil through. God help you if it unwraps somewhere near the end and the pencil comes out the other end without a Nala attached.

Second, ironing the shirt of these things is a meticulous chore which needs to be done a day prior in order to be sure that you don’t get late to whichever function calls for the wearing of such attire. If the iron isn’t at precisely the correct setting, either the wrinkles will not come out or the fabric will burn. You can forget about trying to navigate around and through the maze of beads which make up the design, trying to get at the tiny patches of cloth in between. No iron made for human clothing is designed to do such a task on its own.

Thirdly, I don’t know who the heck designed these MC Hammer-style pants they call a Salwaar, but the number of folds in just one of them makes an iron weep in anticipation of what it will be put through in trying to get all of them perfect.

Moving on to putting these things on, there are difficulties for each of the different kinds of neck-types available. Here are two: For the non-zipper, high neckline shirts, one should be pitied if they’ve already tied their Dastaar (turban) beforehand, as the likelihood of having to redo it is greater than high after the not-designed-for-turban hole juices the Dastaar like a lemon. For the zippered suits, one has to be a yoga master in order to get it all the way up on her own. Myself not being a fan of fitted clothing, preferring room to be able to inhale normally, I cannot think of why people go though the hassle of putting on a shirt which doesn’t take into consideration that that the widest part of the body also has to fit through the area designed to be the slimmest fitting. Again, yoga seems to be a pre-requisite.

This is getting to be long, and I should make a point with all this. Here are three: Sisters - if you’re pleased by wearing these suits because it makes you happy, power to you, but don’t give in to societal pressure to show off the figure. Capitalist Society - Stop pushing standards on people about what is beautiful. Brothers - Grow up, stop gawking, and appreciate a human being as a human being.

To be continued

Navdeep Singh

Written by Navdeep Singh. His work is on GitHub. He's also on LinkedIn.