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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 5: October 2020
Haibun Story: 441 words [R]
By Gautam Nadkarni

Hot Couture


When my friend Dinesh stoutly declared his intention of getting married, all his bachelor friends were aghast.

Of course we thought he was pulling our legs. Some people have a bizarre sense of humour you know. But his expression, that of a person placing the noose firmly around his own neck and testing the knot lest it fail, belied this assumption. Then we smelt his breath to see if he’d been having a few behind our backs. Here again we were proved wrong. Finally, after every alternative avenue had been ruled out, we had to conclude his statement was true. Somebody suggested a therapist. Somebody else recommended a pilgrimage to Benares and the chanting of mantras. Eventually, however, we had to accept his decision as final. And that was that.

Now weddings of course are occasions when everyone dresses up as for a masquerade ball. It goes without saying that if a guy was caught in graphic tees and torn jeans attending the binge he would be politely told to use the service entrance. So I visited a haute couture outlet that sold clothes suitable for festive occasions.

When I told the middle aged saleslady what I was looking for she said, “Ah, I’ve just the thing for you.” She showed me a traditional Indian sherwani in beige with gold embroidery. When she was looking the other way I sneaked a peek at the price tag. It said rupees 150,000/--. Stunned, I told her I found it unsuitable and asked to see something else. The next one was a pistachio green bandhgala with silver and green motifs. Once again the price tag, in six figures, scandalized me. I told the good lady that she was mistaken in assuming I was the bridegroom. I was only the unfortunate fellow’s buddy, I said.

She said, “Oh, but the ones for the bridegroom are over here.” Curiosity got the better of me and I examined the price tags. They cost a whopping rupees 250,000/-- and more. I almost fainted I think and the salesperson sprinkled some water on my face from a glass. Rose water.

Well, that decided me. I wrote my chum a brief note excusing myself from attending his marriage ceremony because, as I explained to him, my astrologer had warned me against it. Something to do with Saturn being at the wrong place at the wrong time. A flimsy reason no doubt but then I wasn’t exactly Richard Branson or Anil Ambani. And the only suit I had of any value at all was my birthday suit.

nudist colony...
yet again the visitor asks
for the dress code



—Published previously in Haibun Hut (Facebook, 31 May 2020);
appears here with author’s permission

Gautam Nadkarni,
Issue 5, October 2020

from Mumbai, India, finds gratification in writing haibun as well as in drawing haiga, both with a senryu twist. Writing and publishing haikai poetry since 2007, he tried his hand at haibun and haiga only in late 2017 and promptly fell in love with both. He has since had his haibun published in almost all the leading haikai journals and his haiga as well. He is currently senryu editor of Cattails Journal.

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