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Under your clothes

In the words of Shakira: “Underneath your clothes there’s an endless story.” I may be wrong, but I’m sure the pop diva is singing about underwear, Steven Baker gives the details.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2008 16:58 IST

In the words of Shakira: “Underneath your clothes there’s an endless story.” I may be wrong, but I’m sure the pop diva is singing about underwear. When you’re getting down and dirty, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But this is where the problem lies.

Up until recently, the market for mens’ underwear was rather limited, with Indian guys quite happy with the standard issue pants bought by Mummyji. Now there are endless options, and some difficult decisions have to be made. Boxer shorts or briefs? Y fronts or thong? Fast track to Ed Hardy’s Connaught Place store, to purloin Ranbir Kapoor’s Bachna Ae Haseeno look.

Their mens’ underwear range, inspired by old-school tattoos, offers the perfect pant for your package. Style, however, doesn’t come cheap. Purchase these undies, and you’ll get just one rupee change from your three thousand. Looking for something a little less costly, sir? If your wardrobe budget is not on the scale of a Yash Raj production, head down Chelmsford Road, take a left at New Delhi Railway Station, and stop only when you reach Paharganj’s Main Bazaar. Here you’ll find the mecca of inexpensive inner wear.

Got twenty-five rupees burning a hole in your pocket? Invest in this season’s cheap and best low-end lowers. Available in a wide range of colours. Choose from brown or blue. Or how about blue or brown? Opt for the brown, or go with the blue? No refunds. No exchange. Thank God. When shopping for unmentionables, fake designer apparel is a fashion faux pas. Sarojini Nagar’s mock branded pants are a big disaster in the smalls dept.

Why do the wearers of Kalvin Clien and Dolchay & Garbana [sic] insist on waistbands pulled high and jeans slung low? Not only are they buying the fakest of fakes, but they want the world to know it, too. Also to be avoided is comedy underwear. Whether it’s crocodiles peeking out of front seams, or performing monkeys sneaking a paw inside, pants of the comic kind should come with a statutory health warning.

Something even more hideous than the twenty-five rupee pants, designer fakes or cartoon hell has to be India’s own langota. The langota is surely the Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag of underwear. I’m happy to say that I lived for many years on this planet, unaware of the existence of such a monstrous creation. When a friend gently explained the purpose of that strange piece of cloth on a neighbour’s washing line, I was exposed to India’s guilty secret. The horror! The horror!

When it comes to women, the only adjustment needed to their undergarments is in the marketing. Those ‘Bra & Panties’ advertisements hand-painted on the side of a wall? Is it just me, or does the expression ‘Bra & Panties’ sound just a tad perverted? Ask Shakira.