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Sari for the inconvenience.

Sure, saris look fantastic. But what on earth is the point of them?

Rohan JoshiMere days remain before India chooses its next abusive boyfriend. As a result, pre-election drama has reached a zenith of stupidity so transcendent that I’m convinced that all three PM hopefuls are just the guy who played Borat, in new disguises.

I could write about poll idiocy, but the only words that describe the situation accurately are those weird noises Tusshar Kapoor makes for the entirety of the Golmaal franchise.

I could also protest this tamaasha by leaving this entire page blank but then someone would mistake it for the BJP manifesto, and where would we be then?

I also imagine this is the last time in the next few months that I’ll get a chance to write about something that’s not just “ROFLDEMOCRACY”, so I’d like to use this space to draw your attention to a devastating problem plaguing Indian women; the sari.

Earlier this week, for the purpose of comedy, I was required to put on a sari. Like a young Gandhi male in an election year, little did I know what I was in for. What vile sartorial tyranny is this, ladies? Why have you put up with it for so long? For starters, a sari isn’t actually a sari.

It’s a gigantic piece of rectangular cloth that you have to transform into a sari through a combination of interpretive dance, wizardry and at least one animal sacrifice. I do not understand this byzantine system because I wear shorts.

And my shorts are always shorts. They are not a piece of dull beige cloth with dreams of a better life that can be achieved only through origami. They aren’t held in place by hairpins, they are held in place by a belt. And if I abandon the gym long enough, even the belt is superfluous.

The sari is also the only piece of clothing I have ever worn that required a pit-crew to put it on. One member of the crew walked around me with the cloth, wrapping me like a paneer roll, occasionally giving me bits and folds to hold. The second member had a more important job; telling me not to move an inch or breathe during the process.

The third had the most important job of all; Instagramming photos of my discomfort. In the time it took to get this done, I missed a full three phases of the Indian election. But it was after the sari was draped that I realised that my ordeal was only just beginning.

At this point, I’d like to pause and salute every female commuter I have ever seen run for a train or a bus in a sari, every actress I have ever seen dancing in one, and every woman ever for any kind of muscle movement in one. The armed forces need a separate special-ops team comprised of your ilk.

In fact, I’m convinced Seal Team Six was just four sari-clad women from Boisar who flew to Abbotabad in a helicopter crafted from six Kanjivarams, a few blouses, and a safety pin. In the few hours that I wore a sari, I moved exactly 200 metres, and had to sit on everything sideways. Hindu women reading this, please renounce the sari; if God wants you to go everywhere slowly and sideways, you know he could reincarnate you as a crab, right?

And now, feminists, er, correction, I mean “feminists” please note; this is not patriarchal thought-control on my part. I’m not trying to control what women wear. I take no social, religious, or gender-based issue with the sari. My concerns are wholly practical. I merely wish to open your eyes to a world where technology has now made it possible for us to simple shrug or pull clothes on.

If anything, as a red-blooded male it’s counter-productive of me to fight the sari because women (and Riteish Deshmukh in every alternate movie) look so bloody good in them. But I must fight my own base instinct, and with a heavy heart beg you to renounce them.

Besides, if you really want to make a statement in something silly and expensive that takes too long and is not worth the effort, just wear the Indian elections.

Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on www.facebook.com/therohanjoshi

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