February 3, 2016 by Preeks
When I was little, I think in class 1 or 2, we had a very nice story in English. It was called “Kachu’s Shirt”.
Kachu was an absent minded, slightly stupid, but very nice man. One day, his mother gifted him a nice blue chequered cloth and told him to get it stitched as a shirt for his birthday. Kachu was delighted. He clutched the piece of cloth and ran to his favourite tailor. The tailor could see Kachu was excited. He spent some time taking measurements of Kachu’s arms, his waist, his chest. Then in a typical darzi style, he stuck his pencil end in his mouth and started interrogating Kachu.
“Full Sleeves or cut sleeves?”
“Long or short?”
“2 buttons on the collar or 1?”
“Haaan. Of course I want a pocket. I will keep all change there. Also, my comb. Maybe I can keep a photo of myself there. A few toffees too.”
The tailor smirked, roughly tore a receipt from the book, slammed shut the receipt book and said, “Collect it from me in 3 days.”
Three days later, Kachu woke up early, put on an old shirt which he wanted to discard, counted the exact change of Rs 36 and ran to the tailor’s shop. As soon as the shop opened, he demanded his shirt. The tailor, amused by Kachu’s excitement, went into the back of the shop and returned with a beautiful blue checkered shirt with a nice large pocket on the left side. Kachu could barely contain his excitement. After satisfactorily examining the shirt, he ran home, tore open his old shirt and wore the new blue checkered shirt. He filled his pockets with all things nice – change, toffees, wallet, comb and his photo. After admiring himself in the mirror, he strutted out with a nice excited gait.
Everyone loved the shirt.
“Kachu! New shirt! Looks nice.”
“Arrey Kachu, is it your birthday? Your shirt looks so nice!”
“Kachu, your shirt has such a large pocket. Its so nice!”
After a whole day of excitement, Kachu returned home and in his typical style, emptied his pockets, tore open his shirt, hung it on the hook and went off to sleep.
The next morning, he woke up, took a bath and again wore the shirt. But, today, after combing his hair, when he proceeded to fill his pockets, to his horror, there was no pocket. Alarmed, he ran his hand all over his shirt and yet, couldn’t find the pocket. Where did it go? Where will he keep the change, the toffees, the comb, the wallet and his photo?
He ran out and without even stopping for breakfast, he landed at the tailor’s shop, banging his door. “How can you cheat me like this? Why did you take the pocket back? I paid you for it!”
Hearing the noise, a neighbor put his head out and told him, “Darzi has gone to his village. He will only return after 10 days. Come back then.”
Dejected and disappointed, poor Kachu walked back home. Nothing could cheer him up. Not even his mother’s bread pakoda. At night, he tore open his shirt and threw it on the chair.
When Kachu woke up the next morning, he didn’t even feel like wearing the shirt. But it was the blue chequered shirt. How could he not wear it? So, he took a bath and put on the shirt again. While he combed his hair, his eyes went down to his chest. And lo. There was the pocket. He started laughing. The pocket was back! He quickly filled it up with toffees, his comb, his photo and his money. Then he ran around the town shouting and telling anyone who would listen that the pocket was back!
The next day though, the pocket was gone again. Kachu could not understand what was happening. After ten days of having and not having the pocket on the shirt, he went to the tailor and started shouting. “You have given me a cursed shirt. It has a pocket one day and then it disappears the next. You have cheated me. How can you do this?”
The tailor started laughing loudly. So much that he got tears in his eyes. After 10 minutes of laughing, he told Kachu, “My dear man. The shirt is not cursed. Your mind is. Every time you remove the shirt, you pull it open and reverse it. The next morning, you are wearing the shirt inside out. That is why the pocket is disappearing. It is on the inside on alternate days!”
Kachu suddenly realized his stupidity and laughed heartily.
Isn’t this a charming story? I love it. And I was totally reminded of this today, when I realized that potholes on Bangalore roads are exactly like Kachu’s shirt’s pockets. There one day. Gone tomorrow. I have studied this a lot over the past 1 year and I realized, this is exactly what happens:
On Sarjapur Road, there is a large pothole. When I drive there, I used to try and avoid it. Then it became impossible to avoid because it was as large as the road width. So, all of us would go in simultaneously, have a little camel ride and come back up on the other side. Then one day, suddenly, the road seems normal. No pothole, no crater. We happily glide on it. Given that it is a cheap makeshift job done by some work hungry contractor, the new road cannot even handle the traffic. So, by next day, a pothole starts emerging. By evening, it is a pothole. By next morning, it is a large camel ride. By next evening, it is a crater. by next morning, it is a smooth ride.
All in 2 days time. Exactly like Kachu’s shirt.