Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Blouse Piece Transactions

Whats a Blouse Piece ?

In India, a blouse is a cloth thats worn inside a saree. It is supposed to cover the chest and some part of the shoulders and arms ( apparently the only way fashion designers can introduce any sort of fashion in this thing called saree is by setting arbitrarily varying lengths for the blouse in the arm region).

A blouse piece is a raw piece of cloth that is unstitched. Women take this piece of cloth and stich it to their respective sizes.

Whats the deal with the Blouse piece?

Now in India we have something called "Ladies Sentiments" ( All plural even if it just refers to 1 lady and 1 sentiment). When women in India visit houses of other women, a blouse piece is given as a gift to the guest before she leaves. I have no idea why of all things it was decided that a blouse piece would be gifted to visiting guests. Lets say, there is a lady who is a complete stranger to the whole "Ladies Sentiments" thing and she visits someone's house in south India. How would she feel when the host gifts her and she opens the gift and find that its a blouse piece. What would she think? "Why this gift? Is there something wrong with the blouse I am wearing? Was it so bad that the host shuddered on looking my blouse and decided to jump out of the window buy a blouse piece and come and gift it to me?. Is the host being judgemental on me?"

What happens to these blouse pieces after they are gifted?

Now many caterpillars become butterflies, many boys become men. But the mutation of the blouse piece into an actual blouse is not that straightforward. The probability of a blouse piece becoming a blouse is 0.2. Thats right!! 2 out of every 10 blousepieces make it to the blouse level.

Think about Euros, Dollars, Rupees, Yen. Think about the CNBC advertisements where they show currency getting fastly printed and counted, people exchanging money rapidly in world business centers. You may not have heard of a currency called the blouse piece. This is the curency of south India. Statistics reveal that every minute of the day, 10 blouse pieces change hands. Women all over the world are travelling and exchanging blouse pieces rapidly.

When a blouse piece is receved as a gift, a lady decides what she has to do with it? If its of a color and material that she lacks at that moment, she will convert the blouse piece to an actual blouse (provided there are no further hitches in going and stitching it with a tailor). But this conversion is very rare considering that fact that she has around 500 blouse pieces stocked in her cup board. This is the reason why the blouse piece remains a blouse piece for a long time. The life cycle of many blouse pieces are codemned. They stagnate as gift items for over 5 to 6 years until they are gifted to poor people or domestic maids. There again their chances of continuing as gifts are still bright.

This very moment thousands and thousands of blouse pieces are gifted and regifted. When time comes to a standstill and the yellow sun becomes a red dwarf star ( I think there is no supernova in this solar system and I debated for 5 seconds on whether our sun will becomes red dwarf or white dwarf), when all human beings have become extinct like dinosaurs and a new species begins to inhabit the earth. They will find thousands and thousands of unstitched blouse pieces lying around in the southern parts of the Indian subcontinent. Imagine what would they make of it. If we judged dinosours based on fossils we found, what sort of judgement would they pass on human beings? Even worse, what if the fossils of dinosarous we are looking at is in reality some sort of dino blouse pieces and we completely understood dinosarous wrongly?


Atta Girl said...

LOL!!! This is news for me. I actually went around and checked with south-indian women in my office about the 'blouse gifts'.
And yes, they got them!!! LOL!!

Anonymous said...

Another popular item South Indian women give out as gifts (actually, its 'vethhla paaku')is the metal plate. During my recent short visit of 2 weeks to India, I collected about half a dozen of them in various sizes!
Hey, I'm waiting to see the wedding pics. Mom said Priya looks very pretty :-)

fieryblaster said...

u know why always flowers are gifted by men to their lovers, though there are lot more to gift? u think flower bouquets are presented to someone because they r much useful to them? They are considered as symbol of love or a gesture to welcome guests. Same applies to blouse piece also. They are considered to symbolise mangalathanmai or wishing that lady should live with her husband happily forever. Certain customs are part of India that u can't think of doing away with them. Neither need arises. Ironies are not uncommon in any society for that matter.

anantha said...

"apparently the only way fashion designers can introduce any sort of fashion in this thing called saree is by setting arbitrarily varying lengths for the blouse in the arm region" - about the windows (jannal), doors (kadhavu), verandahs, holes (ottais) in the back of these things..
Ennapa... Madhuri Dixit a paathadhe illaya? Thamizhan a irrukalam aana Hum Aapke Hai Kaun paakadha manushan ne illa..

As an aside, congrats...

Hawkeye said...

I promise! I have not seen hum apke hai kaun. I caught bits and pieces of some songs in superhit muquabla ( which was a big show once upon a time).

"Didi tera dewar" was and still is among the top 10 most hated songs that I have compiled so far.

culnanmaga said...

Hmmmm.. never thought someone could actually write a blog on a blouse.... "Ladies' sentiments" u bet..... good going....

Asim Choudhury said...

Dear Mr Bharath!

Yours is an interesting blog. I am extremely deligted at the way you have linked myriad information from all sources in this blog.

I am D.Phil researcher and I am researching on the sociology of the Internet. Pls visit my research blog at

Though there are several facets I will be looking at I want to begin by looking at the motivation behind blogging. Could you kindly get me your thoughts on what exactly got you to blogging. Did you have any inner desires or it was referred to by a friend...I mean it could be anything.

In case you choose not to publish your thoughts on my research blog you can email me at

Waiting for your response.

Ms Taggart said...

Oh cmon... this was exaggeration at heights! :)

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SathyaRam said...

This is the best piece I have read for a long long time.......
Someone who has seen this abused and not able to explain/convince people, I really thought your blog was too good.

Keep going