Friday, April 12, 2013

Standing out in a crowd


My daughter pointed to a T Shirt at a shop window  in our neighborhood. It had the message       “ Everyone reads my blog” printed across it.
“Come on mummy you should buy it” she urged.  When   I laughingly refused saying that it would actually be a lie if I wore it as only a few people read my blogs, my husband pitched in saying that he could get the manufacturer to personalize it with my blog URL.  I was horrified at the image of being a walking advertisement for the “Chronicles…” I would rather die than draw attention to myself in that way.

But I guess I belong to the Jurassic age.  The aim of most people today is draw as much attention to themselves as they can. Wearing T shirts with these funny and sometimes obscene messages is only one way of doing it. And believe me, some of the messages on T shirts can be pretty outrageous!  They are all the more hilarious  if the personality of the wearer does not match the message. One wonders how the T shirt got on that person.

Let me share some of the messages that have caught my attention.

There is an extremely fat man who jogs in the  area where I go for my morning walk. I once saw him wearing a T shirt that had the message “ Kiss me” splashed across it. A very friendly man, he often waves out at fellow walkers. Unfortunately people didn’t wave back on that fateful morning. I saw all the aunties’ give him that disapproving look while the wannabe aunties like me turned their faces away lest they burst out laughing.

Then there is a watchman in the same area who gets off duty when I complete my first round. One can see him get on a cycle heading  back home. I saw him once pedal away in a T shirt that had the message “Trust me, I am a virgin”!!! Poor chap. I am sure it was a hand me down from some employer. It looked weird on a fifty something man like him who had coordinated it with a blue checked lungi!

My daughter told me about a beggar she had seen near out house wearing a T shirt with the words          “Sorry girls. I only date models” printed across it. She was so amused that she came back home immediately and wanted me to come with her to see this sight. I guess the beggar must have got this as part of his alms. Of course one cannot discount the fact that he may have become a beggar because he was dating models.

I have seen more scandalous messages than these at odd places and on odd people.  Some of them are so scandalous that we notice them no matter what we are doing. We were once running at Nizamuddin station in Delhi trying to board a train to Haridwar when we saw what I think is THE MOST SCANDALOUS message on a T shirt of all times. It read “ The more hair you lose the more h—d you get”. The man wearing it was your average middle class train traveler like us with loads of luggage, wife, kids etc. I am sure he never realized what that message on his T Shirt meant.  When we finally boarded the train, the first thing that my husband and I mentioned to each other after catching our breaths was “Did you see the guy in that T shirt”? The daughter was very curious to know which “guy” which T shirt. She was too young to know what that message meant though we would not have put it past her to read it aloud and ask us the meaning in public. Thankfully, Mr. T.Shirt was not on our train.

T shirts with messages find their way into our wardrobe through various means- there are those which we get as part of school/ college reunions or some company event but I am not sure how T shirts with such outrageous messages get sold. I sometimes wonder whether people buy such T shirts on an impulse for fun and then get cold feet passing them on to watchmen, dads, uncles or beggars? Whatever,  the T shirt does get the attention it deserves and sometimes because the personality of the wearer is so opposite to the message!

I think T Shirt messaging is one of the newer art forms that is developing. It is a rather fun thing though few would acknowledge  noticing a scandalous message. Some probably don’t notice it at all. For them it is just some print on the front. I guess it will take on new dimensions once the messaging moves on to local language.

But I am sure you will agree with me when I say that it is definitely a way of getting people’s attention.. making you literally “stand out in a crowd”. Something that many aspire for.

11 comments:

KParthasarathi said...

Not all the messages get noticed.It is only the scandalous and sexy texts.Imagine the consequences of girls wearing such T shirts in Delhi/Gurgaon.That is a sure invitation for trouble.
You amaze me with your choice of subjects for your posts from mundane and commonplace things that we all see but you only observe!!.

Kameshwari said...

This is quite a hilarious post. I thought I would have a rather mellow and quiet reading of this morning's bloggers, but your entry had me laughing out loud and drenching my keyboard with tears.

I agree that T Shirts are rather peculiar forms of messaging. I make an assumption that people who wear T Shirts with a message want some recognition. Whenever I see someone wearing a t-shirt naming a place that I've visited, I ask if the wearer of the shirt has visited that place. It is a good conversation starter.

Those scandalous shirts make me laugh. Here in the U.S., obscene t-shirt messaging seems to be used for shock value. If I'm feeling inspired or bold, I might engage the wearing into debate or embarrassment.



Meera Sundararajan said...

@ KP, thanks for that compliment! About girls wearing T shirts with messages like this in Delhi/ Gurgaon I can say that most won't - they are too sensible. Besides, I don' t think people would notice the message unless the girl in question was well endowed.

@ Kameshwari that is a great idea - asking someone whether they visited the place on their T shirt. I would bet about 50% wouldn't have. I can vouch for that because my husband has all kinds of T shirts from Niagra falls, to Visit Uganda. I can assure you that all of them were gifts ( from me)

SG said...

Very well written. Only sexy messages get noticed. I once saw a girl wearing a t-shirt with the message “Here I am. What are your other 2 wishes”.

Some of them are funny. Conserve water, drink beer. The Internet is full, Go away. Drink, till you want me. Some people are alive simply because it’s against the law TO KILL THEM.

Just like t-shirt messages, car bumper stickers are also funny. My other car is a Rolls-Royce. Proud parents of an Honor Roll student. Proud parents of a kid who beat up an Honor Roll student. Welcome to Nevada, and now that you are here, just get out.

anilkurup said...

I think some people do vie for attention and do ridiculous things, wearing T shirts with wired print message being one.But in some as you observed it is intended to give the hilarious effect.
Back home long time ago, there was this flashy wannabe fellow go drove a run down "Willys" jeep. It had a bill board sticker on the rear wind scree that read,"My other Car is a Rolls Royce".

Kalpana Solsi said...

Messages of T-shirts can be very hilarious and at times outrageous. I first thought that the wearer of the garment might want to send a message to the viewers but many are not aware the meaning of the words scribbled on them. A nice post and yes your choices of the posts amazes me. A simple idea or incident is transformed into an interesting reading. Keep it up!

Divya said...

Ha!Ha! Good post :)
I have seen so many scandalous messages - a friend of mine accidentally wore a shirt that read "100% Service Guaranteed" and went to the gym and could not figure out why so many people were staring at her :P We had a really good laugh about the incident later :)

specs buffy said...

Meera, lovely and hilarious post as is meant to be, here is my marketing skills!!
http://specs-buffy.blogspot.in/2012/02/way-fare.html

A flash of fluorescent yellow whizzed past and then it came back with the same rapid pace. The words “pachi” was emblazoned on a bright yellow T- shirt and I nudged my hubby with my elbow , he took his eyes off his hand held for a second , rolled his pupils and roared with laughter , I followed, with the same intensity and at the same time took a reassuring look at my bosom to see that it was firmly in place as ‘pachi’ meant breast in our mother tongue slang lingo. He did a few more rapid rounds to show his allegiance to the footballer Daner Pachi from Bolivia ,which I later understood from my football frenzy sons!

Meera Sundararajan said...

@ SG and Anil, I have seen a lot of car stickers too but somehow they do not catch one's attention the way T shirts do.

@ Kalpana, glad you liked it.

@ Divya, you will be amazed at some of the messages that I have NOT written about.

@ Sunita, glad to see you back.. am reading your post .. funny!

Tomz said...

After long time here. Reading this article I also feel like wearing a T-shirt on which my blog URL is written. :) Thanks for the idea!

Meera Sundararajan said...

Tomz.. you should try that.. you are young enough to get away with it without guilt :)

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