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Updated: February 23, 2014 20:09 IST

I am... J. Trilok, Tailor

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We make enough for a decent living, says Jagannath. Photo: Allan Moses Rodricks
The Hindu
We make enough for a decent living, says Jagannath. Photo: Allan Moses Rodricks

I am a third generation tailor. This shop was started by my grandfather T. N. Rao in 1921. After him, my father Jaganath Rao took over and in 1975, I joined him and have worked in this field ever since. I presently run the shop with my father’s younger brother and my uncle Prabhakar.

My great-grandfather moved into this house in 1895. Back then, he used to do small stitching jobs for the British and the Indian Army in the ASC Centre nearby.

My grandfather decided to start the shop and take it up as a fulltime occupation. We used to pay Rs. 5 as rent back then. After a few years we bought the house for Rs. 500 and since then this is our shop and our home is in the back.

Generation after generation we have all practised the profession. But my children are a little hesitant to take it up. I have urged them to join me and continue this legacy but they have other aspirations. They want to study and take up other jobs. I cannot force them. We have done this work for 93 years now and are almost completing a century. Let’s see what God has in store for us in the future.

I was trained by my father. It is all hereditary. He learnt it from his father who picked it up from his father. We never went out anywhere since we learnt everything at home.

Business is average. It’s our own trade and we have not employed any workers here. We make enough to feed the family and take care of the children’s education. I can’t say it’s very good but it’s not bad either. I am 48 years old. I have many dreams and aspirations but there are other difficulties. There are lot of facilities in the city and with new technology around, I want to upgrade. But the new generation does not see it the same way. If my children had joined me, we could have taken this forward and advanced in leaps and bounds. They want to stand on their feet and do things with their own knowledge. Everyone is running behind education, software and computers. People don’t realise this is an evergreen job. As long as people wear clothes, we will never run out of business. Of course, there are many commercial establishments, but we still have our niche clientele.

There have been a lot of changes in Bangalore. It used to be good earlier with clean air, no pollution and we didn’t have any fans at home. Now the city has become crowded and a lot of buildings have come up. Earlier, we used to do everything with our hands. Now technology has come and everyone has moved on to machines. Even in my trade, technology has advanced. There is technology even to stitch a button. But, these changes have their advantages and disadvantages.

In the future, I hope to learn more and continue to work as long as I can. But I need support. Earlier, we used to stitch everything. But with less manpower, we have reduced to only doing stitching for men.

We specialise in men’s clothing now. We do both civil and military work. We also do wedding clothes and suits. We try to give 99.9 per cent customer satisfaction and have a discipline that we try to maintain and do quality work. That is what brings back our old customers and fetches us new ones too.

I am is a weekly column about men and women who make Bangalore what it is

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