After carefully watching a YouTube video, I mirrored all the steps religiously, but still the Double Windsor knot was a far cry from what the video showed. In my 21 years of service to the world, this was the first time I was mandatorily obliged to wear a tie, with ‘this’ being my first job adding more gravity to the obligation. My throat desperately held against the crushing force of the knot as I adjusted the width even as the length was reciprocating between my chest and thighs.

The efforts to conceal my belly seemed futile as the tie with its dangling motion proclaimed it. It got a taste of the afternoon’s sambar and, cleaned some part of the wash basin. All of this I sustained for the love of my new job or the need to stay in it. For those who don’t face such constraints, there is an opportunity to question the need for a tie in the Indian situation. Why has this piece of clothing, now become a status symbol in India?

From book-sellers to IT professionals, sporting a tie has become an essentiality to convince their clientele of their credentials. People are ready to bear the difficulties to satisfy the image identity they themselves have created. This image or brand identity has superseded common sense as our good old pyjamas and kurtas are being sidelined not because of their lack of utility or comfort but because of its social image.

It is not a question of traditional vs modern but a question of comfort and identity. Rather than slavishly following imported dress codes and constraining oneself, the time has come to answer these questions and make a choice.

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