Monday, April 25, 2005

Osmania Biscuit III -- Lungi Imperatrix Mundi

It is not an unknown fact that the bourgeois Indian male wants to exude a sense of confidence, style, masculinity within affordable limits, and is constantly searching for ways and means to solve this rather difficult problem involving linear programming and operations research for centuries. And yes, he has found a solution long ago and it is still in use today. It appeals to a surprisingly large cross-section of people cutting across religious and socio-economic backgrounds, from outgoing and humble 70s people like Sudhir R. to the artistic and dextrous Chandu "Flute" T. of the present lot.

Yes brethren! I am, in fact, talking about the one and only... lungi! But this post is not dedicated to any of the entities mentioned above, nor to the bangra-obsessed punjabi folk, and also not to the sambar species of the south, but to our own hyderabadi chahush people of the old city. They have incorporated the lungi in their attire with such sense of fashion and nativity that would put even Armani or Versaci (RIP) to shame. They have added the greatest accessory to the lungi others cant even dream of.. a 2-inch leather belt! And add a colourful porous vest to that, and Vola! You have the attire complete! This is the single most influential achievement of the Hyderabadis with respect to fashion. Who says we aint got style?? We left Bangaloreans way behind long ago.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language( Fourth Edition 2000) has this entry under lungi:
A cloth, often of brightly colored silk or cotton, that is used as a piece of clothing, especially the traditional skirtlike garment of India, Pakistan, and Myanmar (Burma).

An independant search revealed surprising facts about this ingenious invention--first of all, this is not an Indian invention at all! Next, it was invented by a woman named Lungi from Sicily!!

Long ago, a family in Sicily was in the service of the Roman Empire, with its roots traced to pre-christian Lithuania, and one of their maidens was Lungi Neslaaska, who was later called Lungi-I. This invention is generally credited to her, as she wanted to save her man (well, atleast the parts really mattered for her) from the excessive heat of the Sicilian summer. This invention was kept as a family heirloom and a secret. Then, after about two hundred years, Lungi Veskonnava, from the same family called Lungi-IV, in her gratitude and magnanitmity, is forver remembered and adored for revealing this secret to public. At around the same time, the great Atilla the Hun invaded the Roman Empire, and came to know of this precious garb. His empire stretched from Eastern Europe to Caspian sea, and there was a great flow of Ideas to and from the west during this time. The Lungi gradually found its way into the midle-east, and then Indian subcontinent, and even South-East Asia.

This History is generally accepted and was first published by an Italian jewish enthusiast Sabi Pehno. But Indian right-wing nationalists insist this is a purely Indian invention, and cite several passages from some upanishads which do mention its name, curiously, although this is rebutted by main-stream lungi historians as spurious, as these upanishads were written or forged after the advent of lungi only to paint this invention as Indian. But later on, some Multi-lingual Indian discovered that the whole history of Lungi was actially forged by Eurocentric racists of the nineteenth century-- Neslaaska and Veskonnava (names of two of the Lungis) have the same meaning in two different Indian languages--"Did you wear?" though, the theory was suppressed and did not receive any publicity outside his native village. Nevertheless, since lungi made its grand entry in India, it was accepted as one of her own, and is sure to stay for a long time.

Oh, and by the way, the present Lungi is Lungi-XLII and her maiden name is Lungi Shakeelava.
And finally, the title of the post "Lungi Imperatrix Mundi" means "Lungi--Empress of the World".

If you dont believe this story, you have to believe atleast Lingam Yadav, because as everyone, by now, knows:
"Lingam Yadav doesnt lie when he is eating Osmania Biscuit."



yadbhavishya said...

Osmani Biscuit and Lingam Yadav... what a combo... can never go wrong! Invite me to this post so that i can contribute too. I have quite a few ideas.

Sketchy Self said...

hilarious stuff...wonder why i didnt get here sooner!

jaathirathnam said...

lungi hmmmm....rangi ki telusu lungi lo unna muriki.

sinyasi said...

Maaava adarakottavuga.. just happened to read your Galli la Lolli poem on orkut and clicked on the blog link n lathat landed up here.. can i post that song on my blog i just loved it... copyright infringement aitadani ninnu adugutunna.. :D

wallgazer said...

Not sure about the summer heat, but it is largely believed that Lungi Neslaaska was merely saving her man from a polish feudal rival called Kaikumere Ballskvisky, who had a major crush on her, and moved to Sicily in search of her..