Every time a lockdown is announced, I am reminded how truly a nightie is woman’s best friend. If you are one of those calorie-deficited bodies in skimpy PJs, let me give you a crash course on what a nightie is. It is a loose garment that is worn in the house. It is, sometimes, large enough to be the house itself. The fabric has to be cotton. Printed cotton. Printed the-hell-out-of cotton. Over this print infestation is a single row of lace stitched across chest. This is its cardinal distinguishing feature. A small bow rests in the center of the row, but that is an optional feature and can be omitted.

It is not to be confused with lingerie. One might argue that they belong to the same family of clothing but well, let me give you a visual: while lingerie is a butterfly, nightie is freakishly huge vulture. Even while sitting harmlessly in the pile of washed clothes, it looks grumpy and menacing: something you’d never want to mess with.

I ask the shorts and pyjama wearing home- loungers – where do you drop the pods while shelling peas? Where do you collect nails while clipping them? How do you break the fall of a small-sized pet without breaking your phalanges? Haaah, speechless, are we now?! But sigh, you aren’t the ones to blame for the nightie having been denied its rightful place. It’s the men. Yes, men can walk around in lungis or mundus folded up to the knees paired with misaligned vests that bare a nipple. But, no sir, women cannot be allowed to wear demure nighties that offer coverage larger than Jio’s, outside their houses. Even if they are stepping out pick the milk packets, they have to throw a duppata on. 

If the nightie has still survived, it is because of the brave hearts who blaze the outdoor trail wearing nighties. Some of these wearers can be seen driving their two-wheelers for quick errands like dropping children to school or picking the dhaniya the vendor forgot to add to her veggie-bag.  I have great respect for these women. They are the ones who should be lauded and made to ride elephants in Republic day parades, wearing nighties in their state colours.

With most stuff going online, Beauty Pageants are also likely to. In that eventuality, I demand for replacement of the evening gown round with the nightie round.  And, no, Sabyasachi and company, don’t start drooling at the opportunity: we will never buy nighties from you. Unless you sell them in small hosiery stores pricing them below Rs 200/- a piece.

Ladies of the nighties, let’s unite. Let’s put the nightie on the global map (unless yours, like mine, is bigger than the map, itself). Let’s experience the liberation of wearing one whenever and wherever we wish to. Swimsuits don’t liberate women. It’s nighties. Who, I ask, displays more courage on a beach: a woman in a swimsuit or one driving a scooty past the waves in a nightie, brandishing a bunch of dhaniya?

Dablu Maharaj Ki Five Star Kachori

*Pic is from the internet and is a weak representation of the real thing!