Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee

Buying a pair of Jeans

I never realized buying a pair of jeans will be such an ordeal for me.

Let me properly introduce myself. I am a man on wrong side of fifty, short height and potbellied. I have never bought a pair of jeans in my life, though I have worn one- my son’s old one, which he had discarded. I wore it for two reasons. Call me a miser or call me environmentalist. I wore it because it was still wearable. And I had recently read in an article that a pair of jeans pant requires more than a thousand litre water to make. Second reason: I was about to travel on a long train journey and my friends said, “Jeans is the thing you should wear on such a journey as you can wear for days together without washing it.”

But I had never bought one.

I was about to go on another long journey and my son did not have one to spare, I thought of buying one and told my wife so. As luck would have it, she chanced upon a handbill with this piece of information that the local mall was offering ‘heavy discount and free goodies.’

Anything offered free had always enticed her. So she kind of coaxed me to go the local mall to buy a pair of jeans.

As I reached there, I was taken to the ‘Jeans Section’. There stood a man, who asked me, Size?

I could not understand: size of what? I kept mum.

He then fished out a measuring tape and sized up my waist. Looked at the measuring tape and declared to the world: 38.

I was then taken to a counter, where the salesperson asked me, which cut would you like to wea , Sir?

I said, “I never knew somebody can wear a cut? I knew only the cut that the netas and officers take”.

The salesman in his thirties did not smile. With a stern face he said, there are a number of cuts, Sir- Straight Cut, Close Cut, Buffer Cut….

I said, “Give me straight cut. That suits my personality”.

  • “OK. Low waist, High waist or Mid-rise”?
  • “What does that mean?

The Salesman demonstrated that manually. I cannot tell you the body parts he touched- of himself.

I hurriedly said, “High Waist”.

“OK”. He showed me rack full jeans and told me, “These are of your size, pick your choice”.

I never realized that it you have more choices, then picking one becomes more difficult. In fact I now have this theory: the difficulty level of choosing anything increases in direct proportion to the number of choices you have.

After what it seemed like an iternity, I picked one. The Salesman said, “Pick another.”

  • “But I only want one”.
  • “We have an offer Sir. Buy two take two free”.

I went through the same process again and picked up another. And then he said, “Go to the trial room and try them.” If there is any issue with the fitting or any defect, you can change it now. In the offer period we are not allowing exchange after you buy them.”

So I went to the Trial Room. It turned out to be a small 4×4 cubicle with glass mirror on the wall. I entered the room and felt it to be full with myself. It was so very small that I could barely move my limbs and belly. And I have to remove my trousers to wear these two. On top of that the latch of the door refused to lock. So I had to do multiple tasks simultaneously. Remove trousers, keep an eye of the door and make sure that it stayed close. And then wear the new jeans. See if it fits properly or not. Then remove that. Wear the other one. Remove that. Remember which one fitted better. And then wear your original trousers. Make sure you are taking your belongings- motor-cycle key, mobile phone, money purse, etc.

Believe me it was an ordeal like I have never suffered.

The new Jeans was far too tight for me. And it was far too long. I had to pull it through and up my legs several times. I struggled and somehow managed to wear it. As I looked at the mirror, a grotesque potbellied old man looked back. I removed the jeans and wore my trousers and came back to the salesman.

He asked, “Perfect Sir”?

I said, “Ok. Send it for billing. I’ll take one.”

  • “No Sir, you’ll have to take two.”

–     “ Why”?

–     “Then you will get two pairs free.”

–     “But I need only one! Give me just one and another free”.

–     “No Sir. You’ll have to buy two, and then only you’ll get two free.”

–     “But what shall I do with four pair of jeans?”

–     “That is your problem Sir. The Company offer is: buy two get two free.”

Here was I unable to make a decision, whether I should buy two to get two free and take four pairs of jeans which I may never wear. Or should I go home without buying one, after all the ordeal I have suffered for the past one hour.

Environment Friendly Flag

This year on Independence Day at IIMC, Dhenkanal (where I work) besides hoisting a Khadi National Flag also used a special kind of handmade paper flag with seeds embedded. After Independence Day celebration, these flags with marigold seeds embedded were respectfully planted in the soil. It would slowly grow into plants and in two months’ time would flower. A Jaipur based NGO is making this kind of flag.


On the occasion of 73rd Independence Day, IIMC, Dhenkanal also released 22 picture postcards featuring front pages of different newspapers of 15 August 1947. One can see the coverage of this momentous occasion in newspapers of that time.


I found a sher (a short poem) in a social media forward, which reflects the mood of the times we live in.

Jo Roshni Me Khade Hain, Wo Jante Hi Nehi

Hawa Chale to Chiragon ki Jindagi Kya Hai.

(Those who are standing in light, would not know

the life of an earthen lamp as wind blows.)


About the author:

A journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee (born 1961) also writes fiction in Odia and columns in English and Odia. He has published 6 books on mass communication; and fifteen novels and short story collections.

He can be contacted at [email protected]

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