The Lungi Conundrum

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I’m in Kerala, right now, attending to the chores and rituals of the pre-wedding/pre-marital of my dear cousin. And it is because of this predisposition that I was away from my dear blog. But, the awesome guy that I am, I found just enough time in between the engagement and the wedding, and all the hazy hastiness that surrounds me, to come up with a post. So, kudos to me!

Now that I’ve praised myself, I can carry on with my post. This is a list of reasons why I hate wearing a ‘lungi’. Now, for those who are unaware of ‘the lungi’ (Scientific name = ‘mundu’), the lungi is a piece of cloth, usually cotton, 220×115 dimensions, and is worn around the waist like a skirt, minus the puffiness. In Kerala, lungis are open, in contrast to those in Bengal or Tamil Nadu, which are tube-like and one has to hop into them and then tighten them.

Now for the staple food of South India… Just Kidding. Enough with the geography class already!

Even though it seems like what a woman would wear for an underskirt, it really is manly. Apparently, the ‘madaki kuthu’ move conveys more emotions than classical dancers do. Anyways, the feminine aspect of wearing a skirt-like object is the least of my worries. Well, not the least, but still.

Reasons why I don’t like wearing lungi:

  • You cannot run instantaneously. Not that such a need arises frequently, but still. For example, you are standing on the street, drinking coffee, while all of a sudden you see an old lady being robbed. The thief starts to run and you know you can outrun him. People are staring at the incident and then giving you looks, mainly because you’re the only young guy around. In this urgent situation, you cannot run behind the thief willy-nilly. You stand there, folding your lungi into horizontal halves and then pinning them with a knot (the ‘madaki kuthu’) and then, and only then can you pursue the guy, who by the way, must have reached the next city by that time. You wear pants/shorts/trousers/clown suit, all you have to do is throw away the glass in your hand and go get the son of a… ahem… you get the idea.
  • The respect factor. Now, the custom doesn’t end with full grown men wearing lungis. It further dictates that one should not have their lungis in a knot (pun intended, go figure)…ahem… in a madaki kuthu state, whilst in the presence of elders. So every time you see an elder approaching you, the first thing you do is release the mundu from its half fold stage, otherwise, you somehow disrespect/offend them. This boggles me. How does half removing a dress show respect? Well, in any case, there’s no rule that one should pull down their pants half-way down when they see someone elder. Thank God for that!
  • The knot conundrum. As much as I like knots and ropes, I for one, do not prefer to keep tying the knot of my lungi every 20-30 steps I take.(Yeah! I counted!) No matter how skilled you are at wearing lungis, the knot is bound to unfurl at any moment depending on the situation. And sometimes, when you are oblivious to the unpinning of the lungi, one can only hope that the number of spectators to the mortification is to a minimum. Needless to say, the only things that can go wrong with a pant, unless you tear it, of course, are the clasps or the zippers, both of which can be managed by quickly pulling out your shirt!
  • Freedom…much? As much as I like freedom down under, too much freedom at times is umm… irritating or even distracting, may be. Suppose you go for a walk. Nice, calm, quiet atmosphere surrounds you. You love the wind blowing on your face, through your hair. You can feel the little tufts/flowing hair rustling and fly in the wind. And all of a sudden you feel the wind touch your bare thighs. The next thing you do is frantically look around for the piece of clothing that isn’t doing its job. The next time I feel like having freedom, I’ll remember to wear boxers, thank you very much!
  • Peeing Issues. No comment! I have full faith in my readers to understand the difficulties in wearing a lungi and peeing standing up!

Let’s just say that I’ve trouble trusting my “honour” on a piece of cloth tied to my waist, that may or may not let go at its own whim.

Disclaimer: I’ve got nothing but admiration for those who wear lungis and manage to carry on with their lives.

Why do I need to wear them, you ask? I’m forced by the society and culture of my region (my elders) to wear this thin piece of clothing that makes a man look like a shawarma wrap. Every single time I’m (forcefully) taken to a temple, I’m made to wear this god-forsaken thing.

But to be fair, I do wear it voluntarily, at times, when I’m at home and the only things that may judge me are the cartoons on my coffee mug!

P.S I love saying lungi! (lungee!)


17 thoughts on “The Lungi Conundrum

  1. I join u in protest against lungi! I hate them. I love loose bermudas, pyajamas and half pants! They are airy without the negatives of lungi, they dont drop off every now and then. But I would like to don the dhoti once. it is a kind of traditional dress for us Bengalis, and I dont know how to wear that


  2. buahahhahaha u in a lungi… that shud b a sight 🙂
    and hello, the scientific name of lungi is not mundu… lungi and mundu are different..i read another post bout them in another blog.. wen i find it i ll send u the link..
    this post was exceptionally funny. i actually laughed.. which is unusual.. so good goin 🙂


    1. No No, I know how to wear one and look pretty dashing too, but still hate to wear it!
      And yes yes I know. I know, you know, but they don’t know! 😉 lungi is usually the colored one (kaili) whereas mundu is usually the white (kasavu). I just said that for fun 😛
      Well, I’m glad that you did laugh and really happy that at least somebody did!! 😉


  3. My Mallu family is over-run with outside-Kerala-settlers and therefore we are actually ‘society-rules-proof’. Yet we are familiar with the lungi because we saw those scenes in Mallu movies that show the hero’s underwear in all his fighting scenes. However the only times I have seen my brother and dad curse freely is when they have to visit Guruvayur. The weapons used to tame the wild lungi (worn always over shorts or pants) in place are a belt and a tied loop made of the bottom ends so that they can slip their wrists into it and pose like a Maharajah in one of those paintings. Works everytime and you must try it too 🙂


  4. Interestingly enough, I did try the belt. It was my first choice of defense. But sadly, the belt clung on to my skin, whereas the lungi decided it had enough and gave way. But I must say, it did take me more than 20 steps before the mutilation took place. And the underwear thing… Well if you do wear a pair of shorts, then why even bother with the lungi? It’s not like it gives more protection or anything? 😉
    P.S thanks for going through…hope you did enjoy!! 😀


  5. hahaha…very interesting and funny…i saw ur blog through indiblogger…and i must say…. it worth reading…very witty explanation of situation…grt work..


  6. “this thin piece of clothing that makes a man look like a shawarma wrap”
    I couldn’t stop laughing at this. I am going to quote you on this. Having never been initiated, my children are totally ignorant of the intricacies of wearing a mundu, not yet anyway. 🙂


    1. Firstly I’m sorry for the late reply. Was practically off the internet for a while now.

      And thank you. And you can quote it anywhere you want! 😉 Well, it’s better they are initiated pretty soon, cos by the time they reach adolescence they might finally learn how not to mess it up.

      Keep Visiting!


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