How many times have you looked at a picture of P.Chidambaram - in newspapers, on the tv, on the internet? Have you ever wondered what that funny little thing on his shoulder is?
Yes. I’m talking about that neatly folded woolly, glossy piece of cloth that you’ve probably assumed to be just a boring shawl he bought at some ‘Kashmiri shop’.
I have this gnawing suspicion that it’s not really a shawl.
Let me try and explain why I think so.
Firstly, it’s the way it sits around his shoulders - as though it was tailored to fit them. The collar area seems stiffer than the rest of the costume which falls perfectly from his shoulders.
Secondly, It is tucked beneath his collar quite inelegantly, like the much re-cycled drape at the barber shop. Actually, it is more than tucked. It sits too perfectly inside the collar. Now, if it is indeed a standard sized shawl and he has folded it thrice over to bring it to a manageable size, shoving portions of it between the neck and the shirt collar would be quite cumbersome and would hardly result in such a fine finish as he has been able to achieve. In his case, it looks as though the costume is gently oozing out from the back of his neck. There have got to be some craftily placed pins holding up the contraption.
Thirdly, it wasn’t always like this. His earlier photos had him wearing a regular shawl, rolled up, but still looking like a shawl.
If you focus on the costume alone for about 10 seconds, without being distracted by the straight face which PC wears with as much aplomb, you will see, like those optical illusion pictures where patterns emerge out of patterns, that it is in fact a cape. Like batman’s cape, but cut off at the height of the rib cage.
I suspect that it is a carefully constructed PR move on the part of PC that serves no purpose other than to intimidate people; by appearing to be bigger than he really is.
Here I was thinking PC’s cloak looks pretty ridiculous, when I chanced upon these guys, wearing a similar monstrosity, but in fluorescent colors!
If one inspired the other, I wonder who the inventor of this mutant costume is.