22 April 2011

Off the beaten track: Zodiac The Shirt People

When I was glancing through the pages of this morning's edition of Times of India, I was delighted to see a full page ad released by the manufacturers of `Zodiac', one of the first branded shirts in the Indian market. [Ofcourse, even in the '60s, there were a few other very good shirt stores such as `Chellarams' in Madras. Chellarams was my favourite store and my dad used to take me there whenever we used to go to Madras. The last time when I bought Chellarams shirts was in 1978, when my parents went to Madras to buy dress materials, utensils and other items which were needed for my sister's wedding].

This morning's ad reminded me of 1985-1986, when I was teaching at a school in Cochin (now known as Kochi). I used to have my monthly shopping at Zodiac showroom in Abad Plaza in M G Road, Ernakulam. Though the shirts were relatively expensive, their qualty mattered a lot to me. Besides, the store had a tailoring section which helped in minor alterations such as the length, to suit individual needs. I was also a member of the Zodiac Club.  Members used to get their 13th shirt free of cost.

When talking about trousers, I always used to get them stitched for the simple reason that readymade ones never fitted my size (I am thin built).  I used to get my trousers stitched at `Rajan tailors', in Thorappadi, Vellore, where we had settled for more than 30 years.  This tailoring shop was smaller than many tailoring shops in the town and the charges were very moderate. I have never come across trousers stitched as perfectly as at Rajans, anywhere else. This shop was a classic example to disprove our common belief that quality is related to price tag. The photo of mine shown below is a clear proof of how fitting were the trousers stiched by them (This picture was taken in late '80s when I was teaching in Southern Africa).

My shirt was bought during a shopping spree in Harare, Zimbawe, on route Victoria Falls during holidays, thanks to to my Toyota Corolla 1.3L, which was one of my companions as illustrated in the following photograph; the photograph was taken during lunch break in front of my flat in the teachers' quarters inside the campus of the school were I taught:

[Since moving to Madras, I have been shopping at `Peter England' and `Raymonds' for my shirts and trousers respectively.  While the former is very satisfying, the latter is not, at times].    

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.