If you live in London you feel pressurised to buy lots of clothes, controlled as you are by the changing winds of annual fashion. I feel it especially, having been brought up in an environment where it was very normal to buy clothes a few sizes too big: boys grow after all. In Calcutta, boys grow up to be men and feel the need, without exception, to buy size 42 shirts, even when they've stopped growing. And this in a people who seldom grow more that 5 ft 6. A couple of years back I went and bought myself two one-colour Italian big knot ties - but by the time I got comfortable wearing them, harsh diagonal stripes were back in, and when I got used to wearing them .... If you approach Bond St with a Foriapukur mindset you'll forever be playing catch up! But then men in London are man enough to wear 38. It is in London that I first came across grown men openly discussing man-boobs. (Common in Calcutta of course, but never discussed, always hidden behind size 42 shirts).
Its my blog, I told my darling wife, as she read the paragraph above. I will write what I feel like. But I also undertake that I will write of myself, not of generalisations and truisms. So on to my personal predicament: I have an obsession with semi-formal jackets. I must have about a dozen of them; none of them fit! Since this note is about shoe-horning Bengalis into today's England I can tell you why they don't fit: its my unconventional body shape. I have a slight deviation from plan just above the belt which makes me a chop-and-weld job that went slightly off. In Calcutta the decision would have been made for me by the friendly panjabi seller of Kingbodonti (size 42), in London I make my own choice -- I have size 38 shoulders, to hell with the rest. I have now discovered what it means to say I have a jacket for every mood: am I feeling confident to be a 38 today, or do I feel the need to hide in a 40. As a risk manager I must diversify, and because I am a moody man my latest two purchases are size forties.