A Madras Shirt
As a teen, one of my few articles of clothing that made any sort of fashion statement was my Madras shirt. There was a brief craze, about 1964 or 1965, where the junior high boys had to have a "Madras" shirt. Woven in a wild plaid, colored with dyes that bled, this simple garment was almost certainly my first tangible reference to Indian culture (the incense and Ragas came later.) Now, India is everywhere. The good (Bollywood films and their westernized imitations) the bad (nearly every day I get a telephone credit card solicitation from an Indian call center) and the challenging (Thomas L. Friedman's The World Is Flat goes into great detail about the growing Indian economic influence.) The media in the USA has finally (!) become aware of India (although we still don't have as much coverage of Indian politics and internal affairs as we did 40 years ago) -the recent Time magazine cover was a symbolic step in the right direction.
I still have a Madras shirt (not the same one!). Madras, also known as Chennai, is one of the new technological centers of modern India. A certain much admired contributor to this humble blog lives there. Things are coming together, faster and faster. Fasten your seat belts, we're in for a bumpy (but fantastic) ride.