By Malaika Mathew Chawla, 13 and Subhashri Acharya 10
Bandra, our suburb, is full of all kinds of tailors.
Most of them are ladies tailors. Amongst these there are those who stitch sawar kameezes and churidars only. And those who stitch ‘western’ dresses (skirts, blouses, dresses etc).
Some do only alterations.
And others specialise in men’s outfits. You can come to them with the photo from a magazine of a snazzy outfit and they will stitch it up for you.
If you ever want to get a pair of pants tailored, go to Flaurian D’Souza. He is 51 years old and one of the many tailors who dot the bylanes of Bandra. He has been a tailor since 1976. He studied till Standard V. He could not continue his education as at the age of 5, he broke his leg. “An old building on Hill Road collapsed. I was standing nearby and two pillars fell on me.”
He wears a a false leg. He took it off and showed it to us. “I used to play good hockey. I would have liked to be a hockey player or a coach,” he says.
Flaurian begins his work at 9.30am and closes shop at 8pm. You can get tailored pants for Rs180 to Rs200. “There’s no fixed rate for shirts and I don’t do any alterations,” he said. We asked him if the BMC ever troubles him. “Oh yes, the BMC had come once, but I took off my leg and waved it at them and they ran away,” he grins. Flaurian loves doing this. “When beggars come and ask for money and refuse to leave, I take a hammer and bang it on my artificial leg. They get scared probably think I am crazy and they run away.”
What’s your dream we ask him. “I want to be able to run freely and naturally like other people. I want to go to Australia and get a new leg.”
We asked him if he liked animals (as we did very much). “No, I hate animals – dogs, cats and especially monkeys.” But why do you hate them? “Because I was bitten by a monkey once.” Why did the monkey bite you? “I think probably because I was touching the tree it was sitting on.”