It was Saturday noon when I returned from an exhausting game of football in the scorching summer heat; I resembled a guy who had just survived a car wreck. After 4 hours of rest throughout the afternoon, which included a hot shower in between, I felt refreshed and raring to go out somewhere in the evening. I opened my wardrobe and carefully selected the pair of t-shirt and jeans to don for the occasion; once done, I reached out for the hanger inside the cupboard, where my belt usually waits for my hands to take it and drape it around my waist, without looking – and grasped nothing but empty air. My eyes widened in surprise, and realization dawned upon me. My trusty belt, which I had purchased for 100 bucks from a platform shop for my first placement interview(incidentally with Infy), and which was my faithful companion for 2 years, had snapped into two the previous day as it could no longer bear the strain of my girth!
Mayday! Mayday! We are out of belts. We are losing our grip on Prasanna’s waist! my mind screamed. I realized the enormity of the situation – without a belt, my pair of pants would appear like low-waist… no, make that really-low-waist… jeans! As a matter of fact, my waist size is 34 cms, but because of my long legs, only size 36 pants would accommodate them. As a result, the belt is a very essential part of my wardrobe. Without it, I felt like how Foghorn Leghorn would have felt when stripped off his cock suit by the Barnyard Dawg! .
As a consequence of my discovery, my plans for the day were replaced by a single goal – to find a really good leather belt which could last for atleast 5 years. It seemed a pretty straightforward plan, but there was a catch – I had to go to the shop without a belt! The thought of my jeans pant continually falling down my waist, exposing the name of my underwear brand, sent shivers down my spine. But I had no choice ; 45 minutes of discomfort was rather bearable than going to office with loose pants. I mustered my courage, selected a t-shirt which nearly extended to the top of my knees, and the pair of jeans with the smallest gap between the buckle and my waist. Once done, I set off on the greatest conquest of my life, on which rested the fate of my dignity and self respect.
The ten minute walk to the bus stop passed off without incident, as I kept my hands in my pant pockets all the time, substituting the role of the belt, even though my t-shirt was long enough to conceal my waist. Thankfully I got a seat inside the bus – imagine having to stand in the bus, one hand holding up my jeans and the other clinging on to the overhead bars of the vehicle, being subject to scrutiny from fellow passengers (my giant frame attracts attention anyway). The real trouble started when I had to walk a kilometer to the shop after meeting my friend. I am not going to elaborate on the bumbling journey for the entire stretch, when I had to stop every two minutes to ensure my t-shirt hid my exposed underwear, and hitch the pants up every now and then. Every passing minute seemed to increase my agony, and once the shop came into sight, the relief on my face was palpable!
Once inside, I virtually rushed to the belt section, taking care to ensure my pants did not slide down and trip myself on them. After 15 minutes of rummaging through the selection of leather belts, I managed to find one to my liking, and hurried to the cash counter. After the purchase was done, I couldn’t wait to get out of the store and get my pants hitched up. A large crowd was gathered outside the shop, but I was in dire straits and had to somehow wear the belt. As you know, putting on a belt means lifting the shirt up and slipping it around the waist through the loops, which meant that my underwear tag would definitely be visible if I tried slipping it on in public. So I sat down on a stone ledge in front of the building, throwing a furtive glance to my right and left every second, while slowly sliding the belt through each loop. In the end, I managed to fasten the belt around my waist, and let out a triumphant cry of joy at having accomplished my mission, without any curious glance from the nearby customers (which included 5 hot girls too! ). My friend was totally amused with my odd predicament, but I was not concerned, as my mind was overcome with delirious relief!
So, my dear reader, there ends my misadventure with the belt. It was a defining moment in my life, one which made me believe that man’s greatest invention was NOT the wheel, but the belt or whatever man used to hold his garments together. In fact, I have come to realize that the world would not have been a good place to be in, without the item/object/thing commonly referred to as ‘the belt’. To reiterate my apparently ridiculous theory of the belt being one of the most crucial man-made products, I am presenting some scenarios where the belt figures in the scheme of things: -
1. No belt, no western movies!
Imagine Clint Eastwood in his trademark cowboy attire, giving a scowl in front of the camera lens, as a gang of baddies on horses train their rifles on him. As per the western logic, Clint would have his hands ready to fish out the guns and blast off every thug. But imagine the viewer’s surprised look, when instead of the hero aiming his pistols at the villains, he lets out a confused outcry “Oh crap! Where’s my goddamned belt? I don’t have my pistols without the belt holsters!”, and before he can flee he’s punctured with bullets and hung up for public view. Hence, the belt is a vital component of western movies.
We all know that the knowledge of a person having a black/brown belt in Karate can instill fear in men with bad intentions and maintain a safe distance from him/her. Hence, the belt can be a status of strength and command respect. Imagine that if instead of belts, we had ribbons for karate – then, do you think that saying “Beware! I have a black ribbon in judo!” will save your ass? However, the absence of a belt has the biggest impact on that ultimate source of entertainment called wrestling. People in US pay truckloads of money just to watch half naked men and busty women in skimpy clothes break their bones and teeth over something as nondescript as a belt! The championship belt has caught the fancy of the youth and inspired them to make a dumb career move towards a scripted, entertaining career in wrestling. In fact, I remember that during the wrestling-crazy days of my young life, I used to take the magnetic belt, which amma uses to support her weak backline, which closely resembled the shape of a championship belt, and play imaginary wrestling matches with Undertaker,Big Show and other mammoth wrestlers, with ‘my championship belt’ on the line
3. Belt on!
The seat belt needs no introduction. It has saved many a life during accidents (when used, that is!). Now all that is needed is to extend the usefulness of the seat belt to shut up annoying co-passengers in the car!
4. Even machines need belts!
Life has never been made so comfortable with the discovery of the elevator, escalators, heavy machine equipments and other everyday use machinery. These are incomplete without a conveyor belt, which ensures smooth operations of these inventions. If the conveyor belt was not yet discovered, we would still be living in the stone age, our machines resembling those used during the times of the Flintstones!
5. Wanna escape? Use a belt!
Seen those movies where the guy wants to escape from a building, and espies a stretch of wire connecting the building with another one at a lower height in comparison? The guy does the most expected thing – hurriedly take out his belt, loop it over the wire, grasp the ends of the belt tightly, and begins sliding down the sturdy wire towards freedom, the belt being able to withstand the frictional heat generated on the continual contact with the metal! If the guy doesn’t have a belt, it’s just his bad luck! The other alternative is to climb through the sewage like Andy Dufrense did, but you need guts for that!
6. Have belt, get a baby!
You might have come across many articles highlighting the risk of infertility and impotence associated with the radiations emanating from mobile phones kept inside the pant pockets. In such case, the belt can support a mobile pouch to reduce the risk! (Scary,ain’t it?!)
7. The saving grace for clumsy guys!
For the uninitiated, the dhoti/mundu/veshti is a very common mode of attire in Kerala and Tamil Nadu(especially among the Brahmins!). I have been forced by my parents to wear veshti on some religious occasions, but I can never place my faith in a single piece of cloth covering the lower part of my torso. To worsen the situation, my long legs pose the potential risk of tripping on my own mundu and give the people around me a free demonstration of _______ (you fill in the blanks). But the belt comes to my rescue! Every time I need to wear a dhoti, I always wrap my belt around it and hide it with another piece of cloth (commonly wrapped over the dhoti, but insufficient to prevent the dhoti from falling off!) . The extreme importance of the leather apparel was highlighted during my ‘upanayam’ (holy thread ceremony), where I had to wear the veshti for 4 hours at a stretch, and my belt did not let me down at all (also considering that I wore cream colored shorts under the dhoti as a backup security option )
8. Even the solar system has a waist!
Crazy as it might seem, it’s true that the solar system cannot survive without the belt. If the asteroid belt did not exist, then Jupiter (which could be analogous to a pot belly), might sag down on Mars, which in turn would shift its weight on Earth and so on, triggering a chain reaction which could make the sun woozy from the excess weight exerted on it by the collective mass of the 5 planets, thereby upsetting the solar system’s balance and sending all planets into crazy unpredictable orbits (like the after effects of a bout of diarrhea). Therefore, the asteroid belt maintains the natural balance of the solar system and ensures the orderly motion of events occurring in the universe!
To sum up, the belt will always figure in my top 5 list of the things I can’t live without. I had attained nirvana during that precious ‘beltless’ one hour, and have realized how seemingly simple things can change the course of my life. If I go on droning about belts, I will soon be writing stuff like “how to belt the cat”, ”the crazy men of Beltimore”, “If it’s Wednesday, it must be Beltgium”,”For whom the belt rolls” and so on. So, that’s it! Wear a belt, save the planet!