It seems rather foolish to confect an April fooler on April 1. So let me instead write an obit of a famous underwear brand from my childhood.
Childhood friend Paresh Pandya of Ahmedabad broke to me this morning the sad news of the demise of the Nitex brand of underwear or Jangiya, as they were called in Gujarati. Jangiya comes from Jang, meaning thighs, and therefore something that wraps around one’s thighs. Hence Jangiya.
The standard joke among my childhood friends Paresh, Hitarth, Jayendra, Pankaj and brother Manoj was that Nitex “Jangiyas” would turn into bellbottoms after a couple of washes. Fresh out of the box though, they were soft and would indeed hug the thighs with great conviction.
One of the well publicized features of Nitex Jangiya was that its welt was almost seamless. That meant their presence under one’s pants could not detected from outside. Brands inferior to Nitex in men’s underwear could not achieve that finesse.
However, Nitex’s USP was short-lived because, as I mentioned, after two washes the hosiery material in the underwear would begin to stretch in a rather unseemly fashion. The edges would begin to flail and a stage would come soon when they would begin to wedge themselves inside the buttocks and groin. It was a hilariously common site in the hot and sweaty Ahmedabad to see men in various age groups dislodging Nitex Jangiya from deep inside their butts and groins. You could tell by just looking at them what brand of underwear they wore.
To compound the predicament Nitex used to be string-drawn underwear where the string would come undone once in a while because of the soft cotton yarn used in it. So now you had a twin problem of keeping the edges out of various corners as well as keeping the underwear on. The eventual effect was an entire city full of men waging a desperate struggle to keep their underwear from bunching up and falling down simultaneously. (Literary exaggeration).
Of course, Nitex was phased out sometime ago but it is only now that I have it on unimpeachable authority of Paresh Pandya that they no longer exist. I would not like to go into the whole lustful details about the importance of soft underwear fabric and teenagers but you get the drift. The tradeoff in Nitex was that while the fabric was soft for a duration, pretty soon it sagged.
So here is to Nitex. No one really misses it.