In Praise of White Trousers
What a strange race we are!
For millions of years our ancestors contentedly roamed the planet clad only in Mother Nature's minimalist finery – in the colder climes, a caribou fur or fox pelt overcoat, in the tropics a fetching plant fibre loin cloth or cotton wrap around – simple, yes, but more than adequate. In those socially carefree days, out hunting you wore the fox skin furs; bed time pyjamas, it's the fox skin furs; someone's getting married, it's the fox furs again – practical, warm, de rigueur for all hunter-gatherers and nomads and unanimously accepted. In our post-neanderthal civilisation, what to wear is a major preoccupation, at least for those living in the more affluent West.
For Sri Chinmoy's male students one of the great things about our path though is the reduction of our contemporary overabundance down to one magnificent multipurpose garment - our set of whites! My favourite whites hang poised in my cupboard like a knight's armour, waiting to be donned for some new adventure. In this one resplendent outfit, I can honestly and sincerely claim to have:
- Met and shook hands with the former President of Sri Lanka
- Swum the turgid cauldron of the Wanganui River in flood
- Attended meditation functions on four continents
- Washed mountains of malodorous dishes at our vegetarian cafe in Auckland
- Skydived in them
- Visited the United Nations and hobnobbed with great men
- Lifted lambs into pens during
I flung them in my locker.
A week went by, I couldn't sleep
I even phoned my mother
"My boy" she said "just trust your whites,
They're sturdy like no other."
I listened to her sage advice
My doubts I had to squash
I took them to the laundromat
Committed to 'The Wash'.
I watched the minutes ticking by
My heart was all aflutter
First wash, then rinse, then spin, Oh God.
My knees had turned to butter.
I wrung my hands, I looked on high
"Oh Lord, I may erred!"
The wash attendant hung her head
For clearly she concurred.
At last the fateful moment came
I lifted up the lid
Oh yippee yippee yippee yay!
I chortled like a kid.
My whites were spotless, gleaming white
As pure as winter snow
"Oh Lord!" I cried, "a miracle!"
My face was all aglow.
So brothers dear, revere your whites
My words you mustn't mock
And should you yearn for extra grace
Just wear them round the clock.
And when 'tis time to leave this world
And no one can arouse ya
Ensure your mortal frame is clad
In-yes-your laundered trousa.
Yes, when the soul has fled the cage
Winged upward to the light
Make sure you're scrubbed up, buffed and clean
Angelic all in white.
And when the good Lord finds the time
To have a tête-à-tête
Be sure you're free of curry stains
For God's sake don't forget!