Consistent with my sartorial (non)sense, I have been roaming around in shorts and t-shirts, so much so that dad told me once, "if you don't mind, I will buy you a few decent shirts to wear so that you can be presentable."
We now laugh about that remark :)
Perhaps dad was under the impression that I might wear a dress shirt at least to a formal event to which I had been invited. It was for an "upanayanam," which is (used to be?) an important step in a Brahmin boy's life. Like the bar-mitzvah of the Jewish traditions.
He was partially correct in assuming that my attire would be different--I didn't wear shorts, but wore trousers!
No dress shirt though. Instead, I wore the t-shirt that generated good buzz at least once before, and bad buzz even before I wore it!
At the event, I noticed people looking at the t-shirt. There is a probability that they wondered about the appropriateness of such a casual attire at a formal, religious, ritualistic gathering. It is also probable that they looked at it with appreciation because there is practically no t-shirt sold with Tamizh lettering, and that too such a quality t-shirt.
I was so tempted to poll the people at the event about their views on this unique t-shirt. Thankfully, I refrained from getting into any serious discussion on this topic.
Later in the evening, I was at a local restaurant with my parents. The waiter who took our order kept staring at my t-shirt. A few minutes later, another waiter swung by the table under the pretext of asking whether we needed anything but in reality was merely reading the letters in the t-shirt.
I thought to myself that if a large-chested young woman wore this Tamizh t-shirt, it might be quite a challenge to figure out what the viewer/voyeur was focused on :)
As we were getting ready to leave, two more waiters came by. One said he was very happy to see a t-shirt with Tamizh letters. "I have never seen one like this, sir" he added. The other waiter who came with him seemed ecstatic with the words he read, and commented "that is a wonderful phrase, sir."
"Yes, a profound phrase indeed" I replied.
The phrase, "தமிழ் எங்கள் பிறவிக்கு தாய்," translates (in my crude translation) to "Tamizh is the mother who gave birth to us."
Language and poetry continues to stir passion, which is a healthy sign that people haven't completely fallen hook, line, and sinker for everything that is not good for the soul. At least, not yet.