“Dhartiputra” Radheshyam Rasia is in the house.
The undisputed king of Bhojpuri music, he is not just a great singer, entertainer and a total ladies man but the voice of the marginalized, those who when they hear a tune on radio can never say “They are playing our song”.
People like tailors—those misunderstood people forever berated for getting the measurements wrong, delivering months after delivery dates and sometimes of even letting their fingers linger for a second too long while taking measurements.
Well not any more. In “Rasia Tailor” , Radheshyam Rasia paints an evocative picture of the tailor’s life through a ballad highlighting the difficulties that he has to surmount every day in the performance of his duty. [Watch the video here]
Firstly he has to cope with severe labour problems. The subordinate tailors are always dancing. And throwing half-sewn blouses about with gay abandon. Very little work and all play.
But Rasia Tailor, Radheshyam’s alter ego, still manages to keep his customers satisfied. And that is some challenge.
Cause they are a varied lot, each with their own little idiosyncrasy.
As an example, some women are buxom which, as any tailor would tell you, poses its own problems–something poetically expressed in the following lines:
Bhari bodon tumhar ba
Maap le le chute paseena
Dahiye chote hamar ba
Pohuche na paaye jo pheeta lagaiyi
Upar se dahiye mutail ba
In other words, her body is so heavy (especially her upper torso) that the tailor is sweating and finding it troublesome to reach her with his tape.
And then there is that other kind of woman. Those that just cannot stand still and keep moving their bodies seductively under the influence of the tailors’ strong electromagnetic mojo. This kind of swaying, needless to say, causes immense discomfort to the tailor who is concerned that when the dress is ultimately found to be off-specification, he will be shouted at and noone will remember the sensuous wringing of the lustful woman when her measurements were being taken.
The tailor’s solution to each problem is simple. “Suth ja suth ja” he exhorts as he makes his woman clients lie down on the bench promising them “Maap le le hum photaphot. Time laage dus minote”. In other words, a solemn promise to measure quickly and do it all in 10 minutes (like most Indian men) is his level of commitment to customer satisfaction.
The song concludes with a message of hope as the beautiful clients dance around with the tailor while he puts his long tape to good use. The tailor in the process becomes one with the dress he has sown, elevated from being a faceless cog in society’s machine to become a vital part of our well-being.
Then of course is the eternal Radheshyam favourite “Aayo na aayo na, lagayo na re” where in his own inimitable style, he exhorts the hoi polloi to “lagao-fy” those whom they care for. [Watch the Video here]
Performed in front of a live audience, the atmosphere among the audience is electric as they sway to “khatiya pe chador bichao na re”(spread the bedsheet on the bed) testifying to Radheshyam Rasia’s fingers on the pulse and other throbbing parts of the masses.
Well now they can not only speak but speak mellifluously with attendant jhatkas and matkas.
And you can thank Radheshyam Rasia for that.
[Acknowledgements to Anirudhb for introducing me to the work of Mr. Rasiya]