Socks in Society.

From the Katmandu Post came the following editorial, a response to Government Censorship Rules.:

Socks in Society

Socks are indispensable. They pamper and protest our feet by keeping them warm and clean. For some, it is a fashion statement. Well-clad people with matching branded socks are headturners in Kathmandu. But this breed is too small to be noticeable. They majority wears them for the sake of wearing them. Because of the low purchasing power and poor consumerism, socks are worn till they are in tatters. Socks with no holes are sign of relative prosperity in this country. Here goes a Nepali adage: Judge a person by the type of shoes s/he wears and judge a house by its bathroom. Shining shoes with clean socks complement each other and command respect in our society. For, there are very few indices to measure prestige in society. But the people living in impoverished districts such as Rolpa, Dolpa, Rukum, Salyan and Gorkha can not afford socks. They are a heavenly luxury.

Different colors of scoks are available in the market. White socks are a big NO. Smoke-belching vehicles and dusty roads are quick to darken white clothes. Even if one tries to brave these external hazards, it is hellishly difficult to wash white clothes, thanks to the acute shortage of water. Nepalis hate white colors, not only because it is religiously inauspicious. Housewives make it a point to buy dark-colored socks. White is a burden on school studnets too who frequently complain their parests about perils of wearing white.

Curiously, some schools are crazy about white. White uniforms are compulsory in some private boarding schools. Mothers and children develop special abhorrence towards teh white attire till they graduate from schools. Apparently, a lot of time and water is consumed in washing white uniforms. Uniform designers are advised to take these practical problems into account. But for some, who treat cleaniness and hygiene as alien concepts, color is not an issue. Black or white, green or maroon, they are more than confortable wearing the same pair of socks day in and day out, not even bothering to assess the detrimental effects of the overpowering stench on those mortals who senses are intact! Isn’t it a direct violation of human rights? They need orientation class on feet care, the purpose of socks and their effects on personality, and how they make or break one’s social and professional careers. Socks have another homely dimension: they are central to daily maritaldisputes. Lazy husbands rummaging for socks early in the morning and doting wives fishing them out of the unlikeliest places are a common scene in households – also common fodder for teleserials.

Nepal doesn’t manufacture good quality socks. It imports socks from the neighboring countries India and China. Chinese socks are cheaper than Indian products. Most Nepalis use Chinese socks not because of quality but because of the cost. Winter is the best season for wearing think woolen Tibetan socks. Local manugaturers are yet to smell the propects of socks in the domestic market. Winter is less harsh on us these days. In a couple of months, thick socks will be packed away. Branded or unbranded, dear readers, let us make a resolution to wear clean socks this summer.

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