Men in Checkered Gamchhas

street fashion india

Picking up from where I’d left last…above: A cart pusher in Asansol.

street style india fashion

street style india fashion

The term “gamchha” derives from the Bengali ga mochha, which means wiping (the) body-local term for a sweat towel. Gamchhas are most commonly found in check and striped patterns of red, orange, green, blue…They’re are also worn as lungis, belts, turbans – styles derived from practicality & nature of tasks the wearer is involved in.

street style india fashion

street style india fashion

street style india fashion

street style india fashion

street fashion india

street style india fashion

street style india fashion

street style india

street style india fashion

street style india fashion

street style india fashion

street fashion india

street fashion india

I found myself a spot in the middle of a Y junction in front of a closed shop. There was a small tea shop 10 yards ahead. Idlers there would occasionally look in my direction, talk amongst themselves, and at times smile at me. A little disconcerting. Two people came to me and asked “newspaper?” I said yes. (A lie, obviously.) After a while one of the workers came and sat next to me but didn’t say a word. Often he would smile and try to look into the camera.

We talked for a bit. Soon he got called out for some work and left. I sat there for two hours till I started to see the same men. I was finding it awkward to get up as I was all comfortable in the awkwardness of being in the middle of those occasional stares for long. Eventually I got up, went straight to the tea shop…had a cup of tea, a smoke, & said thank you to whoever listened..

Below:Rickshaw-walas in the main market.
street fashion india

All photos from my July trip.

A gamccha costs 30Indian Rupees(less than a dollar).

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6 Responses to “Men in Checkered Gamchhas”

  1. Rashmi Says:

    The photos and the narrative are both candid and lovely. Eagerly waiting for what you come up with next.

  2. komal Says:

    🙂 LOVELY

  3. thebigbookofdating Says:

    love your post, great photos

  4. Formica Says:

    I love the Indian gamcha and its versatility! Rarely ever leave mine behind through the summer!

  5. Ash Says:

    Checks are definitely in, both on and off the streets!

  6. An Essay on Indian Street Fashion « Wear about Says:

    […] Asansol, I liked what the daily wage workers wore; Lungis combined with gamcchas, mostly worn out of practicality & necessity. While in Jodhpur, men wore colorful turbans […]

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