So long, traveling pants

September 8th, 2014, 2pm

I bought my pants in Stanley beach in Hong Kong six months ago. You know, the color printed, loose, comfy kinds that are made in Thailand and sold at an exorbitant price elsewhere in the world. They feel like pajamas but can be worn mostly everywhere (or at least that’s what I tell myself). Mine were white and blue and I loved them! The most I’ve ever loved - a piece of clothing or otherwise.

After I quit my job in Hong Kong to begin life as a vagabond, my pants and I headed to Cambodia. They did well there, taking in the sights of Angkor Wat, making their way to Kratie to see the rare Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong river, getting on innumerable buses, motorcycles, tuk-tuks, ferries.

Then in Hue, Vietnam, the first disaster struck. I took a motorcycle tour (sitting on the back of one) to the mausoleums of Hue, winding through rice paddy fields, small villages, one way roads that operated as though they were six lane freeways. As I was getting off the bike I heard a soft but sure rip and I knew there had been damage somewhere, only I couldn’t tell exactly where. There was no bathroom in sight for me to inspect the damage and the rest of my tour went by in self conscious mode, with my small bag angled to where I imagined the tear. So much for acting cool. If I wasn’t being stared at earlier, I most definitely was now. Poor Hang (my guide and motorcycle driver) couldn’t fathom what had gotten into this Indian girl who seemed normal at first but now suddenly possessed by the holy spirits.

I decided to give my traveling pants a rest after Vietnam and ploughed through Mt. Kinabalu (yes I did the gruesome climb) and the rest of Borneo, Malaysia with my pants stashed deep into the crevice of my backpack.

Landed in Indonesia. Borobudur, Jogja, Mt. Bromo and Surabaya flew by. Now, here in Ubud, Bali, a couple of days ago, after numerous wash and wear cycles of my other clothes, I decided it was time to get rekindle my old love. So, out came my beloved pants. I laundered them, borrowed a needle and thread from my guesthouse owner and “repaired” the damage to the best of my ability (wish I’d paid more attention in sewing class in school instead of ogling my high school crush).

Traveling pants on, feeling supremely elated at my rekindled romance, I headed out for a night in the town. I got several compliments along the way reaffirming my belief in my pants. Little did I know that fatality was right around the corner.

I turned a corner into a dark alley and as I walked with trepidation, I saw a fierce looking dog who glared at me and started a low growl. If you’ve ever been to Bali you’ll know that the people are friendly but the dogs are not! I tried my best to feign ignorance and kept repeating in my head, “barking dogs seldom bite”. Clearly, whoever coined that phrase had never been bitten by a barking dog.

The mutt attacks me as I cross him and gets hold of….you guessed it…my beloved pants! This time the rip is deafening. Before he can chew off more than just my pants, I shove my bag at him and thankfully he backs down. I break into a run to reach the guesthouse.

Alas, the damage done this time around is unrepairable. With a heavy heart, I realize it’s time to say goodbye. I step out of them, reminisce about the great times we’ve had and chuck them into the trash bin singing to myself, “I’ll love you long after you’re gone, gone gone.”

Off to buy me some new traveling pants to build new memories!

Christine, Paul and Emma said thanks.

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Nidhi Dagur

Newbie wanderer; digital marketeer; ad agency burnout

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