it’s a tie

If there’s anything I dread more than visiting the dentist, it’s buying the Husband a gift. He’s annoyingly frugal, happy with his father’s and brother’s hand-me-downs, doesn’t respond well to presents (“Goodness! This looks expensive and unnecessary. Now let’s do a cost benefit analysis.”) and pokes fun at anything he can’t unwrap and eat immediately.

Obviously, making this special snowflake happy on his big days is a challenge. The present must be utilitarian yet not superfluous, and it must successfully thwart the usual theatrics. I believe I’ve arrived at a fail-proof list, thanks to asking him probing questions when he’s in that tell-all twilight zone between sleep and wakefulness. He will not refuse

dark chocolate

Star Wars merchandise

new spectacles

a box of fancy mushrooms

a ‘cooking wine’

a packet of pasta

a dinner date where the chef responds well to “Surprise me!”

any form of kitchen knife

any form of knife sharpener

any book by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman or Rick Riordan

beach slippers

swim shorts

tickets to a skating rink

iPhone covers

a Godfather box set

a great tie

You can see that the list is frustratingly limiting- how many times can you gift someone knives and mushrooms, really? And how many ties before he says “Enough! It’s a tie!”?  I could go the permutations and combinations route- a chocolate Yoda? Darth Vader slippers? Pasta shaped like Storm Troopers’ helmets? but it isn’t always possible. This year, I just about managed with a new pair of blue plastic frames and Star Wars finger puppets, both of which he loved and immediately agreed to pose with.



But it’s getting increasingly harder to find stuff I haven’t already gifted him before. I’m afraid I’ll turn into one of those folks who press envelopes into people’s hands with a “Shagun ka hai, rakh le. Mithaai le lenaa iski.”

Which is why I punched the air and whooped inaudibly when I stumbled upon some very cool ties at Wills Lifestyle. Now I don’t visit them much, except to sometimes check in on how well their design collaborations with the Big Names is faring. (More on this phenom later). But I’m glad something came of this chance visit, because I snapped up these ties immediately.

You’re probably wondering why these ties are special- are they spider silk? dyed with elf blood? indestructible?, and you’re going to laugh when I tell you. They’re special because they’re cheap Hermes and Salavatore Ferragamo knockoffs, that’s why. When you see something that looks a lot like another thing but costs just one tenth, you must proceed to act normal, like you just haven’t hit the highest, sweetest note of your shopping spree, and then you must pick it up with a deadpan “This’ll do” and then walk toward Billing with casual, unhurried strides. At no point must you break into a dance.

I bought two- a bright yellow and a muted silver. The fabric’s more matte than sheen-y and is printed all over with the cutest motifs- a snoozing lion and a ninja cat. Each cost me Rs. 1500.



They’re best worn with a crisp white shirt, a sports blazer and dark blue jeans or khaki trousers, and are suitable for all occasions except interviews and meeting with a Prospective Father In Law. (It is well known that PFIL’s prefer the Conservative Tie, i.e. navy/ grey, striped and utterly boring.)


I love that these ties are so vibrant and cheeky. For those worried that they aren’t ‘serious’, the motifs are tiny and indiscernible, unless you’re standing really, really close to the person. From afar, you’re a very dandy gentleman in a great tie. At close quarters, you’re cool, off-beat and subversive. Also, these fun strips of fabric have neatly resolved my crisis. The Husband has a great conversation starter in his wardrobe that’s also useful and doesn’t cost a bomb. Epic win.

Here are the ties that seem to have inspired the ones I bought-





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