Dileep Vasant Wagle, a marketing consultant, celebrates major events in his life by buying a neck-tie. Rishi Majumder recounts some quirky anecdotes
Photographer: Rana Chakraborty
That’s what Dileep Vasant Wagle penned while wearing his handmade Mercedes tie, fashioned in a stately criss-cross of crimson, green and dark blue: “A supposed ‘not for sale’ issue for Mercedes dealers only – I got it at Bangkok though, so I can only hope it’s original.” Original or not, it’s a “thinking cap” the 73-yearold marketing consultant wears when trying to pen a poem or an advertisement catch phrase. He bought his first tie in New York in 1958, and since then his collection has burgeoned to 349. Candas and Burtons from London, Kalongs from Hong Kong, a BHS (British Home Services) brand which doesn’t even exist anymore, a 1958 St Michael’s (“possibly one of the oldest St Michael’s in India”) share space with a personally precious Zodiac or Peter England. Wagle has bought them only one at a time.
While chosen as per what would match his numerous shirts and 42 suits best, he announces the moments most of them preserve. “Alexander Julian, bought in Pennsylvania, 2004” because this middle class citizen travelled all the way there from Mumbai, just to watch his son graduate. Having bought an identical tie for his son he still hasn’t opened the tag on his own, saving it for the dinner they’ll go out to when his son returns. “Tie Rack Havana Fashion, bought in Canterbury, 1993” because a tour guide gave him an impromptu performance of Thomas Becket’s assassination at Cantebury Cathedral. “Roberto, made in England but bought in Rome, 1982” because he tossed a coin for a wish into the Trevi Fountain – the wish didn’t materialise, but the tie did. And finally, “Geoffrey Beene bought in Pennsylvania, 2005” because even though his son still has to return he went to Pennsylvania again to celebrate his promotion. And so, Wagle enacted his Mumbai dream of a father-son dinner with identical ties, in Philadelphia.
“I’ve often also bought and gifted a tie to any associate I was with,” he reminisces. “Now, whenever I meet anyone, even if after 20 years, they wear my gift.” He traces his passion to his childhood with his grandfather: “He had a wall lined with the finest suits and a tuxedo… a different suit and tie for each time of the day.” For the man who lives in a tiny Grant Road flat and proclaims “I’m not really rich at all” it also lies in his lifestyle. “I’ve always been told off for living ‘beyond my means’,” laughs the man who bought a Rs 11,000 Charles Eams Chair (today worth a lakh) when he was 30 and earned a salary of Rs 10,000. He also bought a St James silver tipped badger hair shaving brush for 80 pounds: “Imagine shaving with what comprised Marilyn Monroe’s best fur coats!” His liquor collection renowned over the city, Wagle sips his Absolut Red Label (his grandfather preferred Henessey Brandy) every evening, only after changing into the shirt, suit and tie he’s to wear the next day. Call it a westernised lust for life, but Wagle’s prose far transcends his verse as he narrates the following:
“I was hearing a pianist play in St Mark’s Square while sipping coffee when it started to drizzle. Everyone left but me. How could I deprive the player of his only audience? How could I deprive myself of my only ‘private piano recital’? To commemorate the day look!” Barrington, bought in Venice in 1983.
This article originally appeared in Mumbai Mirror, Times Of India: http://alturl.com/hni6