Tintin in Nepal, the adventures of a T shirt

Uploaded 7 May 2013
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© Etan Doronne

Photo license: © All rights reserved

Studio city library had finally became the Rosseta stone of my T shirt inscription.

But the story begins in the 2007 monsoons, Nepal.

Trying to escape the steamy heat of Indian monsoon I arrived at Kathmandu around August.

Pokhara, which I stayed at for a couple of weeks earlier was a gohst town. Totally off season. Empty streets, shop owners yearning for business and prices very negotiable.

But in Kathmandu, a financial center, business seemed as usual.

Streets were muddy as I roamed the old city narrow alleys looking for worthy gift for friends and family.

Most shops had same T shirts, or custom embroidery tailors waiting for your design, but for 3 times the cost of a ready made.

I was digging into a basket piled with T shirts as the seller came to my rescue. I asked for unique ones and he eventually came up with an order by another tourist that never came to pick it up. I liked it at first sight. Hindi prints are very rare at tourist shops or even Indian markets in general. And here it was EMBROIDERER.

I kept my cool, though, not to raise the price tag. Eventually I got it for 70 Rupees ( $2 at that time).

But I never knew what the scene is and the Nepaly tailor was as clueless.

About 2 years passed while I enjoyed the T shirt regardless. Many Indian on the way were happy to see Hindi on a foreigner and of course made the slight effort to read but I couldn't help their curiousity any further.

In 2009 I shared a presentation in the Studio City library, of the Los Angeles public library. There was a librarian, a fan of the Tintin comics, who not only pinned the scene but grabbed the magazine featuring it. And here it is.

The Rossetta stone, the english cartoon next to the Hindi T-shirt, reveled the Sherpa (the nepali on the right carrying a big load with his eyes strapped) shouting "Can't you see where you're going?"

As the foreigner holds a bag full of documents he found and is looking for it's owner.

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