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03 August 2008

Sighted sight: 
Lace House, Kolkata

WHY ARE there no shirt buttons in Kolkata?

Buttons galoreActually, there are—but only if you look and ask hard enough. I spent three weeks moving around Kolkata and visiting tailoring shops, dress boutiques, and the labyrinths of the sprawling Chandney Chowk bazaar. None of them carried shirt buttons. Yesterday, one of the tailors I met directed me to New Market on Lindsay Street, where I finally found buttons at the basement of the facility's new wing.

The shop is called Lace House. It does have lots of ribbons and lace on display, but it's far from looking like a house. Located across the main staircase, the shop contains one long glass cabinet and drawers on the wall that stock up on such tailoring essentials as threads, needles . . . and buttons. There's enough buttons here to make one happy, particularly if one spent three frustrating weeks searching for the right stuff.

The shopkeeper and his assistant, possibly in their early sixties, were affable. They didn't seem to mind having to open all those drawers and lay out boxes and boxes of buttons, as I labored over inspecting and getting the closest match to my shirts. It took quite time, and I ended up with the buttons I need, albeit not in the right colors that I wanted. I marveled at their patience.

And why, you ask, was I looking for these fasteners? Six of my favorite colorful shirts lost some of their equally colorful buttons. Since no tailor or dressmaker was willing or able to do the repairs for me (not even Raymond's, the boutique known all over India for its sartorial expertise), I was ready to sew them myself. I just needed the stuff. So not only could I not find shirt buttons, I could not even get someone to sew them for me. And don't even ask about matching the colors.

It's been almost a year since I moved to Kolkata, and I'm still surprised to discover what amenities the city lacks and what pleasures it can offer. For all commonplace intents, Lace House is a pleasurable discovery.

Lace House
North Basement, 102 New Market
Lindsay Street
Kolkata 700 087, India
Telephone +91 98304 58609

New Market

New Market. Lace House is at the basement of the new wing (pictured at the farthest left of the image above)

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