In praise of the monkey cap
When people sneer about Bengalis, there is inevitably a mention of their winter attire and that accessory they sport, the monkey cap.
I wonder why? It is a perfectly sensible thing to wear if you are going for a morning walk in winter and the breezes are chilly. The monkey cap, as it is called here, is widely used in other parts of the world too. It is called a ski mask in America, a Balaclava helmet in other lands and was issued as standard winter gear for military forces.
Sweaters and pullovers keep you warm, but unless you are wearing a hoody your neck is always exposed to the cold. Mufflers and scarves are needed for this region and they are fussy. The monkey cap takes care of this. It covers the whole head and neck, including the ears, and in some varieties can be pulled up over the lower part of the face too. It is an ideal accessory.
Bikers wear them under their helmets to keep warm and to keep the inner lining of their helmets clean. Ski masks are fashionable. It makes sense to keep warm after all. So why sneer at the Bengali Babu with his monkey cap?
Oh, it must be the pompom.