“Kam se kam chaddhi to pehen lo (at least put on your underpants).” It is a reprimand Pradip Chanda* gets to hear often, and one that raises his hackles each time. Because Pradip is no impish schoolboy scooting off with bare essentials missing from his uniform. A thirtysomething father of two, he is a doctor in north Bengal. He is also a practising naturist.
In the naturist way of life, clothing is an impediment to being in harmony with nature; to feeling air, rain and sunlight on the naked skin; to realising that underneath designer labels, everyone is the same. It’s a growing tribe in India—all regular folks like doctors, insurance professionals, bankers, teachers, abiding by the radical impulse to go nude. At this tentative stage of their fraternising, though, they can’t escape the irony of having to live this al-fresco philosophy mostly behind closed doors.