Long, long ago, Raveendran Pillai and Udayakumar used to sit and stitch clothes in their respective tailoring shops, minding their own business, in a town called Kayamkulam in Alappuzha district of Kerala. One day, Raveendran’s friend Thilakan introduced the two of them. Thilakan was Udayakumar’s elder brother and Raveendran’s classmate back in school. That was in 1982. Nearly 40 years later, the two tailors are achieving new fame because somebody noticed them wearing clothes of the same colour day in and day out for years.
“It’s not only the same colour; we use the same material to stitch our shirts and pants. We began the habit 25 years ago, wearing similar clothes every time we go out,” says Raveendran Pillai, proud of the decades-long friendship with Udayakumar. The latter is two years younger and shorter than his friend.
“We somehow hit it off as soon as we got introduced to each other. Six years later – in 1988 – we brought our units together and made it a single tailoring shop called PK Tailors,” Raveendran says. P and K are neither of their initials. They stand for Pachu and Kovalan, the nicknames that townspeople gave them, named after two popular cartoon characters created by the late PK Manthri.
“It amused the people in town when we walked around together, wearing similar clothes, one taller than the other. They began calling us Pachu and Kovalan, after two famous cartoon characters that appeared in Manorajyam, a Malayalam magazine. We didn’t feel offended. On the contrary, we liked it. So much so that Udayakumar suggested we name our shop PK since that is how we are anyway known,” Raveendran says with a laugh.
The friends became so inseparable that they moved homes to be in a single compound, each with their family. “Udayakumar was living a kilometer away until 2003. Afterwards, we got the plot next to my home and he built his house there,” Raveendran adds.
Udayakumar, the less talkative one, lives with his wife and daughter. Raveendran lives with his wife and son. “Earlier the two families used to dress up in matching clothes. But then it became difficult to find similar clothes for the women, so it became just the two of us. Every morning, Udayakumar would come home with a set of pants he chose for the day, and I would choose the shirt to wear,” says Raveendran.
The two have got clothes in nearly all of the colours, except yellow.
Their first bit of fame came in 2006 when a reporter in Mathrubhumi featured them on World Friendship Day in August and ran their story in all editions. More recently their stories appeared in Club FM and 24 News. “It is after these media reports that people realised our real names were not Pachu and Kovalan!” Raveendran says, laughing.
Watch: Matching tailors of Kayamkulam