Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Embracing Imperfections

The Kurkure Tedha Hai, Par Mera Hai is more than just a twisted savory crying out for attention.
The campaign is a reflection of how India today is embracing imperfections.

The matrimonial columns a decade ago had "fair, beautiful, slim" as a firm checklist for prospective brides.
We were conscious of society, of occasions, of expectation.
We were groomed and coached to achieve perfection, gold standards set by society.
Good wife, accomplished career oriented men, family car, own house, family values.

Bollywood epitomised perfection with the actor profiling.
The Ma, the Bahu Beti, the Hero.

Skin colour was and still is, in many ways, a measure of perfection.
The Kajol Bipasha brigade never quite matched up to the Ashdom of the screen, acting capabilities definitely not being a yardstick.

We liked following the norms.
The right lengths... hair or kurta.
The right smile
The right words
The right relationships
The right jobs

Today, this picture perfect canvas we all liked to strive towards has a few impromptu brush strokes. Maybe an occasional wrinkle. A couple of dark spots. But it is a more achievable, acceptable and likeable picture.

So what if the girl is dark? She can still be as good.
I don't mind my son becoming a diving coach
I am not fluent in English but that's fine. I am great at expressing myself.
Fat is not equal to ugly
I am open and outspoken

There are many obviously many more statements and expressions that show that we are increasingly embracing imperfections.

This is a manifestation of a strong undercurrent of self belief and pride in who we are.
We are drawing back the shades of pretense and revealing our true selves because we have the conviction to listen to what we really want to do and be and go ahead and just do that or be that.

It is a great place to be .

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Life Unbuttoned

Raunchy numbers like Choli ke peeche and many more have always added mountains of ooze and oomph to entertainment.

The "vamp" of yesteryears was an icon by herself.

Always better dressed, a much better dancer, street smart, the "vamp" was looked upon as almost evil by India. At least by women.

India is unbuttoning fast and  definitely loosening up.
Low cut kurtis and lower cut blouses
Crystals adorning navels peeping out from chiffon clad waistlines
"Lip to Lip" kisses victoriously marching past the censor pens
Six packs, bare bodies make men more sensuous than ever.
Wake up Sids glorify older women younger man relationships- live in at that.

The ad world is a great reflector of this .
Am-Sutras rub shoulders with Akshay Kumar unbuttoning his Levi's.
Pre production meetings no longer have clients insisting on long kurtas and full sleeves for mass India.
Plaits have all but become obsolete.

Smaller towns are quick to pick up the trails is also a dating site
Curfew hour at home is much more relaxed
Patriarchs  have realised that raised eyebrows will not reduce the shorter hemlines.

Yes, India is still rooted.
To its traditions and old values.
Maybe that's what keeps our minds rooted as well .
And our feet more grounded.

But the wings  have sprouted as well.
There's no caging back the young.

We are proud to flaunt.
Not just our toned physique.

But also our confidence.
Self Believe.
Even audaciousness.

It is indeed Life Unbuttoned.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gotta be Rich to lead a Poor life

As I scour the supermarkets for bajra flour to make coarse rotis for my dinner, many thoughts cross my mind.

Actually, these thoughts are prompted by the large font labels waving out to my eyeballs.

Jaggery, organic, whole wheat, unrefined oil, unsalted butter, farm fed chicken and more.

The prices printed in small print actually do make eyeballs roll... super premium is an understatement.

Natural living, Back to nature are new mantras.

Deluxe resorts tucked away in mountains where you leave behind your ipads, mobile phones and your busy lives to eat fresh fruit meals, meditate on grass, and have bodies massaged with natural oils, finally retiring to natural lamp lit rooms with cane furniture and mats.Even light mosquito coils to make it absolutely natural.

Being evangelists for food brands which have the magic words Nature Fresh, Whole Wheat, Organic and Pure.

We even like wrapping hand made gifts in hand made paper for that house warming do every now and then.

Landscaping is done to simulate the rural farmyards.

The list is endless.

Rustic is modern. Coarse is the new finesse.

And comes at a super premium mark up.

For a life our grandfathers and maybe even some of our parents grew up in.
A life led by most Indians even now in the farming expanses across our massive nation.
People who would give an arm and a leg to spend just a day like we do.
Have a meal like we do, a ride in a car, a shopping bag full for just one day.

Maybe a simple exchange programme of our lives would fulfil a million dreams and let us lead the natural lives we want to. Just for a day.

We don't have to really pay to lead a poor man's life.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

From Nightie to Kurti- The Indian Woman's walk to change

One of the common sights in my grandmother's place was my cousins and "aunties" wearing nighties.
Wearing nighties to the kitchen as they cooked meal after meal, wearing nighties in the courtyard when they bottled pickles and dried chillies, wearing nighties in the evening as they chatted at the gate with the neighbouring women, who were also in nighties.

The nightie travelled outside of home as well, to short walks to the neighbourhood grocery store for that packet of Britannia Thin arrowroot, the Jabakusum hair oil, or even to the bus stop for dropping the little kids off to school. Only that the nightie was demurely covered by a stole or a chunni.

Many have written about nighties and the way they actually stood for the emerging Indian woman who was taking baby steps towards modernity.

Today, the nightie has given way to Kurtis.
Long, medium, loose, semi loose, skin tight, embroidered... they come in all shapes and kinds.
The more conservative women  wear the kurtis over a  tight churidar - like a pair of slacks- reflecting the bridge between the two worlds she herself lives in.
The more adventurous invest in jeans  or trousers, usually not skin tight. Bangles, bindis and even gajras complement these outfits and the women look beautiful. The confidence shows in the walk and talk.

The younger lot in small towns of course wear kurtis with capris, with skin tight jeans- and it  never raises the eyebrows a shirt would raise amongst the older women.

This is a great example of the attitude of change and the behavioural manifestation of change in our wardrobe.
About the way we adapt rather than adopt
The way we adjust so well
The balancing act we play with great skill
About how the Me factor in women is fulfilled along with the We and family.

Kurtis unleash the spirit of freedom .
Freedom without a revolution or a crusade.

In fact, this is  perhaps the best ways of embracing change.