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.