I love Shoba Narayan's latest column, especially the ending, in which she talks about just how stylish Indians are.
Style is hard to define. Reams of pages in fashion magazines are devoted to it. Designers take it apart and even then it is useless because style is subjective — the exuberant overdose that John Galliano thinks is stylish would be anathema to a Japanese.As a people, I believe that we Indians are stylish. I don’t mean the Page 3 socialites who have fallen prey to Western dictates (and brand names) of what constitutes style. I mean that rural India has a style that is entirely and uniquely our own. It is in the upturned jootis and the dignified walk of a turban-clad farmer in Rajasthan; in the crisp folds of a Bengal cotton sari, especially when worn by pretty much any woman in Kolkata; in the green bangles of a koli fisherwoman who goes to Crawford Market; in the pristine white “mundu” dhoti of Kerala politicians including defence minister A.K. Antony; in the graceful walk of any woman who balances a pot of water on her head. Wherever you look in India, we have a style and grace that is a mixture of Bauhaus functionality and Baroquean exuberance. It follows Mies van der Rohe’s dictate that form must follow function and then adds a fillip of colour and je ne sais quoi to it.Every morning after putting my kids in the school bus, I sit down and watch the line of maids who enter our building complex. Not one of them is poorly put together and I’ve heard this said about bais (maids) all over India. They take pride in their appearance and come in wearing neatly-pinned saris, perhaps some jasmine in their hair, maybe a bangle or two and a dangling earring as a nod to current fashion. No make-up, no expensive accessories, just professionals dressed up for their jobs. Are they stylish? I doubt that they think in those terms. They are unstudied but not nonchalant. They pay attention to their clothes but don’t fuss over them. Most of all, their outfits stay true to themselves, with a little extra fillip. If that’s not style, I don’t know what is.
On another note, I started another blog, dear visitors. You may visit it here.