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Category Archives: Women

Ok, so Dilli’s got a new address. It’s called Zara, the famed Spanish brand that has folks the world over drooling. And the mere mortal that I am, I drooled too.
Through the week. And decided that one trip had to be done by the weekend, come what may.

So Saturday it was Destination Zara. A chance social visit to an old aunt-acquaintance in Vasant Kunj meant I could multi-task! A trip to DLF Emporio in the evening, however, proved that the store was still in the birthing process. Ok. Momentary sadness. Not to feel wasted, I walked into the Mango store with no intention of buying anything. Resolute. That time of the month, when the head and heart are in a major conflict of conspicuous consumption patterns.

Woman proposes, Conscience supposes, and finally God disposes…An hour later, after numerous trials and careening in front of the mirror, walked out with a pair of jeans. My first pair of Mango jeans – the thought ran through my head (try translating that into Hindi/Bangla – funny it sounds!). Guilt was assuaged, thanks to the ‘sale’ tag.

Sunday had a definite motive. Sex and The City – 2 had to be done. So was Zara. Mission Zara-esque I felt. A call-in-time from a friend put things in motion further! SATC-2 would happen, followed by Zara! For a moment, I thought I was suffering OCD. The film happened – sexless, pretty much of it. Carrie Bradshaw is good on HBO mini series, Mr Big’s rakish quotient has dissipated o’er the years. Samantha and Miranda — two extremes — are still likeable, the former for her in-your-face honest, crude jokes and the latter for being the most sorted of the lot! The rest is phew! It seemed more like a dramatised ‘Discovering the UAE’ series, the clothes were a disappointment. At least SATC-1 had better clothes. My takeaway from SATC-2: Sarah Jessica Parker’s smoky eye-shadow! The rest’s a smoke. Literally!

Zara didn’t lift my disappointment. The new address for Dilli’s yuppity folks, Sunday was a gathering of the city’s swish set. Surreal — if you consider the transition from not-so-practical costumes of SATC to a setting where the real meets the unreal. I was quite disappointed – paying a bomb for flimsy cotton tops or shirts which looked pretty lifeless, limp. Some of the designs were nice, but the finished product screamed of mediocrity. Certainly not what the price tags at Zara were screaming. Their bags were nice, the shoes even better. Not what Dilli is used to seeing. Nice, rich brown leather bags. And some smart-looking leather sandals.

The clientele at the Select Citywalk outlet that I saw was a getting-to-know Zara lot. Most seemed to have landed there, buoyed by peer pressure. And word-of-mouth publicity. Reports of the store having sold its items within hours of opening up obviously came with its own set of pressures. Picture-perfect couples, coochi-cooing and orgasming over pretty ordinary clothes — a life less ordinary, you would say! I breezed through the store, came out without buying anything. It was a sight enough to see beautiful people aspiring to be more beautiful and willing to pay the price for it.

For mere mortals like me, the view from the sidelines was more fun. And free! 🙂

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Yesterday was International Women’s Day. A day when almost all communication across print, visual and social media screamed that Woman Power needed to be feted. That the female ego needed to be massaged. And that the second sex needed to feel good about themselves – at least this is what most retail brands also felt. Hence they all rushed in to offer huge discounts, happy buys and other feel-good thing-a-me.

Yesterday was also supposed to be a historic Monday in the making with the Women’s Reservation Bill being passed in Parliament. But what ensued was high drama, histrionics and (display of) horrible behaviour in the misnomer of House of Elders. Action in the Rajya Sabha was anything but what is deemed fit of elderly citizens. And in this case, elderly nominated citizens.

But it’s yesterday no more.

The day after, retail brands have gone back to doing their usual stuff — targeting Rahul, Deepak & Hari. And not women per se. The plethora of status updates across social media show no signs of nursing a hangover. “More woman power”, “HWD” and their ilk have remained Monday-only icons, I guess.

The day after, there was also unfinished business in Parliament. Deliberations were supposed to be carried forward from a Manic Monday. Decorum was supposed to be reinstated after yesterday’s shameful show by our Elders in the House as they harassed the Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari who, incidentally, also happens to be the country’s Vice-President. After numerous adjournments, the House finally decided to put itself in order. Literally.

As I write, the voices of (in)sanity in Parliament, cutting across party ranks – Arun Jaitley, Brinda Karat and Jayanti Natarajan – have, for once, agreed to agree. Almost disconcertingly, the trio, individually, have just finished espousing the cause of Nari-cracy, about why this democracy now needs a Mis(s) Mandalisation of politics.

The darkest hour is before the dawn, they say. For modern India, the darkest hour is here, with no promise of sunshine anywhere on the horizon. An hour of prolonged regressive gender politics that will, eventually, not do any thing for the cause of woman empowerment or emancipation. Remember Mandal.

Reservation of all sorts is dangerous, especially in a society like ours where it mostly ends up becoming an instrument of electoral politics. Even as the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has taken the cause of this Bill much like a personal (ego-tinted) agenda of sorts, it’s amusing to see sudden unity among our politicos, some agreeing to disagree (Mulayam, Lalu) while others doing the opposite.

Inclusive politics, fair gender representation, victory for womenfolk – these are some of the phrases that have been in circulation ad nauseum over the past few days. And I don’t agree with either. Call me a cynic who is missing the bigger picture. But I fail to fathom how reserving 33 per cent seats for women can ensure good, non-corrupt leadership that will deliver on promises made? Women, the world over, have proved to be astute politicians and kudos to them for that. But more often than not, women in power have also misused their positions to seek favours. And history is witness to that.

More importantly, what happens to merit, excellence, hard work? What is the guarantee that a (reserved) woman representative would be more deserving meritorious than her male counterpart? What is the assurance that a candidate from a political dynasty won’t get preference over her non-politically networked woman competitor? Doesn’t that, in itself, qualify for double reservation?

For all our shouting from the rooftops that education has been an equaliser and has brought Bharat and India closer, the passage of this Bill has been an education in itself. It has shown yet again that our elected representatives don’t know how to conduct themselves in the public sphere.

Caught in a time warp, this Bill takes us back by a couple of years. It questions strides taken by women in various spheres. It almost belittles the achievements that so many women have managed and continue to do so in their day-to-day and not-so-ordinary lives.

And like all things Indian, this Bill has now assumed more than a political tinge. And sadly, that will be the colour in time to come.