Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fashion ka Jalwa

Disclaimer: I am not one of those typical orthodox people that you may come across, these are just a few observations of a modern Indian.

I was going through the Times of India, Pune edition, wherein I happened to notice a picture of an array of models with the heading "How the South was won !! " in the Pune Times supplement. It took me 3-4 readings to understand what exactly the article and pics were for. It was about Pantaloons Femina Miss India South 2009. The article read:

"Glamour, fashion, nerves and entertainment - it was all there in a good measure as the search for the face of the South brought us to the finale of the Pantaloons Femina Miss India South 2009……….."

Till now I knew that every year we have girls from all parts of our country aspiring to be big names in the world of fashion competing for the "Miss India" title and the top contestants represent our country in similar contests held at international platform.

But I was a little surprised to notice that we even have further divisions to it in the name of Miss South India and East India and so on..

Further the surprising fact was the names of winners – Faith Pandey, Ragini Dwidevi and Zara Shah. Could not help wondering who amongst these is a "South Indian" because the article was about the victory of South.

Well, looking at it from one perspective, one can actually compliment that these results show us the way the country is getting united and the population diversified.

But then there is a hind side as well.

I am not sure as to how many of you have noticed this ad by CEAT, calling "Change" to be good, refreshing and what not!! But I wonder if we could really generalize it that way.

I am an Indian from the southern part of the country. A place where a majority of people still prefer their tradition food to the modern junk. A Place where a majority of people still prefer classical music to metal. Where Engineering and Medical are treated as synonyms of graduation; where people are still following the good old saying – Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. A place where investing in gold is always treated as the best (if not the only) investment; where rice and curd are a must at meals (lunch), where people are so devoted to the so called God's that they go to the extent of praising actors by building temples ;)

But things are changing here, as as per my observation more drastically than in other parts of the country. The young generation of India does not identify itself with their place of origin. We are all equal, speak with a common slang, eat similar food, have similar good/bad habits and even wear similar attire and the word we use to describe all this is - Fashion.

In this unification drive though we have gained a lot, but we never realize the things we lost. One of the identities of Indian women is a "bindi" a mark on her forehead which (I think) enhances her beauty. But now it is almost an endangered species, and is treated as a fashion item restricted to marriages or few other special occasions. Very similar is the state of bangles and other ethnic ornaments.

How many teenagers do we see endorsing this?? More so if you are following the TV soaps, its always the actors in negative roles who promote this, and I have no clue why is that so..

It's not just the question of bindis, even some of our traditional clothes have lost the race in this fast world. A south Indian traditional dress called "Thaavani" which for common understanding could be termed as half saree has almost become extinct now. Not long back it used to be the most common attire for all women of this region, but these days it's only the kurtas, jeans and western attire that sell.

Khadi is dubbed as a costume meant for social activists and politicians. Similar would have been the fate of many other traditional Indian wears.

But something which struck me the most, is the use of white lungis or dhotis (not sure what exactly they are) by people of all ages here in Chennai. There, I found both young and the old switch to this traditional wear while at home. Actually, this is what is making me write this post. I just came back from a trip to Chennai where I found most guys and uncles in my colony roaming around with these white lungis, and the girls yapping around in different clothes, that I better not describe.

So just the way we are trying to protect the national animal and other species from extinction, we should also try to think of ways of protect even these traditional Indian costumes, so that the next generation atleast get to know about our traditions.

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