Cannes You Not?

I once bought roasted peanuts from a vendor who wrapped his ware in pieces of Hindi newspaper. Our piece of the newspaper was large, and it castigated Genelia D’Souza – with an appropriate amount of shock and sneer – for wearing the same outfit to BOTH her brother’s and brother-in-law’s wedding.

This cartoon is in memorium, especially since the little chirpers have descended with gusto upon the recent feast that has been the stretch from the Met gallery to the Cannes parade. It’s from Green Humour, the ecological artwork blog I raved about here. This is the link to the original post.

sustainable dressing

Incidentally, notice that the artist has chosen non-Indian stereotypes as his reference point. A few years back, I would have agreed with the inherent implication that hysterical consumption – and the stigma attached to refraining from it – was largely a developed-world phenomenon. But now? A Mumbai city-and-suburbs Hindi daily is mocking an Indian woman for wearing the same outfit twice!

Stop and think just how powerful a turnaround that is. Local dailies have traditionally been strong allies of an older narrative of female worth – one that is invested in her thrift, her wholesomeness, son-productivity, hard work, and in her Lakshmi-like handling of the family moolah. For that group to lay into one of sisters for NOT being a wasteful enough spender? Now that’s unnerving. And a glowing testament to the ability of profit-driven corporations to become the new Miss Manners – not just in the much-reviled “west”, but right here, in the cities and towns of our shuddh desi homeland. Whew.

And to think I got away, till my early twenties, with wearing the SAME saree and jewellery to every single weddings I attended. Those happy days are certainly over.

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