Monday, March 08, 2010
Pink is the new black
Well, Pink Lady is at it again, up at 5:30 am and not able to sleep anymore. I wonder what it is about India that makes me get up so early, since this is something I absolutely never do at home? Maybe all those roosters crowing? ;-) Even though we live in Bangalore (population 8 million), we live in the outskirts of the city. This means that it takes me 5-10 minutes by car to get to work when it’s typical here for people to travel an hour – or even two – one way to get to work. The traffic is completely unbelievable. But, living where we do, I don’t need to worry about it all on my way to and from the office. The only “traffic” we see here is of the four-legged kind: cows, dogs, cats, goats and a monkey or two thrown in. And chickens, lots of chickens. We live in an Indian village (called Srirampura) in the middle of one of the biggest cities in India. It is right behind the campus where my office is located. My husband bought a couple of bars of soap from one of those tiny little kiosks in our village - which here pass for shops - and both packages of soap had (in addition to the soap) medium-sized cock roaches inside the package!! We now called it “cock roach soap”. ;-) So in our Indian village, the cocks they are-a-crowing and the cock roaches they are-a-running.
And now about the colour pink….when I say that I have seen women here wearing literally 20 different shades of pink, I am not exaggerating. Sarees and salwar kameez seem to come in every colour of the rainbow. I have seen sarees in the hottest pinks you can even imagine on 80-year old grandmothers. I’ve seen baby pink, bubble-gum pink, old rose pink, salmon pink, peachy pink, bright pink, muted pink, fuchsia, cherry pink – you name it, I’ve seen it. I’ve now been in India just over 3 weeks and I feel that just the fact of having seen the clothes of the women here has changed me forever. I may never wear black again!! Why should a woman ever wear black when there are so many gorgeous colours out there? I am now wearing colours such as bright lemon yellow, bright orange, bright turquoise – bright everything.
I have a theory about why Indian women wear so much colour. Of course the usual explanation is that it somehow “looks right” in the bright sunshine and that may well be part of it. But the theory that I’ve come up with is that women everywhere simply want to be beautiful. And since in India women cannot – for reasons of tradition and modesty - so much emphasize the beauty of their bodies by wearing tight or revealing clothing, my theory is that they, instead, emphasize their beauty with the use of beautiful colour and fabric (and of course jewelry to match). Shiny, richly embroidered silk is not just for evening here, it’s every-day-wear for those who can afford it. And those who can’t afford silk wear cotton or have the choice of the most amazingly gorgeous man-made fabrics in every possible colour under the sun.
Bangalore is extremely modern for an Indian city. You see Indian women here wearing clothing that would be unimaginable in rural India: tight jeans, tight, sleeveless tops, tight T-shirts. Showing a lot of skin is still not the done thing, but in Bangalore, the younger women are starting to wear tight-fitting clothing. I am just hoping that the tradition of wearing bright colours won’t die out with the modernization of the Indian woman’s wardrobe. It would be such a shame. Life’s just too short to wear black!!
Must stop here, I have a job to get to...
Bright Pink Lady
P.S. Speaking of black, some Muslim women here do wear the black burqa. However, I have heard that when these Muslim women are in the privacy of their own homes, they dress to the nines and have their hair, nails and make-up perfectly done. So yes, women everywhere do want to look beautiful! :-)
P.P.S. The photo is showing Pink Lady admiring the Bay of Bengal at Aurobeach near Pondicherry.