Festivals and fashion
It was just today that I happened to drive past CR Park, New Delhi’s Bengali colony. At an intersection, when the light turned red, I brought my car to a halt and several people started crossing the road, walking past my car. I noticed that all of them without exception were dressed up… they all were heading towards the Durga Puja pandal (the fairground) as the festivities are on for the Bengalis.
While I saw some of them in their traditional attires, of ornate saris for women and kurtas on men, what surprised me were the young girls coming in their leggings and sexy spaghetti tops and guys in their jeans and tees. Most of them looked as if they were heading for a party. Indeed, it’s a party of sorts for everyone, not just the Bengalis, with the fair ground with its huge Durga idol along with a battery of food and recreation stalls dotting all across.
I liked the fact that everyone wanted to have a good time along with their prayers offered to the idol, but at the same time they also wanted to look stylish in their own ways. The best of Indian wear along with a variety of western wear on a traditional occasion was not something that I was familiar with.
Back in Kerala, during our festivals like Onam or Vishu, I see women only in their traditional attire. Men are always mixed with some in trousers and shirts while some in their dhotis and shirts. The best of silks or kasav veshtis (off white saris with broad gold borders) come out during these occasions. The occasions are so traditional that in some temples those who appear in western outfits are barred from entering the premises. That said, people come in their most stylish attires to celebrate the occasion.
Indian festive occasions are the best times for fashion designers here, especially in the North. They make their killings during these times. People splurge buying for themselves and for their relatives and friends. The end result is fashion in different forms and designs hitting the road. Some of course in their designer attire and most in their affordable, yet stylish (with of course a fair sprinkle of bizarre outfits appearing in the middle) come to eat, pray and of course to be loved… to be seen!