Indian women... do not they look beautiful , vibrant in so many attires. It wasn't like this before. I have seen my mother, grand mother, aunts all in one single attire...the quintessential Indian Sari...and it was worn without any complaints.. difficult to drape, who would arrange the pleats...no questions asked..it was sari all the way. Then women from my part of the country, eastern India , gradually adapted to the more comfortable and adaptable Salwar Kameez and i guess women started venturing out of their homes for work by then.
I had also embraced Salwar Kameez merrily as i entered into teens, the safest dress to have around, avoid all the weird looks ( well at least i felt safe). But then for me world consisted of two kinds of girls who wore jeans and who do not...!! Strange...does it sound weird... I don't know how many would relate to me. But believe me the blue miracle beckoned many of us.. and it was not easy in middle class families ,even if you managed to convince your parents and that omnipresent big brother or cousin..stepping out of the house and having so many pair of eyes following you and not in admiration necessarily was an uphill task. In my part of the city.. things were more taboo may be because it was a colony of all settlers after partition and economically and socially we were lagging far behind the others who came from the so called well off portions ... guess a sort of west Delhi and south Delhi for those who can relate. I had this blue pair of denims but not the guts to wear it. In today's context things are a bit unbelievable..but girls do assess what they are going to wear according to the looks they would get basically from the men present and sometimes women as well... and somehow in our country dressing is related to the safety of women and her moral uprightness!
Then you need to look good if you wear something different.. Jeans was different. And being on the healthy and plump side it invited more of the unnecessary attention... I hope things were not my figment of imagination... really who would have time.. but the boys in the locality did.. they would stand in groups, in any shop, in any corner available pass the occasional lewd comment, what made me so paranoid... why I could never speak up!! There was this guilt, burden of being a woman.. no, actually I am not being dramatic... even if in that age I was well read and knew about women's rights and liberties..even then as I passed the group of boys... i'd feel uncovered ,bare and hopeless. Some girls I remember would never go out alone, tag along with mother or sister or anyone...but all were not so lucky. I am deviating from my Jeans post.. my blue pair wore out unused..as i moved from school to college barring few occasions
I took the opportunity while we went out for holidays to wear the cherished jeans team it up with a top or shirt. Was the rest of India more liberal...I don't think so..but may be you do not need to carry the baggage of your own personality everywhere... Then as i moved out of my house, liberation came with job, money and more importantly the choice of outfits. I remember being proud and happy as I wore my first branded jeans. Empowerment for women has different meanings I guess..being able to wear the blue magic was the paving stone for liberation. Before, we would talk about girls who wore jeans, species from a different world. Well, well things have changed a lot... we never wear sari, though not fail to buy expensive ones...always complain of saris being cumbersome, impossible to drape, even disposing off salwar kameez with dupatta gradually.
Jeans had invaded all our homes, comfortable, trendy, tattered a must have for men and women of all ages. Other outfits continue to rest in wardrobe at peace.. while we pull the jeans and top it up with almost anything and little by little capris, skirts, dresses..the wardrobe overflows . Well no one is complaining...if choices for attire is the first pill for women's lib we have come a long way and have miles to go yet.