It is Deepavali or Diwali depending on where you come from in India!
It is a time for family and friends to call, email and visit and it is a time for good food, sweets and savouries, pattasu or crackers (shudder!) and new clothes.
The way the concept of clothes has changed is interesting. Every year the brand masters choose names to market the new saris, crackers and sweets. This year in Chennai every big sari shop has introduced saris that are drwoned with embellishments, zari and embossed prints. Likewise the salwar kameez’s style that is currently in rage is the Anarkali drape and streeeeeetch churidars. Women from size zero to xxx and extra large are wearing it, never mind the bulging bosoms, waist and hips. The kurti and the choli/blouse
have metamorphed into something else altogether and you will have a tough time identifying the said garments. The sari blouse especially has taken on all kinds of dimensions and has become a horror statement in many cases. Maybe the feminist
brigade has decided to do away altogether with the blouse along with the bra.
The other A who is still dictating style is Amitabh Bachhan with his Reid & Taylor suits, his safari and long kurtas that are being copied by all men. He is also buying diamonds for Jaya who is proving to be difficult to please. With Sachin’s record making spree he too is endorsing formal suits. Of course a few years ago, poor Shivraj
Patil got a dressing down for his sartorial elegance in the face of mayhem and disaster. Although SRK is seen often in the bandgala (Nehru collar), that look is strictly for politicians (and bridegrooms), that however fail to keep their voice boxes in check.
The tie is an interesting accessory. Young boys are taught to wear one in school—some have it as part of their uniform or wear them later when they take on office in student councils in the high school. Their discomfort with the tie, especially with the Adam’s apple bobbing in and out is a sight to be seen. My husband has been
collecting Institutional ties from various sources and rarely wears one at all though there was a time when he wore one everyday as it was de rigueur in his work place. My son wore a tie everyday to school as well. His tie was knotted the first time he wore it; he would just loosen it and slip it off his neck and wear it like a necklace the next day and tighten it. I still have the tie with its knot intact as a memento of his school daysgone by!
The kind of designs that go on to ties has also changed greatly. They can be fun statements with Teddy Bears, moose, fish and dolphins or Winnie the Pooh printed on them. Stripes, stars, dots and lines, colours and prints sweep across the two –inch tapered width of
the cloth. Age has a big say in the design worn by men.
Talking of weddings there is a whole industry—from matchmaking sites, wedding planners, wedding attire and jewellery, wedding range of Kanchipuram and embroidered and stone studded saris,
gaghras and gowns, wedding wear for men, marriage counsellors, divorce lawyers, – phew the list is endless. Depending on your budget, you can spend anything on clothes for a wedding, whatever be your role in the event.
For a wedding or Deepavali, a veshti or dhothi was the garment
worn by men in South India. A few opted for lungis when the wearing of the garment became popular in the sixties. Then trousers and jeans took over the popularity charts. Today I find my nephew and his generation…young Tupys’ (Tamizh Upcoming
Professional youngsters) opting for the four yard dhothies all over again for festive and ritual wear to weddings, functions and the temple.
An interesting development can be seen in older men beyond fifties who have seriously taken to sporting shorts, maybe in keeping with their remaining lifespans or to send signals about their liberation from professional dress codes.
So what’s all this new dresses for Deepavali you may ask? Well it is a whole blog alright!
Happy Deepavali, Diwali.