Rajyasree Sen used to run the restaurant Brown Sahib in New Delhi and is a foodie. Much of her time is devoted to writing on pop culture and TV. She also maintains a blog foodforthoughtindia. blogspot.com, where you can order some delicious food from her catering outfit. And we can’t believe we’re plugging her catering business on a news site. Who approved this copy?
Feeling Sari For Sagarika
Move over Arianna Huffington, we have a fashion icon-cum-media maven of our own. Replete with sleeveless blouses, “pop lipstick” (whatever that may be) and “Chanderi saris in colours as assertive as her opinions”. Who am I talking about? Who else, but our very own Sagarika Ghose.
Thanks to the most bizarre article I’ve read in a newspaper in a while, I have been educated not just about Sagarika’s fine eye to colour blocking – and how she can effortlessly throw together “an oxblood blouse with a yellow and purple sari, for instance)” – but also about her “on-camera style”.
As the extremely insightful article in Lounge tells us, Ghose is of the belief that, “I think and speak in English and voice opinions that may make people uncomfortable. To some people I may seem like an elite babe in traditional saris with shocking sleeveless blouses, and trying to subvert a power equation. But this fusion is precious to me. I believe in shock value. This is who I am”.
Ahh, how sad a day it is for womankind, when our ability to shock lies not in our opinions but in our fondness for sleeveless blouses. Even if they’re of the Air India Shashi-aunty variety. Not that I’m judging. After all, one woman’s halter top is another woman’s magia sleeve.
Now why am I perturbed about this wonderfully inspired article on Sagarika’s sartorial virtues? Because if I was a journalist, I’d like to be written about for my journalistic skills or maybe my intellect or maybe my sense of humour or for all of the above and only then for my comb-over and bright red lipstick. But then again, maybe I’m being old-fashioned and feel that being congratulated and written about only for my path-breaking blouses is just a tad sexist.
Also, it’s highly disconcerting to be informed that an adult woman who has all her mental and physical faculties in place and who waxes eloquent on matters of state, politics, social issues and so on – is not capable of shopping on her own. As the article kindly informs us and unkindly crucifies Sagarika’s self-sufficiency in the bargain, “Ghose’s traditional-edgy style is much thought through, says Singh (a stylist with CNN IBN), who accompanies Ghose on some of her shopping trips”. It’s like being informed that Arnab can’t buy hair gel himself and must be accompanied by Surojit or Akash from Times Now.
And then if you weren’t already judging her enough, you are informed that the upkeeper of the conscience of the nation, the lady who looks distraught at the misfortune of the less fortunate, is no less than Imelda Marcos herself. If you just switch the shoes with saris. To quote, again, “Ghose, who says she makes sure she doesn’t look like an aunty or mummy [didn’t realise looking like an aunty or mummy was considered déclassé. Imagine a man making this statement, he’d be hoisted with his sexist petard], is candid about her large wardrobe that is updated often. ‘A few hundred saris, yes,’ she confesses, with an unedited hahaha. More than 14 new Raw Mango saris; 25-odd chiffon Leheriyas, a dozen-plus light Kanjeevarams and many, many others.” If she sets her mind to it, Sagarika may soon catch up with the caped crusader, Jayalalithaa’s booty of a 1000 sarees.
Not to split hairs, but I remember a year ago we had carried a comic strip on Sagarika, affectionately calling her the nation’s little princess. We made the cardinal sin of portraying her as a little girl who never quite grew up – and yes, we mentioned the “pop” lipstick. But since we don’t have as much of a way with words as Ghose we didn’t call it that. We had a bunch of Ghose’s uber-feminist friends come down on us like a ton of saree-clad bricks, getting their knickers in a twist about how Newslaundry was being sexist and portraying her as a little girl. Well, I suppose times are changing and no one considers that her being portrayed as a clotheshorse who can’t even shop for herself is sexist in the least.
Just to even the scales, I think Lounge should write a piece on how Karan Thapar and his bow-ties and waistcoats embody his opinions, and let’s not forget Arnab’s Johnny Bravo pouf. It’s a series dying to be written. After all, nothing is as fun, as unintentional comedy.