Buying Lingerie in India

Everyone  rants and raves about the economic highs and uppers of liberalization, globalization and opening up of the economy in India. I’d pin my delight to the fact that it kinda started and ensured that lingerie became available in India 😀

For as far as I can recall, in my teens and till I became a young adult, lingerie was practically non-existent in India.Pretty shocking about a land which boasts about the ‘Kamasutra’, right? 😀 I remember going with my maternal aunt to buy my first big girl clothing. This was in a shop in Lajpat Nagar market, New Delhi known for its kitschy shops and bargaining . The shopkeeper was a  dour looking Sikh gentleman who brightened up at the sight of my well endowed aunt. ‘Behenji,size 40, nahi ? And you must take a look at these new underwear. Very lasting! Complete stretchable!” To my horror, Sardarji,excitedly stretched the ‘un-mentionable’  with his hands, defying  all laws of Physics, to a gigantic size.The man’s eyes then glazed over as perhaps he imagined it on  my voluptuous aunt? I giggled while my aunt looked thunderous. ‘It is for the child’, she said curtly.Sardarji lost all interest, checked me out disdainfully and proceeded to show us the most ugly and unimaginative stuff in white only. My Cyndi Lauper dreams were cruelly dashed 🙂

I would pester my cousins abroad to get me pretty, girly stuff. Those days,we really didn’t have conversations over the telephone which was reserved mainly for wishing on important festivals or emergency matters like someone falling sick, getting married, had a baby etc. So I would write these detailed  letters painstakingly 🙂 When the precious stuff arrived, usually in the summer holidays,my joy would know no bounds!

What is it about lingerie that I love ? I love the feel of satin and silk on my skin,yes.It is very feminine and makes me feel all woman.But I also love the juxtaposition of wearing three thousand-rupees- lace stuff under  rough blue jeans. Because to me , lingerie is an attitude. It is  a personal statement that I don’t have to declare to the world, unless I wish to. The clothes we wear outside are in so many ways curtailed by let’s say the occasion, the weather, the impression you want to create etc. But  your lingerie? It is a secret. It  is just you.

And perhaps, its special because you share it with the person you love. In a strange way, you share part of your inner self. You share a little bit of who you are.

I really won’t get into  the boring , cliched idea of the “women-wear-lingerie-to-attract-men” or are forced to clothe themselves from a male perspective .You know the  feminist angle to it?Women certainly wear beautiful lace and silk to appear more desirable to their partner.Absolutely nothing wrong with it! Doesn’t impinge on women’s rights,please. Here’s great wisdom from Marylin Monroe ” I don’t mind living in a man’s world, as long as I can be a woman in it” 🙂

So I go lingerie shopping in India, now.And it feels great to see many women doing so.Though  I do smile because 99% of them are shopping alone. Not with their partners. Perhaps, we need a second ‘liberalization” for this to happen 🙂

Umm..the only problem is like the one I faced the other day. Happy over my slightly berserk lingerie shopping, I waited at the counter to pay. And chose to ignore the  diametrically opposite stares of a middle aged couple. While the wife looked at me accusingly, the husband did so lasciviously.

Stereotypes and Stereotyping. So banal,non?

I think it was Kierkegaard who said ” Once you label me you  negate me”.

Over & Out, fellas, with this 😀