9 years this February.
I have seen innumerable women up close and personal, not just in and out of the trial rooms of my store but really up close and personal. I have seen their insecurities with their bodies at times, with their inner selves at times and at times I have seen those lines blurring.
Some women who look at shopping as therapy and some who could not be bothered to spend more time than a phone call to shop for themselves. Some who need their partner’s or their girlfriends’ approval to buy even the best looking dress on them, and some who are so spontaneous and quick with their decisions that they need no approvals really. I have seen them in all body types and sizes, in all complexions and skin tones. Different heights from the petite ones to the very tall, some who have been cancer survivors, some who are grandmothers and some who are barely out of their teens. I have seen them all, the fiercest of souls and the meekest of them. Alpha females and the underdogs. I feel privileged to have seen them over the years, and I love my profession for this opportunity that it presents me with, to engage with different minds.
Personally, I have a constant quest to learn what is relevant from what I see around me and today on this gender focussed day of celebration if I ask myself what it is that I feel aware of, I think there would be many thoughts. The most prominent of all, today’s woman wants to please her self as well, while she thinks for everyone else in her life. That to me, comes across as a welcome change over the years what I have been seeing specially in our country. Women want to look after their health and fitness, they know themselves better, they aren’t scared to voice their own feelings nor to support what they feel is right. For the few urban stereotype ones that I have seen, who may be content with no content in their life really, I have also seen those who take pride in pushing other women up and standing by and with them to encourage their friend forward in her lowest phases in life. I have seen women form their own support systems beyond the traditional ones. Today, she is celebrating herself more often as an individual not just as a woman. That perhaps says a lot. Specially in India, we have women leading from the front not just in politics, banking, law, space missions, fashion, business and many more spheres. We should acknowledge after all, that we do live in a country that could trust a woman to be the one to lead us as a nation at one point. Not even the biggest democracies offer at times those opportunities that the land of Lakshmi, Saraswati and so many Goddesses has offered to it’s women.
It is a pity no doubt that we have rogues who rape, those who abuse women or violate them either physically or emotionally, but we yet have a voice which is strong and which will not tolerate nuisance, not at the work place, home nor in public. Except for this one stark negative on safety, I don’t think women would ever find it a challenge to be themselves in India! To that, I feel we as a society need to overcome taboos, talk more openly and live more confidently. Hopefully women will take it upon themselves to address issues in their immediate ecosystems to save our future generations of these!
I talk for myself, and hopefully if you are a woman, you would join me when I say I feel fortunate to be in India in these wonderful times. Women are being the change that they want to see in society. They are perhaps taking the Mahatma’s advice to heart and showing the way forward to many around. The start ups I see, the number of women entrepreneurs I see right here in aamche Pune, my heart swells with pride to see them having their individual identities other than just being the mother, daughter or the wife of so and so. I won’t be able to call myself a feminist because I love and respect the men in my life too much and maybe because I have been fortunate enough to have met many a good men around me.
So while all those insecurities of a self image do make women feel vulnerable at times as I have seen, self awareness and being mindful of an inward but unselfish contemplation will go a long way in making them all of spunk and sass I feel. If we stop judging everyone so easily, we ourselves won’t feel judged. While so many fashion bloggers and critiques ‘judge’ a collection or a designer, fashion to me is the most non judgmental form of expression or interpretation. Why, even the men indulge in it nowadays and thankfully so.
I find this day to be more of an awareness of the positives of being a woman and celebrating life around herself. Let’s all just look our beautiful best and be that from within! That to me, is the celebration of each day being a woman’s day and may be more so, today.