The laptop’s affair with the 6 yards
I am a saree lover, and I believe that it’s a garment that embodies feminity… power, poise, sensuousness, dignity, grace and a whole lot of other attributes.
I wrote this piece over a decade ago…it is relevant today, too…and will remain forever.
She breezes through the reception. Heads turn at the white brilliance that swishes past. The Narayanpet falls in soft folds as her feet stride briskly. The wide vegetable-dyed parrot green border is pinned as a narrow pleat on her squared shoulders. The black ikkat blouse gathers a slender neck within its high collar. At the nape of the neck sits a neat pile of coiled hair.
She glances at the end of the ikkat sleeve at the golden-strapped watch on her right wrist. In time, as always, she smiles to herself. In her left hand, she holds the red and beige block printed laptop bag, bought directly from the traditional artisans of Kutch.
Someone holds the door open and she enters the board room to a rousing welcome.
Meet today’s Indian corporate woman. She is feminine. She is vibrant. She is discerning. She is different.
We have come a long way from the time the saree was scoffed at as a ridiculous companion to the laptop. Laptops demanded a smart business suit. Well, that was what the invisible and faceless authors of corporate dress codes propagated. Fusion Indian wear comprising a shirt kurta worn over narrow pants, although a compromise, was permissible. But a saree even of the crispiest cotton was scowled upon. The saree has had her share of socialite outings and continues to make headlines at Cannes or anywhere else. Cross-border political dialogues and international conventions have unfolded in the presence of the home-grown weave. Not a single who’s who of the world worthy of her 140 characters has visited the land of the saree and not draped one for the shutterbugs.
Yet strangely, the attire was not allowed to hold her own with the Dells, the HPs, and the Macbooks of the world. Voices of dissent strangled her at her raw yarn and mocked at what they teased to be her traditional outlook. With the quiet confidence that can only come from a robust centuries-old track record, she waited in the wings of the great Indian Corporate Circus. She watched as the Ring Master went ballistic in convincing people to conform. She lost count of the “shoulds” and the “shouldn’ts” he spewed at the hypnotised masses. And then one day, at the next show of the great Indian Corporate Circus, a woman walked down the aisle. Her Kalamkari with its intricate craftsmanship was difficult to ignore. The royal blue of the coarse weave lent her an air of majesty. Heads turned and gasps escaped helpless lips. “Who is she? Who is she?” voices queried around the arena. She glided down the aisle and stood in full view of the others. That’s when they saw it. Without doubt it was a laptop bag she was holding in her hand. She curtsied briefly and turned to face the Ring Master now desperately trying to pull back his fallen jaw.
RUNNING FOR COVER
Today, laptop bags are running for cover. Block prints, Dabu prints, Ikkat and Patola prints are the trending laptop bag exteriors. They are smart, convenient, feminine and professionally efficient, just like their saree-clad owners. Crisp Kanchi cottons are vying with the very supple and amenable Khadis for corporate presence. The rich handloom weave today makes a delectable companion to any laptop worth its chip. Corporate corridors are bustling with the hushed hues of the Mangalgiri and the Bengal Tant.
So, India Inc is witnessing a full-bodied affair brewing between the luscious drape and the drab laptop. It may take a while for everyone to realise it because this is a relationship that runs into several layers. Meanwhile, you can be kind enough to play cupid. Pull out that Sambhalpuri from your closet, pair it with your Lenovo and waltz into the meeting. If your prospects don’t soar, it’s time to get a new laptop.