Searching for the stylish.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi Walla saw this woman at CafÃ© Turtle in Khan Market, Indiaâ€™s most expensive shopping street. She was wearing a flower print dress. Her toe nails were polished pink; her brassier that partly slipped out from beneath the gown, too, was pink. The sandals were brown. Her neckpiece was a multi-colored thread. There was no one dressed like her.
Popular with expatriates, CafÃ© Turtle is one of those places in Delhi where you might not be understood if you talk in Hindi. The house music is jazz, the stewards are unobtrusive and the date cake goes well with hot toffee sauce.
The woman looked as comfortable as if she was lounging in her parlour. Lost in thoughts, she sat alone at a table for four. A cup of cappuccino was placed in front of her.
Although a patron of this costly cafÃ©, the woman displayed neither a diamond, nor gold. I could not spot any suggestion of Bulgari or Versace, which are, as we Delhiwallas know, the additional body-parts of Khan Marketâ€™s regulars.
Does this woman live in the upscale Golf Links? What is the salary of her chauffeur? How frequently does she fly to the clubs of Lisbon?
Or, could it be otherwise? Is she an poorly-paid office secretary who lives on rent in a one-room apartment in Amar Colony? Does she commute in auto-rickshaws?
It is frustrating that we cannot guess the womanâ€™s income status from her grooming style. But that is true class.