Fashion week from the eyes of a novice. Our ‘political’ correspondent reports...
Ram Avtar smiled sheepishly when he realised I was watching him. “Kya karein, soche ham bhi dekh le tamasha (I thought I might as well catch some of this spectacle),” he said, before I could ask.
Avtar had walked into the auditorium towards the latter half of Anamika Khanna’s show which appeared inspired by peacocks with hair — literally — standing on end. Squeezing his way through the crowd, he had managed to find space to see the models walk the ramp. Did he like what he saw, I asked Avtar after the show? “Sir, sundar tha par ajeeb tha (it was beautiful but strange),” he replied.
Fascinated by Avtar’s perspective — and its similarity to mine — I decided to hunt out other potential like minded folk in uniform, and found a group of them speaking in hushed undertones near the base of the ramp leading to the exhibition area.
Employing a set of tricks
I frequently use to enter an ongoing conversation, I managed to ask them how it was working at the fashion week. Their work, it turns out, heats up when the designers take a break - between shows. That’s when the crowd drifts from one place to another. The bouncers handle the security at the actual shows. The guards have to ensure there’s no gadbad (hanky panky) outside the shows at the venue, one of them said.
What kind of gadbad, I probed? “Sab pi rakhte hain, to kabhi kabhi jhagda ho jaata hain (People are drunk and so fights break out at times),” said Rajnish, usually posted near the entrance to the main venue.
But intervening in the gadbad isn’t easy, they argued. The guards are required to step in, but ensure that no one has the opportunity to object to their intervention.
Rajnish recalled how late on the evening of the first day of the fashion week, between two shows, he stumbled across a designer smoking in a corner of the exhibition area — even though smoking is strictly barred inside the venue. The security guard forced out an artificial cough and walked on. The cough, Rajnish said, worked, as the designer quickly stubbed out his cigarette.
Outside the venue, I chatted up two constables who were discussing the celebrations at Jantar Mantar earlier in the day when Anna Hazare broke his fast. “We’re lucky people, us cops,” one of them said. “We get a free, ringside view of every show in town, corruption or fashion.”
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