Saturday, October 15, 2011
Here goes... from the bottom up.... the group shot of all the winners taken at the beautiful vineyard, right after the vine baptism ceremony. Just noticed... all the Nordic blondes are together in a clump... and 'women of colour' like moi, the gorgeous Brazilian girl Leila, and the Egyptian sisters are grouped together. Hmmmmm. Interesting coincidence. Don't miss the dishy Stephane in yet another dapper outfit!
Oh.... that's the standing Baccarat chandelier I had mentioned in the earlier post. Magnifique, non?
C'est moi signing the VC Laureates' Book.
That's the jovial direct descendent of Mme. Clicquot after presenting a personalised, signed botle of La Grande Dame in the chalky 24 kms long, underground cellars of the estate.
And finally, the gorgeous Royal couple of Bhutan - Jigme Wangchuk 5, and Jetsun Pema his then fiancee , and now, the newly minted Queen. I'd shot this charming portrait at Pawan Varma, our Indian ambassador's sprawling residence in Thimpu, on the day the King had announced his engagement to his childhood sweetheart. Move over, William and Kate!
This appeared in The Week...
Have women forgotten how to flirt…?
I read Julia Stephenson’s terrifically spirited ‘Spectator’ column recently in which she laments the death of flirting in Britain… and chuckled to myself. Forget Europe , where flirting is an art form and equally appreciated for being that, in India, the land of ‘naayikas’, and apsaras, we too are stupidly following the Brits and forgetting what it’s like to enjoy a mild flutter, create a delicious frisson, and for a few brief moments, lose oneself in that wonderful space that makes hearts go ‘dhak dhak’. Julia is hugely distressed by the coarse behaviour of ‘Ladettes’ – young ladies representing the ‘90’s , who mimic the worst Laddish (read: loutish) behaviour by boozing it up, rioting , brawling at pubs and vomiting in the streets. These women resent what they consider old fashioned male attention and often snarl at a gentleman opening doors for them or offering a seat in the tube. Julia feels it is this crude and rude response to traditional male etiquette that has driven British men to turn ridiculously timid! According to Julia, British men are too terrified to flirt!
Is that happening to ‘desi boyz’ as well? Are we turning our chivalrous, gallant guys into ninnies who refuse to make eye contact with a pretty girl for fear of being slapped? I was talking to a youngish woman recently, who admitted she has all but forgotten what it’s like to be desirable… attractive to the opposite sex. “Nobody looks at me!” she whined. And she isn’t alone! Like her, thousands of much younger girls crib they are feeling de-sexed and unappreciated. One of the main reasons is that men are scared of being accused of sexual harassment, particularly at the work place. Even harmless, appreciative compliments are not welcomed by female colleagues. These days, a man is asking for trouble if he says, “Lovely saree,” or “This colour really suits you.” Internationally, men have been sacked for lesser ‘crimes’. And women find it hard to recall when they last received a compliment from a chap. How sad is that? It happened to me (compliment!) very recently when I ran into someone from college. I was initially flustered, then confused, and finally abrupt! Poor fellow behaved like he’d just got a tight slap, as he hastily apologized and fled! I kicked myself later for my inexcusable conduct. But it was too late to do anything about it by then.
When I got home, I recalled a lovely encounter with a famous woman I’d spent time with in Delhi. I was there to interview her for a glossy and she invited me into her boudoir while she got ready for the shoot. I wondered why she was constantly dropping the pallu of her chiffon saree and then replacing it delicately over her left shoulder, all the while gazing at her image in a gigantic mirror. After the 30th time, I finally asked her if she needed a safety pin to hold it in place. She smiled, “Darling, I am practicing, it’s an old habit!” She went on to explain how she used the pallu trick to ‘flirt’. I found that amusing, if a bit tacky. But at least she bothered! Nobody does, any more. Not even young girls looking for romance. Most times, they hang around at parties chatting animatedly (even dancing) with one another. At the end of the evening, they crib, “As if we had a choice… did you see the men? Losers!” Poor men! Damned if they do, and damned if they don’t! So, I asked some of these accomplished ladies why they even bother to dress up, look terrific and hit the social circuit. Do they not want male attention? “ Of course,we do… but from the right guys.” Social interactions are so very complex these days! Where are these ‘right guys’ hiding? And what’s wrong with girls taking the initiative?
As Julia points out, flirting is not infidelity. Or even a prelude to an affair. “It’s more about joie de vivre than sex,” she states. I love the way she clarifies that Europeans view such flirting as ‘routine good manners’. So it is. Really!So, what about that little eye flutter, ladies? Nothing too obvious, mind you. Just a teeny weensy one to remind ourselves we are female and the old mating game isn’t entirely passé. But for us to pull this off, we also need men to be men… come on, guys, are you up to it?