Here I sit (pose), in this beautifully stitched grey-on-grey raw silk lehenga, wondering how to pen down these raw thoughts running through my mind. It isn’t just today. They’ve been running through my mind for months, years. In fact, they’ve been on your mind too. As South Asian women, how many times have we found ourselves needing to explain our modernistic views on rituals, religion, career choices, clothing, beauty, marital preferences, and well, life in general; while also needing to prove that we are still “good, well raised and cultured people”.
This is our grey area. This is our reality. Many of us have come to embrace this grey area that majority of the South Asian women live in. Then there are some of us who have chosen to fight. They’ve chosen to fight to have the same curfews and rules at home as their brother, to marry when they are ready, to keep the last name they grew up with, to keep the little princess growing inside of them, to divorce when needed, to refusing traditions and opinions that support and grow patriarchal mindsets, to quitting their 9-5 and pursuing their true passion. We need women like these now, more than ever. Twinkle Khanna always puts it best in her blogs. These are the souls that inspire me the most and I hope I keep finding these gems along the way.
Earlier this year, I found one such lady named Anu Batra. She approached me to collaborate and support her newly found fashion brand. Sounded great, like most other collaborations. But then she put a voice to her email. We had one of the most soulful conversations. I learned her story. Not only did she want to create a fashion forward brand for Ethnic and Fusion Indian Bridal and Party Wear, but she also wanted to share an empowering message. Anu held the position of Vice President at Charles Schwab, an investment services firm for 15 years. When she got married, she had vowed to her husband that she would give up her role when first child was born and would not return to work until her little one turns 14. That was that for Anu, but it never deterred her from living a fearless life. Be Anu Designs was born with one thought in Batra’s mind, “I want my daughter to know that anything is possible at any age. If you believe in your dream, then bring it to life.”
When we were coming up with a concept for the outfit she would design for me, I knew it needed to be something with an edge. This woman had broken the mold and deserved her story to be told! So many South Asian women are fighting this grey area and spreading the empowerment we all need. Some women are doing it in loud ways, and some are doing it in subtler ways. While there are many ways in which I’m fighting this battle, for this particular grey area, I decided to add fishnets and pointed leather boots for ultimate rebellious and empowerment vibes. What are you adding to your fight with the grey area?
Ps. This was my first Indian outfit post on the blog, let me know if you want to see more! 🙂