You know that feeling when a scene from a movie or a few lines from a song send you into a reverie of your own? Something about the scene reminds you of past experiences and feelings and all of a sudden you are transported on the wings of your thoughts…
Similar thing happened to me a few days ago while watching TV.A jewellery advertisement about a young professional who is asked to ‘lose’ the blingy jewellery because it might distract the clients. The girl is asked to conform to the ways of her seniors, but the real beauty of the ad is when she goes ahead and wears her bling, does not allow office dictats to decide her wardrobe and does not ‘lose’ her identity. Her tongue in cheek answer- don’t worry, my work is better looking than me, is what really got me thinking.
I remember a day in medical college when a very senior female doctor called me to her chamber and advised me against wearing ‘dangling earrings and lipstick.’ She said,”If you spend so much time looking after yourself, patients will think that you don’t care for them.”
A scewed logic there, but I was terrified. In my impressionable young mind I thought they would send me home and I had worked too hard to get into medical college to be turned away for a piece of jewellery.So I conformed.
This phenomenon of dressing down is intrinsically embedded in the Indian psych. Our politicians are seen in un-ironed saris and hawai chappal and are lauded for their ‘simple living and high thinking’ when in reality they are playing to the galleries. These Indian politicians know that there appearances matter more than their actions.
Michelle Obama on the other hand always dresses smartly and is iconic not just for her fashion sense but her political correctness as well. Closer home even our neighbours take pride in their appearance and I remember the dapper Hina Rabani and her Hermes bag.
That is not to say that mere appearances define a woman, it is the actions that speak louder than any jangle of jewellery or clicking of Jimmy-choo heels.
This takes me back to the lines of the ad that my work is better looking than me.
Over the years I have been in institutes which have clearly stated what they DON’T want their female doctors to wear- no sleeveless, no kurta above the knees, no denims, no ‘legging churidars’ , some even went so far to say, no black or red clothing.I never had the guts to stand up for my identity. I followed the tide while seething inside at the injustice of it.
But, that is all in the past. Now I am my own boss, and I wear my bling with pride. I picture of me shows me with silver jhumkas while operating. Someone once asked me ‘you are allowed to wear earrings?’
I replied,” Yes I wear jewellery, and it has never changed the outcome of my surgeries.”