Desi is the new chi chi
In a culture which embraces the new with both reluctance and alacrity, India maintains its bewildering and fascinating position as one of the most paradoxical places on the planet. Michael Wood described it, in his landmark series 'India' for BBC a few years ago as 'the only surviving classical culture on Earth'. While I'm not sure if that's truly the case (I would argue that Ethiopia comfortably wears that title), it certainly maintains an uninterrupted link with its earliest history at almost every level of life. But India's hunger for the new, and its sheer inventiveness, makes its increasingly affluent urban population a huge and hungry market for the shock, delight and banality of all that the West has to offer. Saket's 'Select City Walk', a huge tentacled shopping mall close to Delhi's CBD is the go-to place for fresh bocconcini, GAP and Starbucks and there are less saris visible here than in a similar setting in Milton Keynes. Fashions and trends have speeded up to match the attention span of social media-obsessed youth, and with no time to waste for the shock of the new to pall and a nostalgia for the past to evolve into a time-honoured fashion impulse, the 'rustic' has become, as quickly as it was replaced, the new 'must have'. Sanctioned by fashion gurus and marketing whizz kids, 'desi' - or that which relates to the countryside, the rural, the rustic and authentic, is the new 'chi chi'. "A 'desi girl' is a very nice compliment", says Oberoi PR Executive Mona. Watch out Bollywood glamour girls !