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Hermes India inspired fashion

Luxury brands are setting up shop in India, Vogue is launching an Indian edition of its magazine, and the fashion week in India was remarkable for its absence of traditional Indian clothes. Even though many wondered if the sari was dead as a preferred outfit, it is interesting that Jean-Paul Gaultier has now created a whole collection for Hermes inspired by the maharajahs (kings) of India. Not bad for one of the poorest countries in the world.

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The sari is not dead

While looking at the photos of India fashion week, I got the impression that the sari, like the kimono in Japan, was on its way out. It turns out that is not the case. While Indian women, like any other country in the world that has a good grasp of English language, have adopted western fashion, they haven't really abandoned their traditional clothes. I guess we will just get to see more exotic clothes during our next trip to India.

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Pollution of Yamuna River

One of the things we noticed when we went to India in spring is that it is a very dirty country. Garbage is everywhere. We don't know if we should fault the Indian people or the absence of a system for garbage collection and disposal, but it seems that you can't be anywhere without garbage at your feet. No wonder the moment you step out of the plane, it seems the whole country smells bad.

In New Delhi, when we crossed the Yamuna (Jamuna) river, it was not a pretty sight. The river, like its sister Ganges (Ganga), looks like a dump. Apparently the country wants to clean up its image (and its rivers) before the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Based on our observations about India's infrastructure failing to keep up with the needs of its huge population, we aren't very optimistic.

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Treatment of widows in India

Despite all the hype about India turning into an economic and military superpower, the Indian society still does a terrible job treating women, particularly widows. The same Indian men that are hired by multi national companies and work on breakthrough technologies that impact lives of people worldwide, act like pets in front of their parents - not only their parents pick the woman that they are going to marry, they also make unreasonable dowry demands. It is also no secret in the Indian society that countless women are tortured in the country for failing to bring sufficient dowry (not just at the time of wedding but for any weddings, funerals, and festivals in the future) - in some cases, these women are simply murdered by the husband and/or his family.

The story of widows is even worse. Within moments of the last breath of her husband, these women are treated worse than animals, and forced to work like slaves the rest of their lives tending to others in the family. They cannot be invited to weddings or any festive occasions, many women would not let their children near them (for the fear of a curse), can only wear simple white clothes, and can never do anything that will make them happy - forget about remarrying.

I came across this commercial, which is quite funny, but exposes the ugly side of India.

Widows in India

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