Flight of fancy Luxury

10 to celebrate

At the four-day Ashtanga workshop led by Eddie Stern

At the four-day Ashtanga workshop led by Eddie Stern  

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From Insta-entertainment to luxury experiences, there’s a lot to be thankful for this decade

“Where did this year go?” yelled Ms Legally Blonde when I embraced her at a pulsating end-of-the-year party in Mumbai. She was right, the year had flown by, but more importantly, so had the decade. As I sipped my Moët and surveyed a room full of glamorous people gyrating to the latest dance tracks, I marvelled at how good everyone looked. Thank you dermatologists, facialists and private trainers! When we look back at this decade, we will celebrate the strides humanity took in wellness and beauty. A decade ago, I didn’t know kale from quinoa, and I bet most urban Indians didn’t either. But now, we whip up these wonders in the kitchen or order in from healthy caterers.

In 2010, the Blackberry was ubiquitous, sustainability and climate change were a fringe movement, and sneakers were something we wore to the gym. Athleisure wasn’t cool fashion — I remember how my Brooklyn-based cultural fiend of a friend, Jilian Gersten turned to me one day as we were walking in New York and said, “When did pants go out of style, why are women wearing work out tights all the time?” Today, no one bats an eyelid wearing leggings and crop tops to go about their daily lives.

I had a new baby in 2010, and remember desperately looking for some good workouts in Mumbai to shed the post pregnancy fat. Pilates studios, reformers, boot camps, and other hard-core exercise classes were not yet a thing, so one made do with a good, old fashioned gym, usually stocked with equipment that was already obsolete in the West.

Zara arrived in India in 2010, and H&M five years later — today one can’t imagine desi high street shopping without these two global juggernauts. Online retail was just emerging. Going to shop at stores physically was still what most of us did. Calling a car via a phone-based app was not something any of us would have imagined. Neither was the idea of insta-food delivery nor insta-entertainment via streaming services.

In the last decade, the very idea of luxury has evolved. From being a concept that required purchasing expensive things — handbags to jewellery to yachts — today we talk of experiential things. A gorilla trek through Rwanda, a two-day interaction with Nobel prize-winning scientists — the sort of hard-to-purchase thing that enriches the mind, not the closet. The globalisation of retail means that anyone with a decent credit card limit has access to the latest logo handbag or shoes. With 2,604 billionaires and 14 million high net worth individuals in the world, you can see how owning these goods doesn’t quite cut it anymore. It is no wonder that what’s counted as trendy are torn jeans and distressed street wear. Oh, the irony!

As for me, I ended 2019 with the most transformative yoga practice, a four-day Ashtanga workshop led by Eddie Stern. New York-based Eddie was already a legend when I moved to the Big Apple in the early 2000s, and looking for a place to practice this very prescribed, but beneficial yoga. Now, with a new book on the science of yoga and an even wider following (Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow), he is a rockstar in the Ashtanga community. My friend Protima Rodrigues organised for him to teach and lecture in Mumbai this past month. It was a wonderful close to a year and decade that sped by faster than a spin dryer. In that spirit, I wish all of you a magical, peaceful, healthy 2020, devoid of prejudice and anger. Om Shanti.

This fortnightly column tracks the indulgent pursuits of the one-percenters.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 12:14:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/luxury/10-to-celebrate/article30412027.ece

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