Go ahead, BLOW UP your paycheck

THOSE WITH expensive tastes and expense accounts can make this Deepavali another excuse to shop. Some trendy jewellery to go with that brand new silk sari. There are those who buy the jewellery first and then shop for clothes to match them.

The PYTs are going in for light stuff and designer items made in limited editions, according to those in the trade. Matching sets of earrings/studs and pendants, in 18 k gold and dotted with diamonds, come for as low as Rs. 10,000. The sky is, of course, the limit for those want more expensive and elaborate items.

A new trend, jewellers say, is the `ethnic look' pieces that look as heavy as what grandma wore but are decidedly lighter. Chunky stuff, but light enough not to weigh down your earlobes.

The staff at Navrathan on Mahatma Gandhi Road didn't see any big rush right before the festival because many presumably made their purchases during Navarathri. Moreover, Vijayadashami is considered auspicious for buying jewellery. Gold prices have been fluctuating wildly in the recent weeks and in the run-up to Deepavali, it was around Rs. 521 per gram.

At Sri Krishna on Commercial Street, there were enough eager buyers. Some of the sought-after items included those displayed earlier at the Jewels of India expo in September. Diamonds are very much in now, and there are smaller ones that don't cost the earth.

The trendy are opting for platinum and gold with a white finish.

Though one can make a statement with jewellery, there's also the more literal thing. The young believe in e-mailing their festival greetings but there are some of us still around who send real cards, patronising the postal services. ITC, which has inter alia diversified into greeting cards, has come out with 395 new designs in its Expressions range. The cards are also printed in Hindi, Gujarati, and Marathi. For those who love to emulate Tulsi Virani or Parvathi Bhabhi, and sport the traditional Indian look, Chikpet is a veritable Aladdin's Cave. It's "Open Sesame" in the alleys and bylanes of this part of town that raises clutter into an art form.

Kavita Reddy, who uses her network of friends and relatives to supply them with just the kind of fashion statement they want to make — and even knows where she can strike a dream bargain and make a neat profit in the bargain — sources her fabric and saris here.

"If you know where to go, the designer wear that costs a king's ransom in Commercial Street or M.G.Road can be yours at a fraction of the cost," she says. For Anita, Nivedita, and friends, Deepavali is the time to acquire a whole new wardrobe for the entire family, with accessories thrown in. Ms. Anita would like a change from the staid but comfy cottons she has always sworn by, and be more adventurous with fabric and styles. "Georgettes, crepe, and chiffons, that's what I am in the mood for," she says, and has been haunting the fascinating lanes of Chikpet looking for them.

"In a day, Chikpet is where many worlds converge, and Deepavali is a time when they celebrate this convergence, with a charm that is its own," says Ms. Anita, for whom a day here means finding the fabric, a worksman to do the embroidery, a tailor to put together the dress, or just find the wardrobe of Romola Sikhand, or Shaina, or Prerna at dingy little shop at unbelievable prices.


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