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The ramp was damp

The rain played spoilsport. So what? The lobby became the ramp


IT WOULD have been perfect. Kolkata-based designer Anamika Khanna showcasing her collection from Lakme India Fashion Week at I-Bar, the picturesque lounge bar at The Park hotel. A dead straight ramp would run down one side of the garden, flanked on one side by a narrow pool, on the other by comfortable gazebos. Instead, on the third anniversary celebrations of I-Bar Friday night, it rained. And rained and rained. There was every chance it would, considering the forecast: the sky will be generally cloudy with rain/thundershowers likely in the evening/night (The Hindu, July 9).

Organisers were forced to improvise. The lobby became the ramp, the sofas became stools to stand on and the chandeliers became arclights. So when, well past 11 p.m., there was a call for the lights to dim in the main lobby area, since the show was finally beginning, there was some confusion. How do you dim a lobby lamp? You can't. So an enterprising cashier draped the curtain across it and willed it to dim.

The passes issued for the occasion were no use, since pretty much anyone can watch a lobby show. And so saree-clad, baby-clenching, grandparent-supporting guests from the large private dinner party of Mr. G at another hotel hall spilled inquisitively into the lobby.

As the show was beginning, an elderly gent was found sitting bang in the centre of the space meant to be the ramp. He was gently advised to move out of the way, and soon the show began.

For a designer known for her vivid colours, the makeshift lighting obviously didn't do justice to Anamika's clothes, which appeared muted.

Close prints in Indo-Western outfits — bohemian with African influences — modelled by mostly local models, and of course Aryan Vaid who came on amidst much cheering and (considerable) subsequent disappointment.

But there were other show-stealers. Audiences who clambered on to the lobby seating (risking disapproval from front office staff — I was asked sternly if my shoes were clean) watched as a T-shirt clad guest "walked the ramp", i.e., the passageway leading from I-Bar to the lobby, talking calmly into his cell all the while, much to the audience's delight.

Claudia, "the stripper" was announced. A middle-aged foreigner wiggled her way into the enclosure created by the audience and, I must have blinked, because in 20 seconds she offered us a glimpse of her bra and, when I opened my eyes again, she was gone.

Anamika looked completely dejected and when MetroPlus asked if she wouldn't have been better off not having a show at all, she said sadly: "Everyone's leaving tomorrow." But it wouldn't be entirely true to say the entire evening was a washout — I actually had a better time than I do on most mind-numbing Friday nights.

HEMANGINI GUPTA

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