June 3, 2017 by aliya
Haldi Doodh: The Indian Yellow
Fashion Culture Editorial: Street Style India
What’s that one thing everyone fondly associates with India? It is color. To an outsider, the colorful streets and cultures of India seem like a leaf out of a mythical folklore( blame the orient-occident narrative).
However, it is entirely true that we Indians give a lot of importance to colors in our country, with each color expressing a certain emotion, belief or mood.
In a country as culturally diverse as ours, it is perhaps color that binds the multitude of traditions, culture, and lifestyles. The symbolism of color holds power in the way we celebrate, grieve and even exist. However, given the myriad cultures that exist in our country, it is true as well, that some colors may be of utmost importance in one culture and hold no importance in another.
It is perhaps yellow or the color of turmeric which is celebrated and given the same stature in all cultures and facets of life in the Indian saga. Turmeric symbolizes sanctity and is present in the way we eat, celebrate marriages and offer prayers. Surely one cannot talk about yellow in our country without mentioning turmeric.
Turmeric is an important part of the Indian holistic medicine system, Ayurveda, and is known to magically cure ailments and diseases. An Indian film on marriage doesn’t exist without the vibrant presence of yellow. Yellow is vital in pop culture as well. It was also fairly recent when Turmeric Latte, or more aptly, Haldi Doodh, swept the world off its feet. Sadly, turmeric hasn’t managed to escape cultural appropriation either.
And to talk of Haldi, and not talk about Khari Baoli, Asia’s largest wholesale spice market, is another misnomer. Khari Baoli’s history dates back to the 17th century, with some shops in business for generations now. Its name speaks history, with Baoli meaning a step well and Khari or Khara meaning salty. The place housed a salty water step well used for bathing and for animals. But, that is history now, it is here that the market stands.
We shot the images in the A la Harry Potter-esque lanes of Khari Baoli for novelty. Even in the wee hours of the morning, when the spice market was barely open, it was a task not to sneeze every 10 seconds. Go to Khari Baoli wearing a face mask or a handkerchief, if you don’t want strangers to stare. It is the perfect place to buy spices, dry fruits, and experiences that speak India in its entirety.
Featured: Ishika D Monty, Blogs at: Ishikadmonty.wordpress.com
Yellow Kurta: Ridress, Available on Jabong and Koovs.