Design is by default

I wear Tag Heuer spectacles to office daily.

The beauty of the ridiculously expensive designer stuff is that nobody notices it unless you desperately call attention to it (like putting them in the first line of an article).

My conversations with colleagues, therefore, fall into this general pattern:

Colleague: You are feeling sleepy, even though it’s just 11 in the morning…
Me: (cutting him short) Was awake till very late last night. Was watching the cricket match wearing my Tag Heuer glasses…

Colleague: The deadline for submitting your piece is long over, the Editor is livid …
Me: Despite this Tag Heuer goggles, I am unable to think up anything interesting for the column.

Me: I am wearing Tag Heuer spectacles now, they cost a bomb…
Colleague: (Sidling up to me) But why are you telling that to the water cooler?


The point is, when you decide to buy designer things, two things happen

1)    You pay 200 or 300% more than their actual cost.

2)    For some strange reason, you will not think that to be stupid.  On the contrary, you’ll take pride in that.

Patently, designer goods are only for those with thick wallets and thin IQs.
Let’s discuss a few of them in detail


Watches as a style statement or a tool to establish one’s social superiority make as much sense as having a puncture shop exclusively for road-rollers. I can’t imagine a woman that I may run into at a party developing carnal desires for me aroused by the Rolex on my wrist.

In fact, it is a moot point whether the Rolex on the wrist would be visible to anyone else other than the wearer.  It is because of this technical difficulty of positioning that most Rolex-wearers tend to be shameless and insufferable showboats.

If I were running the Rolex company, I will not offer any guarantee on the watches. Nor will I even bother with design or styling. Instead, I will provide something that a Rolex watch-buyer actually needs: A handy board that he or she can carry around with the words:

‘This person is a bona fide Rolex-wearer. Please spontaneously notice it and appreciate his/her taste for fine life. Also, don’t forget to get jealous. It’s for this reason he/she paid a king’s ransom for the stupid piece. Thanks.”

Such a board saves much time and effort for all concerned.

And then there are watches that are deemed designer because there is no way you can know the time from them. I am particularly referring to the ones that have a naked dial with their innards totally showing.

They are not watches as much as skeletal remains of them. With all the nuts, screws, springs of the watch fully visible, ideally it should be a greasy specimen at the institute for watch mechanics. How such putative pieces ended up adorning human beings’ wrists is as befuddling as how Udit Narayan was ever chosen to warble Tamil film songs.


‘This is mild. The other person will hardly realise it. But it will linger on you all day,’ the sales person at a perfume boutique in Dubai told me when I was there many summers ago. Why the hell do you need a perfume if others are not going to get the whiff of it?

I had half a mind to tell the sales person that I come from a country where there are people who wear Attar, whose redeeming quality is that it can be smelt two kilometres away or the place, where the Attar-smeared person has visited, will be overpowered with its fragrance for the next two days.

In general, you wear Attar and willingly provide headache for others. In that sense, Attar is an SRK movie in a bottle.

But the classy French perfumes, which are so sought-after and pricey, are considered to be turn-ons for intimate moments of passion. Well, it’s if the intention is to impress a professional sniffer dog, as it is the only being that can possibly get wind of it.

There are a lot of people who are snooty about perfumes and how they like to smell. To all of them, I tell: no matter what, a normal nose cannot tell the difference between a Rs 200 perfume and a Rs 25,000 one. If it does, stop going to an ENT specialist. Consult a veterinarian.


Jimmy Choo is avowedly one of the top brands when you are talking of classy footwear. And that says a lot. For Jimmy Choo seems less a footwear name but more an urgent command to a dog to pee.

Another popular name is Gucci. In general, my feeling is that only those with funny names have the talent to design footwear.  So that makes it clear: Paravai Muniamma has a good future as an avant garde footwear brand.

Sorry for the generalisation, but when it comes to footwear, women are ready to splurge more than the men.

And to you all women, let me speak on behalf of all men: Don’t waste money on footwear. We hardly look at the feet. Our gaze never gets that low! Even if some of us may be wearing Tag Heuer glasses.