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Beauty products have been bought and sold since time immemorial. It all started out with herbs that save your skin and has now reached the next level of sophisticated cosmetics. This cosmetic industry provides plenty of jobs to women at large. Starting from sales women to beauticians, millions of hands work every day to make us beautiful. Amongst this are the large numbered petite women from the Seven Sister states of North Eastern India. And I am sure that almost all of you have come across these women as every other ‘beauty parlor or salon’ in your town or city has one of these women who groom you, from plain to pretty.
One of such a beauty salon is on the streets adjoining Safdarjung Kalibari in South Delhi. Known by the name ‘Mazami’, the salon is owned by a Mizo woman named Mazami herself. Like most of the parlors, Mazami has also employed three women – Loicy, Jenny, and Mary from the North Eastern States.
Loicy being the youngest, this 23-year-old comes from Mizoram like Mazami and Jenny. Mary, on the other hand, comes from Manipur. Having studied very little, they had to set out of their towns to earn for their family’s livelihood. Though these women get paid quite meagerly, they choose to live their lives amongst such adversities as they have very less number of options. They say that their state is quite fashionable and crowded with beauticians like them, which is why the pay is low there and they do have to move to other cities for better opportunities.
It is very true that these women have exquisite fashion sense which is why they fit so well into the profession. And if we trace the roots of such vogue, then one can find that these Seven Sister states were never ruled by the rulers who ruled mainland India and that makes their fashion and culture completely different from the rest. With the advent of Western influence into the global culture, they picked up the West gig quite widely among them which includes the influence of Pop culture.
Another reason is their matrilineal society. Most of the states in North East have high respect for women, and even have a reverse dowry culture for women. These empowered women are free willed and tend to experiment a lot with their fashion and that makes them classy.
You might also be thrilled to know that Manipur, one of the Seven Sisters states of North East India, has a 150-year-old bazaar where all 5000+ traders are women. You won’t find a single male shopkeeper in this market. It is the only such market in the world.
Their Mongoloid features make them fit best into the clothes exported from the Asian market. Yes, read this again, it is the ‘fitting’ which plays a major role in their dressing choice and sense. Unlike the general impression of being show offs or hostile towards Indian culture, they carry just what makes them feel comfortable.
The last and the major reason behind hiring these North Eastern beauticians is the fact that they are extremely hard working. Lives in hilly areas of their states and their Mongoloid DNA make them quite strong from within which fuels them in their work field.
The streets of Safdarjung are flocked with young boys and girls from North East who are either studying or working to earn their bread. The area is also filled with Mizo, Thai, Chinese and continental restaurants set up by these people. You need to ditch the idea of them having ‘Momos‘ day and night because ironically you can find a good number of them having the ‘Parathas’ and ‘Pani Puri’ like any other Delhite. It’s like the old saying, “Be a Roman in Rome”.
Delhi has a place for all. Though there are miscreants who tend to look down upon these noble and simple minded people, they are really hard workers and manage to fit into the crowd amongst all odds. I hope that after reading this piece, you will be free of all stereotypes.