Sunday, August 09, 2009

The power of pink

The power of pink


In the backwaters of Alappuzha in Kerala, Ashim and Jojo look deep into each other’s eyes as they luxuriate in a tub of milk sprinkled with rose petals and honey dew.

The cost of the spa package: Rs 22,000. The cost of love: Priceless!
Yes, that’s what a lot of such couples are doing, spending their ‘Pink’ money like never before, especially in labels, brands and destination packages, exclusively tailored for them.

Pink money, a few decades ago, mostly meant the political donations a homosexual person made. But today’s gay individuals are being spoilt for choice by entrepreneurs, who are trying to tap ‘pink’ power. The logic: they’ve higher disposable incomes, can be marginally considered as DINK (double income, no kids) couples, and are akin to single women with cash to burn!

From ‘I Dig Chick Cups’ to strategic positioning of records of gay icons like Elton John and Madonna, from gay bars to homosexual wedding packages, ‘Pink’ power is a thriving industry in the West. “Pink Rupee is knocking at our doors and the judgment will go a long way in bringing more middle-class homosexuals out of the closet,” says Manish Sharma of Boyzone Delhi, an event management firm, which organises parties for gay couples.

In the pristine beaches of Varkala lies Kerala Konnections, a homestay run by a Spanish lady who stays there with her lesbian partner. Gavin, who spent a week there with his lover Rashid, says, “We kissed while cruising down the backwaters and soaked in the massages on the sandy beaches, all without a single stray glance or taunt.”

In Delhi, at a swish Pan-Asian fine diner at DLF Mall, a gay night last month had many couples shell out thousands just to let their hair down in the privacy of their ilk. A staff at Polka, a nightclub in the capital, says the earnings from a “mask party” are much more than special nights for heterosexual couples.

Sanjay Malhotra of Mumbai-based Indija Pink, a travel portal dedicated to the gay community, is busy with arrangements for India’s ‘first exclusive gay group tour’. On offer is “prime luxury at a beach-front villa” in Goa. He sells about five travel packages a month to the community.

In the US, the market is estimated to be worth $660 billion in spending on ‘gay’ beverages, luxury goods, entertainment, travel, financial services, even bras for boys! In India, Absolut Vodka launched bottles in gay pride colours for a party in Delhi.

A website, which conducts gay tours, lists India as a popular destination. Beer giant Tuborg has gay connotations in its ads, so does Dolce & Gabana.
Says gay rights activist Ashok Row Kavi, “India is taking tentative steps. One notices a line of T-shirts, queer-friendly hotels.”

Curiously, the fashion community, with a fair number of homosexual designers, is still biding its time. A top gay designer confides, however, “We’re thinking of ‘dedicated’ labels.”

And why not? After all, it’s about 26 million Indians we’re talking about here!




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