The power of pink
INDRANI RAJKHOWA BANERJEE 9 August 2009, 12:00am IST
In the backwaters of Alappuzha in Kerala, Ashim and Jojo look deep into each otherâ€™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, thatâ€™s what a lot of such couples are doing, spending their â€˜Pinkâ€™ 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 todayâ€™s gay individuals are being spoilt for choice by entrepreneurs, who are trying to tap â€˜pinkâ€™ power. The logic: theyâ€™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 â€˜I Dig Chick Cupsâ€™ to strategic positioning of records of gay icons like Elton John and Madonna, from gay bars to homosexual wedding packages, â€˜Pinkâ€™ power is a thriving industry in the West. â€œPink Rupee is knocking at our doors and the judgment will go a long way in bringing more middle-class homosexuals out of the closet,â€ 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, â€œWe kissed while cruising down the backwaters and soaked in the massages on the sandy beaches, all without a single stray glance or taunt.â€
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 â€œmask partyâ€ 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 Indiaâ€™s â€˜first exclusive gay group tourâ€™. On offer is â€œprime luxury at a beach-front villaâ€ 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 â€˜gayâ€™ 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, â€œIndia is taking tentative steps. One notices a line of T-shirts, queer-friendly hotels.â€
Curiously, the fashion community, with a fair number of homosexual designers, is still biding its time. A top gay designer confides, however, â€œWeâ€™re thinking of â€˜dedicatedâ€™ labels.â€
And why not? After all, itâ€™s about 26 million Indians weâ€™re talking about here!
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