x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Desi Girl: More dollars than sense? I would take that chance

A small part of me dies when I see people with so much money and such little taste. It makes me think of all the nicer things I can do with their cash.

They say that money can't buy good taste. Meet Datta Phuge, a 32-year-old moneylender from the Indian village of Pimpri-Chinchwad, and his 22-carat gold shirt.

That's right: a shirt made of 22-carat gold. It took a team of 15 goldsmiths working 16 hours a day for more than two weeks to weave gold into the thread that was used to make the shirt. Phuge thinks this shirt, which cost a whopping Dh83,000, will increase his popularity with the ladies.

Of course, one can never be too sure. A gold shirt might not be enough to charm the ladies, so Phuge also commissioned matching cuffs and a set of rings. The shirt also features six Swarovski crystal buttons and a solid gold belt. It weighs 3.2 kilograms. Phuge is not deterred by the weight because he already wears 10 gold chains (of which three weigh 700 grams each), six bracelets and 25 rings every day.

All this has earned him the title of Gold Man of Pimpri. "I know I am not the best-looking man in the world but surely no woman could fail to be dazzled by this shirt," said Phuge, admitting he would rather buy gold than spend money on cars or travel.

A small part of me dies when I see people with so much money and so little taste. It makes me think of all the much, much nicer things one can buy with Dh83,000. Like the 1971 Corvette Stingray recently listed on Dubizzle for Dh60,000. With the change, Dear Husband (DH) and I could jet off to gorgeous Sri Lanka for a two-week holiday. We would still be left with enough to go on a shopping spree, and if it's the kind of shopping spree I went on this weekend, then I could come home with more stuff than I would be able to fit in the trunk of that Stingray.

This weekend, DH was in the market for some new shoes, so we made our quarterly trip to Dubai Outlet Mall. It's the Dubai Shopping Festival, so there are sales all around town, but nothing quite matches a trip to this mall; it's the place to go to for the mother of all discounts. In fashionista terms, it's Dh8,000 worth of Jimmy Choos for Dh2,000. Thank goodness it's so far away. Otherwise I would be there every single week without fail.

DH picked up a pair of slick Adidas trainers at half-price. I picked up a black cross-body bag from Steve Madden, a Hervé Léger-esque body-con dress, a denim mini dress with studs and a few other little doodads - all for the grand total of Dh200.

Sometimes I wonder if it's the desi in me that gets such a thrill when I score a particularly good deal but then I think of people like Mr Phuge - who seem to have more dollars than sense - and realise that it has nothing to do with being desi. As Dorothy Parker once said: "If you want to see what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."

Given the chance, I could turn that stereotype on its head. Just saying.

Ujala Ali Khan is an honest-to-goodness desi girl living in Dubai