What’s the connection between the Arab culture and a disposable razor?

Khanzar. So the other day, I was working in my office, trying to ponder over why disposable razors are not a craze in India (we prefer system razors with spare cartridges refills), while in arab countries, they sell like hot cakes.
And then, like any other post-lunch-yawn-filled office hour, my train of thoughts led me to think about the way people behave in UAE in general and Dubai in particular, and compare it with the rest of the world. And I reached a dilemma. But we’ll get back to it later.
For now, the only word that comes in my mind when I think of the Arab culture is…
“Conservative”. Yeah, I know you had already guessed it.
The people here are proud of their culture. And they should be. Hell, I am, for my country’s culture.
But there seems to be a sense of unusual continuation. And there are contradictions. For example, it makes sense to wear white robes with heads covered when walking under the hot sun in desert areas. But if you have left the hot deserts for air-conditioned malls and camels for the BMWs and the Ferraris, why not adapt the attire too?
That’s for us to wonder and them to know.
Moreover, how much sense does it make for the ladies to wear all black then. Even in the desert in the first place. I visited Dubai museum. Couldn’t help but marvel at the commendable hard-work they have put into building a city from almost scratch. Extremely persevering people the arabs are, I must say.
But then you also see the traditional statues. You just can not miss the extreme slave-like appearances of the traditional arab women folk. The picture below shows a display in the Dubai museum:
You can see a man and a woman in the picture above. No, wait, you can’t. I ain’t a burqa-critic, but I would like to understand the reason behind this immense protection. It leaves me with three ideas:
  • Either the arabs consider their women so precious that they don’t want to share them with the world.
  • Or the arabs consider their women as slaves. Since the beginning.
  • Or something else I can't fathom.
I would like to believe the third one. Whatever may be the reason, UAE is not a honeymoon destination, for sure. Not even for the Indian Muslims. The culture shock is just too much to handle.
The Arabs are very closed about their culture. They would have banned tourism had it not brought money into their economy. The laws are different, the expectations are different and the living is different. Even in the age when the entire world is becoming a global village, the arabia stands tall with a separate Burj Khalifa.
Whether the arab culture is better or worse, I am not qualified enough to comment on. But yes, they are a conservative bunch of people. You can see them, but all hell would break loose if you touch them. Like the displays in the museums say.
And that brings me to my sweet little confusion. If the Arab people are this conservative, why is the disposable razor such a rage here, even among the ladies? In India, we are more used to the razors with a static handle and keep changing cartridges, while here people throw away the entire thing after using.
Not conservatism. After all the disposable razor advocates the ‘Use and Throw’ mode of life. For both men and women.
Does it say something about the hidden aspirations of the sanctuary of a civilization or am I just being a cynic?
That’s for me to wonder and them to know.
Alok K.
P.S. I didn’t have any intention of maligning any culture while posting this article. 


Mohi said...

Good to see arab from your eyes! Had been waiting for this one for long. I'd like to see another article on your blog. :)

Pravy said...

Well mate,
Just thinking about woman of the Arabs feels risky enough as if ,as if I am walking on a sharp razor.

Experience more.
Blog more. =)

Anonymous said...

Arabs wearing white robes is not a contradiction, but an extension, of their culture. That's like saying the farmers is Punjab should wear t-shirt and jeans because they use tractors to till their land. And women wearing black makes sense given that they weren't supposed to be out of the houses. Anyway.

Saying "slave-like" appearances specifically for Arabs is redundant. It is true for almost any non-western culture of the time examined here. Even now, for a certain segment of the society in India, for that matter.

The two ideas behind women's protection is simply ridiculous. "...don't want to share them with (sic) the world." not only sounds bad, but also doesn't make much sense. Correlating that to an Indian context, there still are "conservative" families where the "bahu" of the house doesn't enter the drawing room or the dining area, and is expected to not show her face, hidden with a "pallu" at all times. It would have been nice if you had examined the conflict of conservatism - a la belly dancing and "dancers" in elite parties and clubs.

And who says Dubai is not a honeymoon destination? Its mere being a shoppers' paradise makes it one of the better choices. That shopping defeats the whole purpose of a honeymoon is a different story altogether.

If 'Use and Throw' is really the argument here, it would be interesting to know the trend for razor blades in US, then. It applies there more than anywhere else in the world.

PS: No offence intended. And although anonymous, I should think this is way better than the largely incestuous commenting that happens on this blog.

Admin, Team arbitSpeculations said...

Dear Mr./ Ms. anonymous,

Congratulations for breaking the 'incestuous' loop. Welcome to the orgy!

Jokes aside, I do see some good insights in your comment. (And some shallow ones, too! But we'll come to that later.)

Read again. Arabs wearing white robes while walking in air con malls and driving ferrari has a 'sense' of unusual continuation of culture, while women wearing black in hot deserts is a contradiction.The fact that Women trot a long way in deserts every day to carry water makes your assumption that they are supposed to sit in their homes, frivolous to say the least. Walking in the desert wearing black. Black absorbs heat the most. Remember?

Saying "slave-like" appearances specifically for Arabs is redundant itself is redundant. Did I complain? Oh, I just did. Never mind.

As for the "not sharing with the world" comment being ridiculous, well think about it. Isn't it exactly why that Indian woman you are talking about is supposed to hide her face from strangers in India?
Now does that make some sense?

And well, I invite you to come down to Dubai with your better half (or girl friend/ boy friend/ whatever). You are gonna love this place, if you believe that even spouses shouldn't hold each others' hands in public, leave alone spending romantic moments together. Honeymoon. Oh yes.

As for your insight regarding US, well, it is true. Disposable razors are quite a rage there too. I hope you don't find and issue with that.

And seriously? This was your excuse for being anonymous? Anyways, your acerbic comment regarding the blog is taken in constructive spirit.
Or not.

And thanks for reading and commenting, Mr./ Ms. Anonymous! I so wish I could know who you were, but nevermind.

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