We should ALL invest and buy more Indian clothes

Shefali Saxena Wednesday 01st December 2021 02:45 EST

Pushpak Sen aka ‘thebongmunda’ on Instagram is a fashion enthusiast by day but a storyteller all-day every day. While Sen does say in his bio that he’s ‘Not here to influence. Okay? Okay.’, speaking exclusively to Asian Voice, Pushpak said, “I love finding stories and narrating them whenever and wherever possible. Currently, I am pursuing my second master’s degree in fashion Communication and Marketing from one of the best fashion colleges in the world – Polimoda, in the birthplace of Renaissance – Florence, Italy.” 


He previously graduated from the University of Calcutta with a masters in English Literature from the University of Calcutta and a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism from The Statesman Print Journalism School. Before that, Pushpak did his bachelors from Asutosh College in Kolkata and my schooling at The Calcutta Boys’ School.

Here are a few excerpts from his Q&A with us, where he talks about his flair for Indian traditional wear, his social media aesthetic and more: 



Q - What led you to share some spectacular, aesthetically gorgeous, and in your own way revolutionising Indian ethnic wear on Instagram?


I love India. I love Indians. I love anything Indian. We have some of the best stories to tell through every single thing associated with us. I have always wondered if we can adapt to western wear that easily, then why can we not show the west to adapt or at least get influenced by our culture and heritage? When I came to Italy, I saw there were a lot of South Asians but not a single person was wearing the Sari. I felt bad. I always knew that I am not going to try and become a European because I cannot. I have come here as an Indian and I will represent my country with pride. The results – you see them all over my Instagram.


Q - While you do state that you're not here to influence, your work and posts bring forth a fresh taste and approach towards globalising clothes, accessories, and makeup beyond gender stereotypes. What is your sentiment?


I do nothing for social media. There are enough content creators. I have nothing new to create. I just post a small glimpse of my life on social media. That’s all. The fact that people resonate with it is very very overwhelming to me and I am grateful beyond words. I am just trying to make it clear that everyone has a right to exist just the way they want.


Q - I admire the way you choose your hues, fabrics, wear a blazer with a saree, junk jewellery while promoting Bengali heritage. You look gorgeous in salwar kameez and dupatta, and a bindi, winged eyeliner and lipstick and of course sarees. What did it take for you to embrace this talent with confidence and responsibility on the internet? 


When you grow up as a queer child and go to an all-boys’ school before the advent of social media, you pretty much grow up with all the worst sentiments. There is not a single bad name that I haven’t been called, not a single bad thing I haven’t been told, not a single bad abuse that has been hurled my way. Why? Because I do not conform to the rules stated by the hetero-normative society.  


So I decided that what I have been facing since forever, should not be faced by any other child anywhere. Back then I had no one to show who could represent themselves so well and stand as a strong queer icon. I am just trying to set the path and leave my footprints for my future generation to look at and feel that nothing is ‘wrong’ with THEM. And that they could be any way they want however they want to be.


Q - What are your thoughts on post-pandemic fashion - especially Indian wear?


As you can see, I am always IN them – be it going to class or shopping for groceries – I am always in a saree (well, mostly). Let me tell you a secret. The sari works wonderfully well in hiding the tummy that I have magnificently grown due to my bad eating habits during Lockdown. On a more serious note, we should ALL invest and buy more Indian clothes because it is the only way to save our artists and craftsmen. Some of the invaluable artistry has already gone extinct. Let’s try and save the rest.


Q - I absolutely love your Instagram handle - @thebongmunda. What's the story behind selecting this name?


I was a child back when I joined Instagram – I thought it would be very cool to have a name like that. It was whimsical. And now, I just don’t know how to change my username back to just my own name. I am technologically challenged that way. Haha.

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