Elegance and vulgarity are only relative terms. Sounds paradoxical? Read on:
Look at the two pictures. Do you think the man on the left would be admitted into any hotel in Europe or the US? He wouldn’t be. He is not elegantly dressed. But in a south Indian temple, he could enter even the innermost sanctum with the same attire. In fact, he is not supposed to wear any other clothes or wear them in any other fashion; whereas the man on the right would be unceremoniously thrown out if he attempts to enter any temple in India because he is not “suitably” attired. In other words, he is not “elegantly” dressed in the view of the temple authorities. Paradoxically, an Indian judge was prevented from entering a cosmopolitan club in Chennai, the capital of South Indian culture. The reason? The judge was in south Indian clothes. In other words, he was not “elegantly” attired. When did it happen? A full half century after India obtained independence!
Let alone sartorial tastes. Once I went to attend the marriage of a rich man’s daughter. I was accompanied by a socialist friend of mine. The feast was a gourmet’s dream – delicious items of food elegantly prepared by a renowned chef. I was in a haste to find a vacant chair to sit on. In contrast, my socialist friend, with an inelegant face declared, “This is vulgar display of wealth”. Saying so, he made a rush to the only vacant chair in the dining hall.