Pubdate: Mon, 05 Sep 2005
Source: Hindustan Times (India)
Copyright: 2005, Hindustan Times Ltd.
Author: Sidhi Chadha
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


The capital's bold and beautiful people may be guilty as charged. While 
insisting that a selective crackdown on lounge bars and glitterati is 
unfair, leading hair fashion expert Jawed Habib admits a majority of Page3 
regulars are addicted to drugs.

But that doesn't stop him from being bitter about the fact that after a 
recent bust at the Olive Bar and Kitchen in Mehrauli, a senior official of 
the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) told media that 'sare darzis (fashion 
designers) aur nai (hairstylists)' were involved in substance abuse.

"You have to understand that a majority of Page 3 people are drug users. I 
can assure you of that. Then why just attack fashion designers and 
hairstylists? It is in very bad taste and can have adverse effects," says 

The fact that Dev Chopra, the man arrested with 15 gm of cocaine on 
Thursday, was reportedly waiting to strike a deal with a Mumbai-based 
model, has again brought the fashion fraternity the kind of publicity it 
didn't need, especially so soon after designer-choreographer Prasad 
Bidappa's brush with the Dubai police and high-flying Provogue owner Salil 
Chaturvedi's imbroglio in Mumbai.

Nevertheless rampwalker Sharan Mishra still thinks it's wrong to single out 
and malign any one profession.

"All these things do happen at parties, but then drug abuse is a worldwide 
phenomenon. I have even seen beggars snort coke! You can't point fingers 
only at famous faces. Just because people from the fashion industry are 
always in the limelight, they become soft targets for whoever wants to have 
a go," she claims.

Emcee Ramneek Pantal shares Sharan's indignation. "As soon as a scandal 
rocks the city, there's a natural assumption that someone from the world of 
fashion and glitz is involved. If there are a few bad apples around, does 
that mean everyone is to blame? Delhi Police seems to be selectively 
targeting the fashion industry and that's certainly not acceptable," she says.

Despite murmurings of widespread drug abuse in the fashion world, 
Delhi-based designer Puja Nayyar thinks law enforcement agencies should be 
expending their time and energy elsewhere.

"Why have the cops suddenly developed so much zeal for lounges and 
celebrities? Have they ever thought about how unsafe Delhi has become for 
women? What are the they doing in this regard?" she fumes.

In fact Nayyar wants understanding rather than a blanket condemnation for 
people who lead high-profile lives under constant stress: "Those directly 
or indirectly connected to the fashion world, are trapped. When it comes to 
crimes like these, anyone can do it. Lifestyle too plays an important part. 
Since people in the fashion industry have late nights and are working till 
the wee hours, there's a certain misconception that they dabble in drugs 
and psychotropic substances. I don't deny that nothing of the sort goes on. 
Drug abuse does happen, but it depends from individual to individual. May 
be some feel the need to use drugs to alleviate emotional and personal 
problems. Who knows?"

Jattin Kochhar goes a step further. According to him, few in the fashion 
industry trouble themselves with details like who is addicted to what.

"Although I myself have no personal knowledge, it is possible that drug use 
could be happening in the fashion industry. There are several reasons for 
this. Creative people are often insecure, lack responsibility and are 
loners. Most designers are single and have no family. Perhaps this is what 
encourages them to look to drugs for solace. Moreover India isn't the only 
place where cocaine is bought and sold. But in our country, we are wont to 
sensationalise things. And finally, it doesn't really bother anyone in the 
fashion industry. It is the work we do that counts," says Kochhar.
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