Opinion and Editorial

Masks don’t qualify as good gifts. Do they?

purva@khaleejtimes.com Filed on October 28, 2020

(Dariia Chernenko / Alamy Stock Photo)

One needs to tread carefully on this fashion meet health trend — how are these masks made, do they meet the safety guidelines, etc.

Last week, I met with a friend, after six months, who came bearing gifts. She’s a thoughtful gift-giver, so I was expecting something carefully picked up or DIYed. From her brown paper bag came out two cloth masks, adorned with patterns I love, in dainty colours I adore. I thought they were beautiful, but I couldn’t tell her that. The token left me a little disturbed, and even as I wore the mask, a few days later, I kept worrying and wondering. The thought that we’re living in times, where we’re expressing our care, warmth, and love towards another via gifting masks, equipped with pockets to add filters, left me a tad broody.

When I brought this up with my sister, who is the pragmatic one between the two of us, she said, “By that count, even selecting frames for spectacles should make us uncomfortable. We’ve got to live with it, it’s time to accept it.” I argued, but could a global health crisis be a fashion statement? “If the aim is to make as many people wear masks, as they socialise, why not tempt them with the pretty ones,” she counter-argued. I began to bend a little in the favour of the designer, fancy, pretty masks. A couple of days ago, I had received a press release announcing the Autumn-Winter collection of masks by a fashion house. Bespoke and bejewelled masks have made it both to the neighbourhood streets and ramps, alike. The number of start-ups that have sprung up selling masks is the need of the hour. So, no wonder the masks have emerged as a gift item too, with some suggesting the trend is a reflection of our community spirit; individuals are crafting these from cloth scraps at home for the sake of the safety of their loved ones. I’d like to throw in a word of caution here. One needs to tread carefully on this fashion meet health trend — how are these masks made, do they meet the safety guidelines, are they reusable, etc.

Yes, living in a pandemic, with masks as one of the few tools to fight the virus, we need the accessory. As for how does one speak of a medical accessory as a gift item or a fashion statement —the topic is still a little unsettling for me. But yes, safety, creativity, and beauty have my vote, in that order. The bottom line, wear a mask, and if a fashion purchase can get some to buy and wear one, then bring it on. — purva@khaleejtimes.com


Purva Grover

Purva Grover is a journalist, poetess, playwright, and stage director. She made her debut as an author, with The Trees Told Me So, a collection of short stories. She is the editor of Young Times, a magazine that empowers the youth in the UAE. She conducts fortnightly writing workshops, author interaction events, open mic sessions, etc. for the writing fraternity in UAE. Her stage productions have been recognised for their boldness, honesty, and unique voice. She is backed with a post-graduate degree in mass communication and literature. Born & brought up in colourful-chaotic India, she writes in English and currently resides in Dubai, UAE. You can stalk her on Instagram @purvagr and say hello to her at purvagrover.com

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