Addicted to luxury

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by Kalpana Sharma
Working professionals are discovering that money can buy them luxury, power and an entry to the elite club.

Chhavi Sharma walks into a plush city mall, dashes to the Jimmy Choo showroom and picks up flashy red stilettos worth Rs. 40,000. She takes out her credit card as if she was shopping in a supermarket. The owner of a Chanel bag, Gucci shoes and Armani coat, she says, “I need them.” She reveals, “It’s the feel of luxury, which makes me feel pampered and different from the crowd.” She works with a media channel and stays alone in New Delhi.

Chhavi is among a growing breed of “people like us” who splurge on luxury items. Samridhi Katyal, freelance art director confesses, “A sparkling diamond on your finger shouts out loud that you are “somebody.” Sipping expensive wines and cognac says you belong among the elite. That’s the fun of buying luxury. It gives you an edge.”

It also gives you exclusivity. Businessman Gaurav Gupta bought a super-luxury Yamaha R1 bike worth Rs. 12 lakh a year ago. “It’s the thrill for speed that only such luxury bikes can provide. It’s an elitist thing.” Pankaj Bhatti hired professional help to revamp his interiors in the suburbs of Mumbai. He says, “The way we live is an extension of our personality.”

There is also a surge of luxury travelers abroad. Creative director Bheesham Sethi takes off to exotic holiday destinations with his wife Pallavi Sethi every six months. “We plan to revisit Switzerland. We will stay at a plush villa that I booked online.”

And those who thought only celebrities or big business honchos invested in tourist properties think again. While working professionals invest in real estate in the metros, Delhi-based media person Shantanu Chatterjee decided to do so in an apartment in Goa, close to the Bogmalo beach, South Goa. He says, “I can just pack my bags and escape to the relaxed surroundings.”

Luxury is power. Agrees renowned architect Mohit Gujral who’s joined hands with DLF to create properties in Goa, “Investing in tourist spots is an elite thing to do, for those aspiring towards luxury.”

People are not just splurging on themselves. Confesses Ameeta Seth, daughter of cigar king Chetan Seth, “I spend a lot on luxury travels and we eat out at the best restaurants. Besides this, my parents keep gifting me pretty jewelry.”

Kartik Anand’s dad, who’s a coal businessman, gifted him a Rs. 3.5 lakh worth Vertu mobile. Siddhartha Paruthi gifted his dad a bottle of limited edition Royal Salute priced at Rs. 45,000 from Dubai for his 50th birthday. The bottle proudly adorns their home bar. “My dad has a thing for expensive liquor and I wanted to gift him something special. His smile was worth the money spent!”

Adds Pankaj Dubey, national business head-India, Yamaha Motor Pvt. Ltd., “Customers are style-conscious; money isn’t an issue any longer.” Delhi-based iron dealer Vikrant Mahajan recently decided to get membership for Arjun Rampal’s elite pub in South Delhi, LAP. “It helps me rub shoulders with the who’s who.” If you have it, flaunt it! And if you don’t, buy it!

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