Monday, January 20

Behind the Jimmy Choose, Chanel and more- the life of ordinary Azerbaijanis

Some time ago, when President Aliyev came to Turkey on an official visit, the local newspapers put aside the official language of the meetings and preferred instead to focus on the first lady. The headlines were all about the impeccable taste for fashion of Mehriban Aliyeva. So seeing this piece few days ago, wasn't surprising. After all, they are the daughters of a fashionista. But at what cost? A pair of Jimmy Choose for instance can cost anything from 848 to 125EUR according to the company's official website. Chanel bags, often adorning first lady's shoulder (in all colors and sizes) are between 15,000USD and 2,600USD according to this website. Of course the list of brands and products can go on and on and so can their prices. They are the President's wife and daughters but can a pair of Jimmy Choose really cover up the behind the fashion scenes of average Azerbaijanis?

Baku has become an expensive city to live in. It has also changed. New restaurants, cafes, boutique shops pop up here and there. But they are not cheap. I think it was my mother's birthday. We had a wonderful time but when I paid the check and we were about to leave, something that she said touched me. Being a doctor of some 40+ years, dedicated to her job, she said to me that she would have never afford coming here given the check was around half of her monthly salary. And there I was, surprised and yet frustrated that I, with some 5+ years of experience, could afford a life style not just my mom, but many of our older generation folks cannot afford (and this is just a simple dinner, at a decent restaurant). 

Then came the time when I had to take care of my mom when she had a stroke. One of the shots she had to be given, cost quarter of her salary. She needed these shots every day.

So here we are, with my mom being just one example while there millions of moms like mine struggling, surviving, depending on their children (if their children can actually take care of their parents) and our fashion and brand conscious first lady and her daughter, who apparently like to wear lots of mascara and wear their hair down. 

Surely, its not just about fashion and brands. When a big chunk of the country is looking for jobs, or trying to get by on daily basis, isn't it a bit obnoxious to pretend that lots of mascara is all you need? Or when majority of our over-50 elders, struggle with their monthly pensions to simply have a life?

Perhaps the family needs to look beyond the shoulders of their advisers and pretentious officials? I am sure instead of a pair of Jimmy Choose an average Azerbaijani would prefer a good supper on a table, and a worry free life about tomorrows.

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