In a one of its kind incident in the national capital, a woman alleged that she was stopped from entering a restaurant as her attire did not come under the codes of the food place. She was wearing a saree.
The incident took place in Delhi’s Aquila restaurant, a lesser-known joint located in August Kranti Marg. The female staff person at the entrance refused to allow the woman in question inside as she was wearing traditional Indian wear and not a smart casual dress.
The news surfaced after a short video of the un-dated incident got viral on social media. In the clip, the woman can be seen questioning the restaurant management about the absurd dress code. She demands to see the rule against a saree written in their policies.
The staff responds saying, “Ma’am, we only allow smart casual, saree doesn’t come under smart casual” before walking away from the place.
The incident ignited massive outrage from social media users who lashed out at the restaurant. Slamming the food joint, Twitter user Anita Choudhary tagged many ministers and wrote, “Saree is not allowed in Aquila restaurant as Indian Saree is now not a smart outfit. What is the concrete definition of a Smart outfit plz tell me. Please define smart outfit so I will stop wearing saree.”
Saree is not allowed in Aquila restaurant as Indian Saree is now not an smart outfit.What is the concrete definition of Smart outfit plz tell me @AmitShah @HardeepSPuri @CPDelhi @NCWIndia
Please define smart outfit so I will stop wearing saree @PMishra_Journo #lovesaree pic.twitter.com/c9nsXNJOAO
— anita choudhary (@anitachoudhary) September 20, 2021
People called the rule “bizarre” and “discriminatory” as they related the elite crowd with casual outfits. Another Twitter user Shefali Vaidya said that she was not denied entry in any foreign country despite wearing sarees. “And some Aquila Restaurant dictates a dress code in India and decides saree is not ‘smart enough’? Bizarre,” she tweeted.
Who decides sari is not ‘smart wear’? I have worn sarees at the best restaurants in the US, UAE as well in UK. No one stopped me. And some Aquila Restaurant dictates a dress code in India and decides saree is not ‘smart enough’? Bizarre. pic.twitter.com/8c6Sj1RNha
— Shefali Vaidya. 🇮🇳 (@ShefVaidya) September 22, 2021
Taking a different perception, a user said that as the restaurant is a private space, issuing dress codes is their right. Nevertheless, saree couldn’t be associated with an inappropriate outfit, atleast in our country. It is “disturbing, to say the least”, she said. Adding that this shows how we have “messed up the concept of what’s modern and cool”.
This incident was similar to the one from 2020 where a school principal in Gurugram was barred entry in a restaurant for wearing a saree. The restaurant Kylin and Ivy faced backlash for their actions. The staff there can be heard in Sangeeta K Nag, the Principal of Pathways Senior School, saying, “Ethic is something we don’t allow”.
Following the post’s viral turnout, the management of the mall where the joint was located apologized to Ms Nag.
As per reports, the restaurant has a strict “Smart casuals only, no shorts, no slippers” dress code for all customers.