Often, as I sit at my dining table, writing furiously, the phone rings and I mentally curse the caller for interrupting. Five out of 10 such calls are from velvety-voiced salesmen offering me all sorts of amazing services and facilities. Home loans, soft loans, insurance policies, wealth management schemes, car loans. I get a special kick out of these calls. "Hey...do these people really think I have the means to afford all these goodies?" Women the world over are in a similar position—suspended between a sense of disbelief and one of smugness. "We've done it!" they crow, as more and more canny marketers court them, stalk them, seduce them with offers they find hard to refuse.
Women who earn their own bucks and pay their own bills are the new swashbucklers on the block. Their numbers are awesome, and increasing daily. As a consumer base, they are anything but soft targets, since they are aware, informed and tough when it comes to parting with a single rupee. They want value for money—full paisa vasool—and are willing to fight for the best rate in all sectors. After all, they've made it the hard way, and it has taken them centuries to get here. Armed with platinum/titanium cards in their LV wallets, you see them everywhere—in fancy restaurants, secluded spas, swishy airport lounges...they're buying everything in sight—from sprawling villas in Goa to customised chronometers to positions in blue-chip companies. That leaves old-fashioned Sugar Daddies where they belong—in the dog house, chewing on bones and memories of glory days when a trinket or two would get the girls drooling.