I think this is a long overdue from me. A write up on the magical six yards that wraps not only me but a gamut of emotions too. Saree was an attire I admired and adored beyond any explanation. It was the ultimate symbol of feminism for me. An attire that took the wardrobe many notches higher than before and the only drape that made a woman look drop dead gorgeous. Needless to say that this craze translated into me doing the 100 Saree Pact.
As a child I remember being obsessed over this attire with saree aficionados spread all over the house. Starting with my mother who adored and wore only sarees from age 13, my aunt who is a saree enthusiast, my another paternal aunt who adores sarees and indulges in them like anything, my grannie who owned endless sarees like a treasure and then to top it all I married in a household who owned a saree selling business for ages.
In a way I attracted the saree and the saree attracted me. I guess this can be used as an example to prove the “Law of Attraction”, can’t it?
When I inherited the huge collection of sarees from Aai, I was overwhelmed. Although the amount was minuscule in comparison to the whole lot since I had to give away loads of them which I knew I wouldn’t be able to wear. One of the sarees I particularly liked was lying in the closet for a long time until I finally wore it. That also marked the beginning of my #100SareePact.
I had been reading about this amazing pact where women all over the world were posting saree pictures and stories attached to them and literally drenching themselves with the memories that each saree uncovered. I was fascinated and thought to myself that I had all the means to do this pact and pull it off. After all, where am I going to wear and flaunt the never ending collection of sarees I had with me. It had two motives for me; first to uncover and flaunt my huge and beautiful saree collection and second to write a story each time I wear one and share with the world. This was enough of excitement and push for me to start. Two things that excited me the most since they are beautiful forms of expression.
One after another I started adorning the sarees and posted them on facebook. Friends, family, colleagues and people from far and near who weren’t even on facebook wanted to see my posts and pictures and read my stories. I was definitely enjoying the attention and that kept me going. Doing a 100 sarees in a year with a full time job, kids and house to take care of was crazy!! I remember doing frantic photo shoots at home during late night hours with my husband just so that I don’t miss out on my target. Of course thanks to my office friends and colleagues who went out of their way to make this a success and click some amazing pictures for me to post.
The pact was a perseverance of sorts and hence a success. My efforts were so evident that my team in office presented me a certificate for the successful completion of the pact. Ha!
Saree is definitely a magical attire. It intrigues me more than anything else because it’s just a piece of cloth 6 yards long without being stitched or tailored at all but carries an elegance that not even the most exquisitely tailored dress may have. Ever since childhood we see so many women around us in Indian households who gorge on a healthy diet of exquisite and gorgeous sarees. At least until my generation we have seen saree clad mothers doing household chores and swiftly managing multiple tasks easily in this drape. Playing with the saree pallu is a favorite task of a child clinging to the mother. It brings me memories of extreme elegance where I used to fondly watch all the ladies in the house drape there best ones for every big and small function. It changes the entire persona of a woman and accentuates her body so beautifully that she falls in love with her own self. That’s the magic I was talking about.
When I came to know about the saree business at home I was elated for sure. I knew I am going to own a huge collection. Religiously I started to practice how a wear a saree, how to drive a two wheeler while I wear one and how to just be comfortable in it just like my older generation was. That was the level of craze I had. It was like finally I am in a stage where I could wear a saree just like that, not wait for an occasion, function or special reason.
On one hand, it gave immense pleasure to the previous generation women who adored me for adorning saree. It was a sign of being well bred for them. Although I was just being me. On the other hand, my peers were and still get bothered by the choice. They are almost in an awe that Why? Why am I wearing something that is seemingly uncomfortable and difficult? Even they love the look but of course to be at home with a saree takes a different attitude and love for it I feel.
Be it whatever, a saree has the capacity to change my mood at any given time. However low and bad I might be feeling the moment I drape a saree it lifts my mood. I share that feeling with so many of saree enthusiasts and family members.
It’s absolutely amazing to see that saree is making such a comeback after the 100 Saree Pact went viral. As Anju Kadam put it in her Ted Talk that how can something so modern and contemporary be old. Thanks to her who encouraged thousands of women to drape these beauties and not worry about anything like a matching blouse, occasion or reason. Just take them out of the closet and wear. That’s what pushed me to take the plunge and what a pact was it! Absolutely enjoyed each time I wore a one and wrote a story surrounding it.
Long live the saree! For I don’t think we are going to get a replacement to this drape for many generations to come.