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Kick the pleats of the sensuous Saree!!

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The kaleidoscope of my mind has past images of my mother, grandmother, aunts and cousins who wore their sarees with elan. Durga Puja was a treat to watch the array of different weaves from different parts of India. I realized I had worn my denims, my dresses and my utmost need to belong to the accepted western form of dressing because that made you be part of the shenanigans of hip young girls. But I felt the best in my saree. But didn’t dare to wear it to a bar or a restaurant. Today something has changed & I realize Indian women look the best in their sarees draped over their young lissome bodies or over the generous amount of weight you put on after motherhood. The sarees hides it all & accentuates your best curves.

I recall the balmy afternoons in Delhi when Ma used to dry her saree after the ritual of starching it with the water sieved after cooking the rice. It used to billow and blow with the summer dry winds. Evenings it was crisp ready to be given to the dhobi to iron with his heavy charcoal iron and depending on his mood he gave it to me on time or didn’t. I used to watch with fascination how he sprinkled water on it and all the crinkles and the harsh part of the saree would turn soft and into a wafer-like crispness. Ma always lamented the cost involved in ironing out the saree and promised loudly she would soon wear the Georgettes like the other women in our neighborhood. But this lament has been Lifelong.

She packs in her cotton Tangails in winters and brings out her silks in summers. Her silks are Murshidabad silks, Batik prints and at times an ubiquitous South silk. She didn’t like dark colors and was ridden with angst on the colors the other sarees had. She used naphthalene balls to save her saree from insects or losing color.

I didn’t know that while I studied and did my mundane I was watching her closely and had already embedded my choice of colors and aesthetics. Today on the wiser side of the 40s I choose my saree with immense love and affection. I have an array of Bengali silks, weaves and a natural affinity who embody these sensibilities of my past into my present.

I love myself with my pregnancy scar ridden tummy that I carefully hide under my saree and I keep telling Ma to teach me how to wear it like you always do, not a pleat out of place, never the pallah ever falling below her bosom or never a crinkle here or there. I learnt style from Ma & she reigns the catwalk of my heart.

Like the Goddess, she lights my life with that surreal image of the saree against her femininity that was questioned every time a bit of her breasts showed or the navel showed. Today I care less about the more….more opinions, more criticism, all I want is more sarees in my repertoire of fashion.

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