Women world over struggle to wear the lipstick and not let the mascara run. The recognition of women being multitasking human beings is known in every society. Yet the power rules continue against us. Yes, we are lauded for our ability to change nappy and change the rule books too. Yet, we strive hard to constantly construct our narrative in the positive. We are two people together fused in one body of evolving femininity. One that fulfills the unspoken, coveted dreams and the other that struggles to express the unspoken aspirations. Malavika Singh’s collection of curated saris are of the women who inspire and teach us life lessons that nothing is impossible, if you dare to dream.

Prasad Bidapa, a name synonymous in the glamour world and also considered a fashion guru in India, has trained innumerable stars who dreamt of making it big in the celluloid world. Many of them trained under him and what is most endearing about Prasad is he remains soft spoken, always accessible to all, willing to hear you out and hold your hand while you struggle to find your footing. I found this Kanjeevaram silk sari of Malavika Singh in his curated collection in Ducan. It truly was a tough choice among the array of the other saris. Each more exquisite than the other.

This sari had a sheen of two colours that would compliment most Indian skin tones. The silk was soft to touch and as I draped it, I thought of the inspiration behind this heritage design collection and why Malavika Singh would call this collection, “The Saris Of Memory”. The sari I choose was part of the Indira Gandhi collection.

Indira Gandhi was an iconic lady in world politics. This sari brings back my memories of that dark day in Delhi, when she was assassinated and the entire country was in shock. I can’t help but reminisce those burning days of humanity being shred of its consciousness. As a school girl, I saw the city burning with rage and hatred. Innocent lives were maimed, butchered and the country was in mourning its leader.

We all felt that vacuum and didn’t know what would follow. But resilient India, has a way of re-emerging from every disaster and every calamity. And as usual it did and today after 35 years, the embers of that rage still lie half burning among the people of India.

Indira Gandhi was impeccable in her style of dressing up. She embodied the grace of a woman in power and in touch with her people. She broke all barriers and ceilings that women face world over in trying to create her space in Indian politics.

Today as I drape this sari over my body, I am contemplating on the perennial question of faith and trust. Her most trusted bodyguards had shot her down on the morning of 31st October 1984. Where was the sense of duty at that moment when she walked unarmed trusting the very people who were there to protect her? Of course, destiny had different plans for Indira that morning.

Today as I reminisce those days of turmoil, when every Sikh was viewed with suspicion. Yet the political party that she represents again had a Sikh Prime Minister after years. This is the India that makes me proud every moment I feel beaten and lost. 

I salute a lady who gave me the promise and hope of an equal gender in India and a woman who loved her grandchildren, wore her beautiful Indian weaves with equal panache. This lady was the epitome of resilience and grit. She turned the pages of fairy tales for her grandchildren as she turned each page of the constitution with the same grace and valour.

Malavika Singh’s tribute in her collection is a reflection of her admiration for heritage, respect and a great love for Indian textiles and weaves. Textile expert Pavitra Muddaya also known across India, weaves her delectable saris at the relevant clusters, and under her supervision, the master weavers recreate magic on those yards of fabric draping a woman in her beauty. Her Vimor Handloom foundation is organising a celebration of 45 years of its handloom journey in Bangalore on 8th till the 12th of November with a fashion show curated by Prasad Bidapa.

My salute to all the craft crusaders who have taken it upon themselves the future of the arts and crafts of India that lie in our consciousness, in a slumber that needs a voice and a narrative of belonging.

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