Browsing Category

Clothing

Clothing, Lifestyle

A Rare Linen Love Song

August 21, 2019
Linen Jacket

I had to keep my cool in the scorching summer month of sun and no rain. Everywhere I stared, I saw splinters of reflection on all things important and unimportant. The sun was playing its usual hide and seek game of protest. The clouds covered it and it tore through the clouds to shine brighter. The meeting was fixed in the midst of the siesta hour. The lone dog searching for a space under the shade of the bus stop. Always alert, always aware of its place under the scorching sun.

He said meet me before the sun sets and I can see your face against the bright light. The freckles around the eyes as you squint into the sun. I want to watch and smile and see the older you.

I was meeting my old crush after 15 years in the café and I was trying hard to look like the girl I was. The son asked, “hey why are you smiling?” I said I was meeting someone over coffee. I need to look young and pretty. As usual my precocious son raised his eyebrow and said, “You could try but I doubt it should work. Try plastic surgery!”

So, I decided to wear the linen jacket from Raresim over my blue cotton dress from Ravage. I mixed the two together. The beige over the midnight blue bias dress was making it feel perfect. The jacket had smocking at the back with white and it was minimalist in style and comfortable over my dress. I didn’t want him to know I had made an effort. It should look casual yet chic.

 

Linen Jacket

Linen Jacket

 

 

I felt the hair on my shoulder fall not as thickly as before, but it was alright. I wore the dress and wore the beige linen jacket. It was looking sophisticated without being too obvious, that some bit of planning had gone into it. And all along also quietly hoping I would get the corner seat in the coffee shop that has low lighting and the freckles would be missed.

I put on my linen jacket over my Kota bias dress from Raj Shroff of Ravage. He was closer than most I can count on my fingers in Bangalore. A friendship that has seen the test of time, changes in each of us and finally the ability to laugh together at all the crazy times we shared. He gave me this dress and said “Mo, the neckline is deep, why don’t you ever listen to me?”
I smiled at him and with a wink told him to make it deeper next time. We both laughed. We were friends in crime and tears and loads of laughter since long.

I reached the café to be greeted by my old crush and he had grey on his head but the boy eyes were still there. He said, “You look gorgeous, Botox?” I laughed hard and said, “No it’s the fish. Rui, try it!”

We spoke at length about our children, spouses and memories. I recalled those days when I was sure he was my true love. But over time realised, after writing his name with mine, on the last page of my math book. Yes, we were lame in 1980s. He told me, he liked my best friend and thought of me like a younger sister. I had cried hard that day.

We laughed hard remembering those summer months of Delhi and the fear of the future. What mattered most was passing exams and your crush loving you back. The simple joys of teenage years.

As I stood up to leave and said bye. I noticed that he looked on, till I walked away. As I got into my car, I got a text message that said “You look pretty, you dress up really well” I smiled at that text and wrote back “I know!”

Clothing

Under The Tree Sits The Kasturi

August 8, 2019
Gond Art

The world of Indian tribal art is filled with stories galore of many social scientists trying ways and means to make society aware of the numerous indigenous dying art forms. Tribals are leaving their natural habitat to find lucrative offers in cities for newer forms of employment. Sadly, along with the development, families give up the traditional art forms that are intrinsic to their daily lives. And we lose a slice of culture of India. What remains of this shift are tribals garnering tremendous amounts of bravery to continue in spite of the odds.

Over my writing work since the last few months I have come across many artists in exhibitions who lament the death of their art. I have felt utterly sad and helpless watching them sell their art for free and feeling lesser as people in cities, where the well-heeled artists are given more chances.

I met Avipsha via a common friend from Delhi – Chinna Dua. Avipsha was travelling to Bangalore from Delhi and Chinna in her own inimitable style connected us both. Avipsha and I decided to meet at a café and share our common story of charting a new career, leaving a lucrative salary for creative satisfaction. She told me about the saris she creates with weavers across India and produces designs that are unique in its sensibility.

Avipsha and me had a lot in common. Our middle-class Bengali upbringing and the movement to larger cities maneuvering hill innocence with city smartness, many wont know, but it is a feat. You learn new methods to the madness of the rushing bus and the crazy anatomy of a large city that is so willing to swallow you in its belly. The city is unthinking of how you would come out of that staggering cesspool of lies and deception and the unleashed hunger of money, power, games and everything that is measured with the visible success of you and your possessions.

No wonder then, the tribal artists from hinterland India, where the clock is the crowing of the cock in the mornings and the village lights coming on in the evenings, where all falls deathly silent is quite a struggle for the tribal artists. In larger cities if they wish to showcase their art, they have to deal with a middleman who will help them reach a buyer who in turn may sell it to another buyer. At the end of this exchange the tribal artist gets extremely little for all the natural pigments they have made meticulously with so much grit and with a whole lot of love, the art doesn’t get its due for the art they create. But they accept this as a natural process to progress.

Both Avipsha & I spoke at length about these little things that make us cry and bleed. I insisted on seeing her collection on her phone photos. I fell in love with a black silk sari with Gond art on its palla and the border.

She told me it was a special sari. The couple were together in trying to recreate and continue this form of Gond art on fabrics. My sari had the deer resting below a Mahua tree. I fell in love with the picturesque quality of the painting done on my sari. It was all black like a moonless night with a huge Gond art of nature as the Tribal artist saw from their window on a night of love and longing.

Gond artists are from Madhya Pradesh and they create paintings on fabrics with nature being the main theme of expression of their art.

I wore the black sari on a moonless night where I heard the howling of the creatures that were chained forever in their hearts and souls. Just like the deer whose limpid eyes is snug in the presence of a loved one while sitting and watching the sky above, I know I will meet my soul on a moonless evening where the awareness of knowing that detachment is the greatest form of evolution, my mind will become one with the deer on my sari. Knowing danger lurks in the unknown but what a shame it would be to not sit still by the river bed on a dark night and let life take its course and face danger in its face while something changes within you as you face your fear obliviously with the luminous moon shining brightly on your face and heart.

Avipsha’s creation will remain one of my favourites among the many in my cupboard of saris.

Clothing, Lifestyle

Sexy In Sequins

July 11, 2019
Sequins

It was a hot summer noon in Delhi and we decided to meet over coffee. As I walked into the crowded snaky lane of Shahpur Jat, I recalled the little unknown spot in Delhi with a handful of shops. The growth of this place from the 90’s to today is the greatest sign of the changing fabric of the city. To me it was a realisation that the hours doesn’t stop for anyone ever. Time has a strange way of telling us that this is not your resting spot; it keeps moving just as you think you have settled into a constant and life shakes you out of your comfort zone.

As I walked into the familiarity of the old café with kettles hanging and beautiful home décor, I ordered my favourite black coffee and as I waited, I noticed each gentle well mannered staff in the store were from the north east of India. I immediately struck a conversation and I could sense that feeling of camaraderie and the simplicity found in hill folk. I am often happily mistaken for an Assamese or a Nepali. And I love playing along with my broken knowledge of both the languages.

As I settled into the familiarity of the city of my birth and was about to take my first sip of coffee, I looked up to see Sonam Dubal walking into the store. He looked the eclectic designer that he is. A fine cotton black kurta, glasses and a big bag and as he apologised for being few minutes late, he complimented me with an endearing honesty. I could see the frank appreciation in his eyes. I felt at ease and as we ordered for our cake, he spoke in Nepali to the staff and I joined in showing him my language skills. We settled into a known sense of not belonging to our current spaces yet not knowing how to return to the old. He told me he was from Sikkim. I told him I was from Shillong. We both took mouthful of cake bites and coffee. We spoke about our undying love for the East – the often neglected and not showcased craft of India’s extreme corner, often referred to as North East with little knowledge of each state and its art.

We finished our cake and walked up into his store. The store had tasteful designs and embroidery on western jackets and Ikkat shift dresses and a major influence of the Islamic design structure. I loved the Mughal inspired designs. And I gravitated towards a black Angarakha.

Sequins

Sequins

 

I tried on the Anghrakha and it was tad bit loose and Sonam promised to get it fixed to my size. Which was done and delivered to my hotel room that evening.

This Angarakha is a cotton muslin with black sequins border. As you wrap the garment you can tighten the sides with metal buttons resembling a Chinese traditional jacket button, again adding to the Indo-Asian silhouette of this design collection.

Sonam Dubal’s brand – Sanskar – is  the for the uber stylish woman who cradles both the traditional and the contemporary with equal panache. As I walk out in this garment with my black kohl eyes and a nude lipstick, I feel uber sexy in the way it wraps around my body. Just how love is or should be. Just gently wrapped in the warmth of your own skin yet against each other.

Clothing, Lifestyle

Dotty About The Dot Design

July 4, 2019
Polka Dress

It’s the summer noon and the mood is frisky. I look out into the bright sun. The summer wardrobe special is always the whites, pastels and the one polka dot dress. It takes me back to time. I feel light in my being and miss the caress of the warm wind against my shoulder blade. Polka dots are the easiest to wear. It needs no styling. It stands out among the milieu of the hardened stripes, the paisleys or the wild flowers. Polka dots are flirtatious, just the way I like it.

Dots are representative of the many moods of a woman. The traditional bindi is a dot. In Bengali we call it the teep. Here it represents the intuitive chakra of your body. We press against it to hear the intuitive sound clearer and sharper against the din or cacophony. There is also the three dots tattoo which I was born with on my forehead. It symbolizes the common prison tattoo that says “Mi vida loca” or “My crazy life”. It’s commonly done around the eyes or the hands. In my case I grew up with three moles in a trilogy of sorts on my forehead right in between my brows. As I grew older, the dots got darker and deeper. I knew the gods above had decided it would be my crazy life with its myriad shades of grey.

Polka dots were inspired by the Bohemia dance called the polka. It was in fashion as house dresses and garden dresses in the early 1920s. This captured the youth driven fashion look. I find myself still gravitate towards this unconventional arrangement on fabric, where each dot is accurately shaped and placed against each other in an array of a wild dance pattern.

 

Polka dress

Polka dress

Polka dotted dresses are also part of the Bohemian fashion style. Commonly referred to as Boho Chic. The early years of the 21st century saw the reflection of this unconventional style norm. Fashionable girls wore ruffly floral skirts with short tops and boots. And among them was the polka dotted dresses with cowboy hats, or flowers on the head like a tiara. It shouted out loud, the need to be unconventional, free in spirit and sexual freedom. This was not just a print, it was a lifestyle. The non-bourgeois gypsy girl was an expression of being themselves, feeling sexy in their artistic pursuits. It also meant not giving two hoots about fashion diktats.

Bohemian women were the grand synthesis of the feminine Wonder Woman. She didn’t need the metal bra or the corset. She roamed free, smelling the flowers in the forest, as she wore her femininity on her entire demeanour with an unhindered attitude.

And my polka dress is a reiteration of just that. I wish for every woman to not be pressured to fit into the mould of right and wrong, prescribed by a patriarchal mindset. As I wear the dress and feel the soft fabric over my skin, I know I will travel where my heart can hear the song of the butterflies and catch the blush of the morning dawn.

If I find myself on a placid cool lake with flowers growing on each side of its bank, I shall chase the ripples on the water and dip into its coolness with my polka dot dress soaking in the cool wetness of freedom.

Art & Culture, Clothing

The New Snob In The Block Called Khadi

June 20, 2019
Khadi bustier

When a bright brick red bustier hangs from the mighty colossal hangers of vanity, you are confused what to feed the ever growing, demanding devil. Amidst all that predicament, shouts out a soft voice inside you. It gravitates towards the memories of the past. In those racks I found the soft silks, the flowing georgette, the linen, the cotton and in all that is the rough exterior but soft to touch, the lost story of Khadi. It is hanging on to its last remnants of survival with hope of a new beginning.

The bustier by Mishe is an ode to the age old fabric of India. A fabric that has seen the blood of the martyrs of India. We had forgotten Khadi in this quest of wanting more. We sold our loyalty quite easily to the arrival of mixed unnatural fabrics. And now is emerging the revival of Khadi in the haute couture of India. Leading designers are creating designs with the long lost unsung protagonist called Khadi.

This bustier fabric of Khadi was woven in Barmer, Rajasthan, in the dusty little town – where its arid landscape and cattle fair makes it known among the tourists. Barmer was known as Mallani in the 12th century. Over time, places have changed their geographical demeanour and the onset of modernisation destroyed moderation. The cattle fair is still a tourist crowd puller. In Barmer lies a small fort on top of the city, also known as Barmer Garh. This has been witness to the changing hands of history of this region.

 

Khadi bustier by Mishe

Khadi bustier by Mishe

 

Mishe, like many designers today, are inspiring artisans and craftsmanship to incorporate the legacy of Khadi into the contemporary fabric landscape. A fabric that was considered coarse and not chic, is the choice of fabric and runways in many fashion shows today.

My relationship with Khadi dates back to my grandfather, who loved me dearly and I called him Dadu. As Ma rebelled against her in-laws in moving out of the ancestral family home. She was 22 and a young mother in Shillong. A town where she knew no one except the faith she had in her husband – my father. He settled her at home just in the initial phase and then he began his travelling job. She was lost in that large Bengali household. They were hostile to her. As she packed to leave with her little girl of few months, Dadu came from Delhi to help her settle with her little daughter.

Dadu lived with us till I was in class 2 and I still recall the winter and rain drenched streets of Shillong as he waited for me to finish school and he stood there, behind the tall walls of my school – Loreto Convent – in his Khadi Bandhgala coat. He endearingly called me Didimoni. His stories were about kingdoms and prince and princesses. As he got me ready, he used to dress me after school in a yellow embroidered Khadi coat. The winters were bitter and the money wasn’t sufficient. Khadi helped keep the cold away. Ma was ambitious and wouldn’t settle for anything less than a chaste Convent education for her only child. I didn’t understand how she navigated her loneliness, her financial situation and total lack of support from her extended family.

Today I bow my head to this historical fabric that has seen the changes of India. It is again on its way of resurgence with elegance and a snobbery of belonging to the thinking masses.

The Khadi boutiques and fashion shows have Khadi as the order of the day. I smile every time I see a Khadi clothing. I know somewhere in those folds lie my memory of Dadu, those winding lanes of wet and cold Shillong, the big umbrella covering the constant rain and he waiting for me in his Khadi jacket. It was frugal in comparison to the other fabrics of those years. Today it’s reaching a place in the wardrobes of the richer and I am smug at this yearning of youngsters to belong to the new India.

Clothing

A Contemporary Batik Art On My Traditional Saree

June 7, 2019
MoodyMo

As I draped the grey, charcoal saree over my body, I felt the mixed sensuous fabric of soft linen, cotton and the sheen of silk drape over me like a poem. This poem I have given it a name, calling it Mahua from Label Zohra. The sari was woven in Chhattisgarh, the land of the unhindered Mahua wildflower.

Bordering Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, there lies this untouched little place in India, lost in time and a history that doesn’t reach our textbooks. Only recently the limelight it got was because of the Naxal movement there.

I travelled extensively as a child with my parents. Both argumentative, creative, quintessential Bengalis with an unending thirst of discovering places, cultures and history, which was part of my growing up years. I clearly recall the trip to Chhattisgarh and into the village of Bastar.

The dusty road was narrow and little homes surround this insignificant place in India. But Baba was keen I go and watch the Mahua flowers in bloom. After all, I was named after this flower. I couldn’t fathom why the Adivasis there worshipped this flower and danced on its nectar. Today, I understand the Adivasis perfect harmony in life with nature and the deep love for it. Nostalgia with things associated with memory is a strange kind of a love affair. And after so many years, the memories that were tucked away into some corner of the mind were awakened out of its deep slumber. Suddenly, the mention of names and places evoke memories that were long lost and buried in time.

Ruma Of Label Zohra is another wanderer like me. She lives her dreams with her art in her fabrics. I had never laid eyes on a contemporary Batik sari and I have often lamented that art and craft need to evolve with the passage of time, retaining its intrinsic identity. But at the same time, art and craft also need to be adaptable to the changing moods of fashion; Label Zohra just nailed this.

MoodyMo

Ruma told me that she wanted to do something different with her creations. She did the Batik printing in Sanganer in Rajasthan which is famous for the Sanganeri prints. In all my yearly visits to Rajasthan, I never found a Batik in the craft of the mighty Saraswati river dyes and prints. And Ruma decided to introduce the art of Batik with Label Zohra, to create this eclectic mix of upcycled yarn, which doesn’t shrink and stays looking mint fresh, even if draped from dusk to dawn.

Batik has been part of Indian clothing and culture for the last 2000 years. It’s origin is in Java and was introduced in India by the traders from the South East. Bengal has had a huge influence of the Batik tye and dye which was also introduced as part of the syllabus in the University of Shanti Niketan, Calcutta. It’s resurgence began among the artists there and over the years many different types of fabric were being used to create more of this art.

I am hopeful with artists like Ruma and her Label Zohra, she is bridging the gap between the lost voices of the weavers and their craft. Some arts and crafts truly need a reintroduction in our lives. This collection is a tribute to the earthy, subtle tones of warp and weft in the sarees. It is ironic that when an art form dies we lament its loss. Yet, when it is here we overlook the struggle it requires to upkeep a tradition.

I will wear this saree and dress myself up, like as though I would be meeting my worst enemy and I need to say aloud, that the wilder I grow, the more you miss me, a tamed woman is a boring creature. I find my elegance over the years with Indian arts and crafts and I know money can never buy sophistication and style. Either you own it or you don’t.

This endeavour towards the crafts of India is being taken forward at the curated show called the Shringar Of Sindh at the Le Meridien, on 13th May from 10 AM to 8 PM.

The exclusively curated Lifestyle and Fashion Exhibition – Deepanjali 2019 – will showcase designer wear, diamond jewellery, accessories, footwear, home decor and more. This endeavour is the latest in a series of initiatives taken up by Sindhi Youth Association Ladies Wing over the years, to help the marginalised sections of our society. The funds collected this year will be used to create an endowment for cancer care. The interest accrued from this will be primarily used to help in the early detection and prevention of cancer. The Sindhi Youth Association Ladies Wing endeavours to make a difference to the lives of the recipients, in their own small way.
So buy a product of love towards a cause and help light up the lives of the needy and deserving.

Clothing, Lifestyle

The Entwined Twins Of Kota At The Weave Anthologies

May 2, 2019
Moody Mo

The May summer has the brightest sun pouring into every nook and corner of my room. The leaves look parched and the cry of the thirsty bird engulfs my being. As I run amok into the unending insane search of familiarity of childhood memories. The terracotta earthen sweet water and the constant movement of the fan above my head. I am woken with the pitch of sounds, smell and the heat of summer, yet again I am awash in its poignant soft evening rays. The setting sun just falls lightly on my lilac Kota saree from The Registry Of Sarees. I feel all woman in it’s soft drape over my body.

This saree is benign in the summer months. The lilac is softer than the flowers soft bloomed petals and the yet to bloom ones of my garden. I wonder what took me so long to reach The Registry Of Sarees. Here I was in wonderment and divinity of the weavers love story with its muse. Here the Venus is the soft check woven Kota with block prints in gold.

We have the Jugalbandi in Indian Classical music. Jasrangi is the classic form of Jugalbandi. The two singers in this confluence of voice and raga gives prominence to the Ma note of the female voice and Sa of the male voice.  Weave Anthologies did just that in the curated exhibition, bringing together the Mysore prints into the Kota weave of Rajasthan. The perfect Jugalbandi of weave and print.

Kota saree

Kota Weaves

The artisans on behalf of The Registry Of Sarees went into the clusters of the Rajasthan Kota Doria weavers and created their confluence of South Indian prints with the chequered weave of the light Kota saree.

The Kota is called the Masuria. They were originally woven in Mysore. A general in the 17th and 18th century in the Mughal army by the name of Rao Kishore Singh brought the weavers to Shada a small town in Kota. These sarees were called Kota Masuria.

At this eclectic curated event by the Weave Anthropologies, history is being repeated and replayed again. I was staring shamelessly at the collection of Jamdanis, Kanjiveerams, Kota and more. The dyes are natural, earth-conscious and the sheen of the fabric is pristine.

If you love your weaves and the feel of natural dyes over your skin, please head to the curated show at The Registry Of Sarees, Research And Study Centre, Domlur on the 4th Of May, 2019, 11.00 am to 7.00 pm.

I gifted myself the light Lilac Kota. Haven’t fallen in love in long, with the sheer gauze like the softness of this fabric over my body.

It reminds me of the heritage of Indian arts and crafts and crusaders like The Registry Of Sarees. It makes me believe, the lost, sad sound of the clanking of weavers creating magic on yards of pure fabric won’t perish too soon. It shall continue its song of love, hope and beauty.

I believe there are many who will still uphold this tradition forever, of wearing handloom woven fabrics. Because as you buy a Saree you are continuing the dream of a weaver, who many times feels bereft without the constant use of his hands on his weaving wheel. This is their livelihood to create art on fabric. And I am an eternal optimist.

Clothing

The Defiant Devi

April 29, 2019
Moody Mo

As I walk out into the burning scorching sun of the summer Calcutta home, I leave my trail of the sari palla falling and failing behind me. I failed as a woman you put on a pedestal, I failed for all the conditions and the confidence you had in my acceptance of your rules. Every time you flexed your muscle, I cowered because I knew my strength lied in my mind and not in my body. I knew you didn’t want to see the naked me. The naked truth of not being a Devi but a mere human being fraught with failings and follies.

I was tired and exhausted playing nurse for your incompetence when you fell ill and you couldn’t hold your health and spirit, I was angry for your tenderness towards me when I towed your line. Your approval of my morality when you spoke about the woman next door, who met men at her free will. Like she was some sort of a crazy person who needs counselling. I was dejected every time you pulled the hand brake when I tried to learn to drive because you thought my free reins would thwart your incessant need to be in control.

But you failed in navigating my path ahead because I had silently charted my own path. I am the Devi.

The Devi Blouse

The Devi Blouse

This summer noon was different. I felt the spirit of the noir goddess envelope me in her fierce nature. She was the epitome of all that is dark and divine. She isn’t the Devi who is demure. She is Kali the goddess of wrath. She marches on nude with her hair let down and her breasts are covered with the skull necklace of Asuras. She fought each one of them and as each Asura arose from each drop of blood she finally drank his blood to stop the birth of one more Asura. Devi is noir, merciless with evil, loves her meat and her drink. She isn’t the domesticated Lakhshmi. She is the noir Devi.

And you worship her every morning as the demure Devi but refuse to see her your own Devi in her naked truth after you open your eyes from your daily prayer. I hope you realise you are failing your own devout delusion. The Devi is the reincarnation of the years of turmoil she has endured in your bloody hands.

And there are Devis everywhere, under the fading sunlight and the receding moon. She is tired of you putting her up on a pedestal and stopping her from being the mere human spirit that she is.

The Devi on my blouse is Satyajit Rays’s classic film where Sharmila is worshipped as the reincarnation of the noir goddess because her father-in-law had a dream. That his daughter in law was a reincarnation of the Goddess Kali. To the utter horror of her husband who watched his wife being worshipped as a deity and eventually she starts believing that she is truly the Devi.

My Devi is in you and in me, she is in the trains, buses and roads where she fights against this conditioned mindset of how celestial she ought to be.

Devi is divine, demure and destruction. She is in you and in me. As we pack the tiffin boxes for our families with one eye on the clock and also wear our grey on our parting, she is everywhere and yet nowhere.

Clothing, Lifestyle

Rare In Rareism

April 26, 2019
Moody Mo

It was a WhatsApp message from my friend Akshika and a missed call. After long I was excited, smiling and curious. I was returning from London after meeting my son and one such evening as we ate the truffles and the liver pate’, we spoke about his childhood friends. We laughed hard recalling how silly and adorable they were. In our conversations what kept coming up was Manish Uncle and Akshika aunty. Manish uncle who taught him to get rid of his polyester pants that I couldn’t. So a thank you to Manish there. There was no way in hell I would miss talking to Akshika aunty as stored by my son on my phone.

I landed back in Bangalore and called her. Akshika told me that she has finally begun what she has always dreamt of. She loved the art of dressing and wanted to extend her passion towards a more meaningful journey. I was elated and extremely happy for her. We decided to meet and she said she would pick me up to take me to her studio.  She wanted me to wear her designs. I was humbled to say the least and moved to tears with her candid appreciation of me.

Her brand is called Rareism. Which reiterates that “you are rare”. I was stunned and gobsmacked watching her collection in her aesthetic space. There was clothing for one and all. Her designs are trendy for a curvy woman and for a young lissome girl too. The colour palette was international with cuts that were flattering and comfortable.

Akshikha Poddar

Akshika Poddar

I just stared at the racks of design and the beautiful young mother Akshika, with eyes that shone of hope and success, a friendship that spans over a decade of being mothers to growing boys and our own personal emotional growth too. Her designs were eclectic and extremely wearable. There was Akshika in each and every design. Her honesty and love shone through it all.

I choose this Pintuck tunic to wear over my denims and sometimes my skirt. It was a pristine white with a cowl neck, it fits like a dream. I preened in the mirror and she said “you love white, don’t you? Just like me.” We smiled together and in unison said oh yeah!

She told me fashion is for each one of us. She chooses her cuts and designs with her fabulous all women team, because she knows a woman and her moods and her insecurities and her dreams.

As I get ready to go for my meeting, I can feel the softness of the fabric and the pride of watching my friend’s brand on me. I did feel rare in Rareism.

Tucks are as new as the 19th century. Small tucks and especially this multiple parallel tuck called the pintuck is the ornamentation on this pristine white cotton fabric. Minimalist and Stylish.

As I tuck my hair behind my ear and wear my pintuck tunic.  I know that we as women, all dream a common dream. And only the winners and leaders take their dream forward with resilience and many unshed tears.

I knew Rareism is raring to go and I will sit and watch Akshika march on, raring towards her destination and dreams. And watching her journey and her brand evolve is a heartfelt emotion.

If this isn’t happiness, what is?

Clothing

Saris Folded With An Unheard Prayer

April 10, 2019
MoodyMo

As I entered the dark dank space of my grandmother’s room, I opened the creaking window meshed and unmeshed with cobwebs shining in the soft supple sun rays. Those cobwebs seemed to smile whenever the light fell on them. It was like such a fine art of weaving by the spiders. That light at times gave the cobwebs such character that they shone with an inherent, incredible resilience that only my curious mind could fathom and unfathom its faithfulness or unfaithfulness towards this gift called life. That unlit room had a dark wood wardrobe. In that space of unheard prayers and heard cries was Dida’s grief and grit. I saw the saris kept unused for years now. I was guilty of not giving it the sun. Just like the greedy cobwebs who had taken it all, with its selfishness to live in the grind with grit calling it life. They were not independent and they grew with the love of the nurturing spider that was trying to create a home in the dark space around that home.  

A sari wardrobe meant the world to her. Her unspoken love drama that had separation, unrequited emotions that were wobbling like the sinking boat. Her boat needed to be moored. Her movements were at times shaky and sometimes firm. I saw her dreamboat when she touched the saris. They shook & also became still. Her saris were her refuge. She had matching blouses with her couture collection. Her fashion sensibility was like an ode to her vintage era. Blouses had puffed sleeves and lace. And her saris were worn with elan for her evening soirée with my Dadu, my grandfather and her much older husband. Her couture collection was a mix of Patolas, Jamdani, Benarasi and Tangail, Kantha and there were colours that were tasteful and elegant. When I opened that sari ki almirahs and its heavy wooden door, I could feel her presence around me. I remembered how I saw her change her wardrobe over the years. She wore subtle and bright weaves with the passage of time. Her weaves were a reflection of her mood for the day.

And then overnight, when grandfather passed away. She was just propelled to wear what tradition demanded of her. A frugal, bare white sari with a small border of black, blue or green. It couldn’t even dare to touch a pink, red was a crime. It would mean she was defying the entire identity of wearing her grief on her body. Her hands were shorn of the red & white bangles and all she allowed was thin gold bangles and no earrings or a necklace. My rebellions mind was restless. I told her I missed her red bindi and her beautiful saris draped around her happy hips. She told me her bountiful body was decaying. This is the cycle of nature. Now it was my turn to wear those colours and catch the rainbow on my flight to youth and abundance. She said to strive to be Poornima, Annapurna and Mohua all weaved together in one person. Poornima was the full moonlight teasing your lover, Annapurna was the bountiful paddy fields and Mohua had to grow unhindered and be intoxicated with life. I understood only in my later years.

Her words of wisdom. Her saris won’t be forlorn anymore. I will clean the debris away from the dark dank room and allow light into that wardrobe of life. As I celebrate another day of sun and shade into that space I call freedom. I wear her saris as a reminder of her life, happy, lonely and strikingly beautiful in her appearance. Like the full moon on a dark sky. The light shining and separating me from my past into my present. I hold Dida’s sari against my bosom & I know that a sari is a passing of the guard from one generation to another.  My pink Benarasi sari is one of them from her collections. The silk has become softer but it still holds its place in a crowd of branded svelte ladies. I can feel her essence all around me.