My ode to the saree

Tugging at my dupattas at one of those weekend get-togethers, I heard a voice behind me go “I never see you in sarees”. Half teasing, half serious the girl asked me why?

In trying to respond to her my mind went back a few decades. It must have been in ninth grade or tenth, I forget now, I remember having Amma help me wrap a red saree around me. Her blouse fit me perfectly. As I struggled getting the pallu to cover my womanly curves without being a walking peep show, I remember how transformed I felt. In minutes I had gone from a double plaited school girl to a budding woman child.

Walking into school, I felt conscious. Very conscious. I studied in a co-ed school. I even remember students saying “Good Morning Miss” mistaking me for one of the teachers. Blessed with a child’s mind in a woman’s body, I remember feeling awkward and trying to grapple with my sexuality. Wearing the saree was the first time I realized I had curves and the saree made them stand out. I had an uncomfortable feeling people were commenting behind me. I remember a couple of school seniors turning back to look at me. Funny what the mind remembers.

Over the years I went on to wear the saree more often than I could have ever thought of. Studying in semi urban Coimbatore, special days at college were marked by a show of sarees. My friends and I giggled and complimented each other on our prowess at how well the pleats fell or how gracefully we carried ourselves or how few safety pins held our saree together. The saree defined us as women. I associated words like grace and beauty with the saree then.

Looking back, ignorance is bliss. I cared not about the love handles. Or the rather well fed midriff. Or the tires around the middle. Fast forward to middle life. I wear the saree now on rare occasions. I take care to choose materials that would fall and flow with the lines on my body. I feel uncomfortable at best.

Nothing has changed much between then and now but for the associations I have formed with the five meters of material. What once epitomized for my sexuality and beauty now represents my negative self image. I want to change that.

I did shop for and buy a few this time in India. I have them in my closet. Reserved to be worn on special days. Days when I could use a lift to my spirits. Or celebrate something new in my life. Till then salwars rule.

9 comments

  1. You should wear them more often Laksh – you look beautiful in them πŸ™‚
    Personally, I don’t think there is anything more graceful and beautiful than a woman in a sari πŸ™‚
    Hopefully, I will be able to carry off that grace one day πŸ™‚ – but for now, punjabi suits will be my way!

  2. I still cannot wear saree and walk comfortably, although I do think they make me look taller and thinner. I have gotten away with not having to wear them on a regular basis.

  3. I love the feeling of being in a saree, but I still need help wearing it. I dread the occasions to wear them, mainly because the tying-saree process feels like a chore. Wish it was easier!

  4. Ahhh A saree, one of my passions, my dissertation was on this very topic, in my opinion they bring out our inner beauty and confidence as a woman. When I lived in India for my placement year I used to wear them on a regular basis to work and felt great at all the attention I got form it. Just this last week I wore the saree for Navratri and I was telling my husband how great I felt & that I wish to wear it more regularly. Even he as well as a few other male friends mentioned that I looked good (thin as well). I think you should wear them more often then I am sure you will change your mind, everyone looks good in a saree & when you wear it often you get quicker at wearing it too so it is not too bad at all. Although sometimes salwar suits are more convenient but for occasions it is saree for sure.

  5. I have always had a love-hate relationship with Saree. In college, we had to wear it for all special occassions and that made me hate it. Also the fact at that time I was called ‘OttaraKucchi’ in a sari. When I joined Wipro, I liked to wear it because it was upto me to decide when I can wear etc..and I used to get compliments. But now, it has become a chore. First after kids, trying to fit into a blouse you fitted like 10-12 years back is torture. Added to that is the fact that by the time I go through all this, either one of the kid will use their messy hand and show genuine appreciation for the saree. That is when I realize “Enna Kodumaida Sami!!!”

    So for now it is ‘Hate’. Maybe I will fall in love with the Saree again in future πŸ™‚

  6. Well, you know how I used to feel about it 10 years back – abhorred it and wouldn’t touch with a 10 ft pole πŸ™‚ I won’t say I have made an about-turn and love it, but I can say that I do wear it occasionally (which is once a year during golu, mostly) and quite like it. May be because I think I look better in a saree now than 10 years back or may be maturing taste – I wonder…

  7. I love love sarees.I think it brings out the beauty in women when worn properly.I hate the way celebrities treat it by wearing them improperly and showing their boobs.Such people should be banned from wearing it.The more often wear it the easier it becomes to move around.I can do plenty of chores wearing saree like loading dish washer,cleaning and carrying my kid etc.

  8. @Bavani: Well! I have not seen you in a saree to comment but by your own comment, am sure you will look graceful in them. πŸ™‚ Thank you for the compliment though.
    @SK: Same here. One of the things that terrified me about marriage a decade back was that I would have to wear sarees everyday!
    @anamika: Tying a saree has never been an issue for me. Stop by when you need help. πŸ™‚
    @Paro: I agree. Just can’t seem to get past my weight issues.
    @Kiran: I guess I need to find the right style and the attitude to carry it off without feeling like a mami.
    @Manchus: I hope so for you! πŸ™‚ But totally relate to what you say.
    @Akay: I do! You look fab now. Saree or salwar.
    @Anila: LOL on that and agree wholeheartedly!

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