It was a summer vacation and I must be 8 or 9 years old. We all cousins were together. Most of my summer vacations were spent in my village with relatives and cousins. We had a joint family of more than 30 members. One fine day during our vacation, we planned to play ‘The Ramayan’ in our own orchard and I was given a character of Maa Sita’s friend and devotee when she was kidnapped by Ravan. Biggest task was to match the attire as per the character. My aunt helped me and she beautifully folded the saree so that it could fit my child frame and did my hair too. I was now ready with beautiful ethnic saree to perform. It was the first time when I demonstrated myself publicly in Saree. It was an absolute pleasure and fun with so many emotions floating around. Half of the village was gathered to see our play. Everyone was filled with joy and excitement. The whole environment was echoing with “Jai Sia Ram”. Srinath uncle who was a caretaker of our farms, put the jute chord barricade and appointed few people to manage the crowd. Oh my God, I can’t get away with this memory ever; even after so many years, it’s as fresh as it happened yesterday.
Coming from northern part of India, I grew up seeing my mother and grandmother in saree every day. They effortlessly carry it so well that I am still in awe with their quick draping ways. My mother’s saree wardrobe was my treasure hunt.
Whenever I got an opportunity, I secretly drape my mother’s saree, do ramp walk and make 100 poses like a model in front of the mirror. I was never tired to role play on multiple Bollywood characters from a shy bride to a sensuous hotie. It was kind of fun for me back then, so my deep rooted love for saree has stared since my childhood days. Way back Saree was a ritual for me and I am sure most of the Indian girls have done the same.
Ironically, when I actually reached at the age when I could easily embrace saree without being shy and embarrassed, I drifted away and lost the interest in saree and started wearing more of western clothes.
In my last trip to my hometown, one afternoon, I was lying in my mother’s room and looked at the same saree wardrobe with old memories which used to be my treasure hunt once. I saw my mother, she was watching and noticing me from the distance and gave me a nice agreeable smile. I think she read my mind well, ain’t moms like that? I quickly got up from bed and picked up my three most favourite sarees of all time from her wardrobe- chiffon yellow sarees, one sea green cotton chikankari saree and one green and yellow Bengali tant saree. I had been already drooling over on these sarees for long so I seized the opportunity instantly and packed them all with my luggage in my way back to Delhi and decided to bring back my tarnished saree love alive.
So I decided to follow 21 days rule. I have read it somewhere that if we do anyting for 21 days straight it becomes habit. So, I decided no matter whatever happens- good, bad or worse, I am going to stick with it, I wore saree for 21 days in a row without fail. Initially it was uncomfortable and difficult as it takes time and patience to have perfection in making front pleats and pallu but gradually I mastered it and now it is just a 10 minutes task.
The existence of saree traced back from Indus valley civilization. Cotton was the first fabric which was initially used to weave saree. The word saree evolved from the word mentioned Sattika in Jain and Buddhist literature as women’s attire.
There are more than 80 ways to wear saree and its length varies from 5 yards to 9 yards. In most of the states in India have their own weaving pattern and unique draping style. Like Banarasi & Chikankari Saree From UP, Kanjivaram Silk Saree from Tamil Nadu, Kasavu Saree from Kerala, Tant Saree from Bengal, Muga Silk Saree from Assam, Bandhini from Gujrat, Paithani Silk from Maharashtra Lehariya from Rajasthan, Chenderi from Madhya Pradesh, Sambalpuri from Orissa, Phulkari from Punjab. It’s much more and beyond.
Saree has a Spiritual healing effect. As per our Vedic Science, on wearing saree, women imbibe spiritual purity and divine consciousness in the environment. Saree is worn in circular motion, so when an outer energy touches the sari, it travels in circular motion around the body and helps the energy moves in the correct way. It is more than a piece of cloth; it fills our body and balances our energies. Every draping details of saree and exposure of exact amount of skin in saree is purposeful; it lifts the wearer to the higher amount of consciousness. Sarees made from natural fibres, such as cotton and silk yarns, have a greater ability to absorb Sattvikta and Chaitanya.
Over the past few centuries, the world is constantly changing. Well, what western fashion trend was 100 years back is not the same today. In India even after many thousand years and one after another foreign invaders and rulers of different religions and beliefs, one thing is surely intact and coming out more strongly than ever is the very basic yet phenomenal piece of cloth called ‘Saree’. In fact saree is the wardrobe staple for most of the females in India.
I feel so blessed that I come from the land where the few yards of unstitched fabric can make you elegant, professional, graceful, sexy, formal and casual all at the same time. I believe saree is the only ancient form of female clothing which is still alive and now it’s popular even more.
Saree is unbiased and fits perfect to any women despite of having any body frame from curvy to petite and any social status from poor to rich. The elegance of saree is unmatched, it’s gracefully covers the women’s entire body and reveals and conceals the right amount of skin in the most dignified way.
Saree has a great history behind and it’s indeed an epitome of our rich Indian heritage. Saree shows strength, elegance, emotions and power. It’s an identity and a muse for an artist.
Let’s revive our culture by multi-fold and pass it on to the younger generation!
With Love & Gratitude