Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Sari Affair

The story of traditional Indian Sari goes like this. 'I was born on the loom of a fanciful weaver, who dreamt of a woman. The enigma of her gooseberry eyes, the secret of her smile, the texture of her moods, the shimmer of her tears, and the softness of her touch. All these he wove together. And he couldn’t stop. He wove for many yards. And when he was done, the story goes, he sat back and smiled'.

And thus centuries ago, the enduring, lasting proof of a classic Indo-Western fusion was created. Yes, a sari is the Indian counterpart of the Little Black Dress. To women who label me it as desi,  the dress has  outwitted all in it's designer modern avatar. 

Casual cotton or breezy chiffon, elegant silk or intricate zardozi, traditional Banarsi or chic crepe, simple kota or conventional
Pic Courtesy Indianfashiontrend.com
tanchoi……..The permutations are endless, but the nuances are critical. Connoisseurs can steal a glance and distinguish between a sari  from Sarojini Nagar and one from Satya Paul or Ritu Kumar. But the beauty of a sari lies in the fact that both look equally elegant.

From Cherie Blair to Naomi Campbell to Liz Hurley, most have worn a sari and  never looked better.

If you ask me, I love the cotton avatar of this traditional attire. Contrasting the crushed cotton look of Mamata Bannerjee,  the starched handloom worn by Sonia Gandhi is elegance personified. It looks all powerful, graceful and oh-so cool. How about trying pastel chiffons Mrs. Gandhi? Lately, extra starch is smacking of arrogance.

The counterpart of sari,  the bodice is no longer a simple piece of garment. It is an ornate piece of art. But when it comes to Bollywood heroines, the blouse is almost non-existent. Instead there are inadequate straps, a few threads and enticing knots. I tell you, when
Pic Courtesy www.sajansarita.co.in
our actresses decide to take the sari route, they leave me red-faced. But I don’t grudge them. Thanks to starlets and television serials, the sari is alive and kicking!

When prima donnas turn up at award functions or memorable events, reveling in the thought of being a woman, they underline the feminine quotient by donning a sari. All of seven yards! Yes, because they know that they can never go wrong with a sari.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. A sari.. Wow. Different imagination and versatile views.
    I personally like the form of clothing but the new ways in which it is being draped by miss katrina and shilpa, the actual essence of the Indian look.. Umm.. Just my perspective, others may differ.

  2. hii!

    very interesting, a 'sari ki atmkatha' was never so amazing!

    sari is the proper Indian attire since the times when stitching was not even invented, it was worn with strapless blouses like the way heroins wear today :)

  3. I asked my mother to read your post. She said, ''Mani, all of a sudden my wardrobe has come alive.''
    Though she couldn't find any Liz Hurley or Heidi Klum in her wardrobe after ranscking for a while; just an elgant Indan mother was seen.

  4. It is same as any traditional dress worn, IF worn properly the wearer Looks COOOl and beautiful ..


  5. @Deepika..true, but they have made it fashionable.

    @As...what u say is true. Even adivaasi women drape it that way.

    @Prateek....A BIG thank u to your mom for reading.

    @Bikram...Yes, the drape and the silhouette are important.

  6. Ohh...an ode to the gorgeous sari. It is one of the most classiest of outfits and looks great on Indian women.Though I have worn it just four times in my life, I love the sari. Great post, Alka.

  7. A sari is one of the most versatile garments - go daring, do the coy act. And the countless ways you can drape it.

    And it's such a joy to buy one. I used to love collecting saris when I was teaching. And now they are stashed away in the loft.

  8. Mumma says, "You're welcome. Also you write awesome." :)

  9. Ah now this reminds me that I haven't worn a sari in years. Gosh and I'm a Bong to boot.
    "One can never go wrong with a sari." - True that.

  10. I haven't read such an overwhelming opening paragraph in a long time. Awesome writing, Alka-ji!

  11. @Rachna...Thanks.

    @Purba...No one wears them here. Its all about western wear. Perhaps the weather is to blame. I loved ur moms pic in a sari.

    @Prateek...Thats very kind of her. Heartfelt thanks.

    @Samadrita....I love the Bengal cotons.

    @USP...Honestly, the first para not mine. I have picked the idea from a legendary story.

  12. @Alka,

    You are so funnnnnny......

    This your master piece.

    Sentences like Wet Kat, 'aint easy covering up actresses...'

    You are really awesome :)))

  13. @Alka,

    I do not have anything to add about sarees...I do not know much about it.

  14. very nice!!! But you shouldn't be baffled or feel awkward at President's choice of full-sleeve blouse because she is comfortable wearing it.

  15. It is a really nasty 'jugalbandi' that the modern fashion designers have been trying to come up with in the saree department. Its all mixing up altogether.
    With women going down to zero figure, the Bollywood fabric cloth length zeros down to the width of a single strand of fabric these days.
    Clothes reducing from elegant to leaner, meaner and eventually more grotesque.

    Nice read.

    Why would we allow ourselves to be engulfed in the treacherous smoke that only intends to drain life out with it? Yes, there are ways to battle things out when they aren't right, but we are too accustomed live easy.

    Nice read.

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  16. very accurate..nice post
    I love Sarees..BUT..sleeveless blouses or halter style...
    It looks good ..any kind if draped properly...and as far Indian president is concerned with age..I think they cover their arms..which to me appears... quite decent!
    Indian women is known for sarees!

  17. a wonderful thesis on the famous Indian dress :). The ending sums it all..'you can never go wrong in a saree'

  18. You have forgotten to mention the Rs.110 sari from Nai Sarak. THAT looks equally elegant too! It speaks of the ingenuity of a people who can drape it in such myriad ways without the help of a pin or clip. The nine-year version worn by the Maharashtrians and Tamilians is a masterpiece with intricate tucks and pleats to emerge in an elegant avatar.

  19. @A...Thank u, thank u. Dont know about a Sari? Girlfriend/wife prefer western dresses or shop alone?

    @Giribala...I am not sure she is comfortable in it. In Delhi at 45 deg, half sleeves wont harm.


  20. @Harman....the trick is in the drape, the silhouette and the way one carries it.

    @Abha...Thank u for reading.

    @Zephyr...One small post cannot do justice to varied styles of textures, weaves, patterns, draping styles....etc. Even I am wonder struck by the nine yard version tied so immaculately.

  21. Whatever,saree is the sexiest women's wear ever designed.

  22. I loved your various viewpoints on the 5 and hald foot long garment.Even though saree is an elegant attire ,it has versaqtilities as you described and each versatile form has a versatile element of appearnece associated with it.Like a 'behenjee'look with a high neck full sleeved jacket or a 'hep ,sexy look with the almost 'nothing types jackets or whatever:))'.

  23. Such a beautiful ode to the sari Alks!
    Sari must be gloating proudly at this:-)
    Superb read as always...I absolutely love your subtle humour..wish more write ups were like yours:-)

  24. saree avtaar revealtaions in various forms were nice.I feel saree is one attire which can be most sensuous and also have most elegant and traditional look.

  25. I m awful with sarees...wonder how do women manage to look so graceful. i look rather clumsy. :D

  26. beautifully written
    and everything is in mind.
    like your question to President

  27. Alka,

    I had been a little lethargic due to weather and age but today after shrugging it off I read all pending posts and left my comments on each. This one is again not only witty but as usual tongue in cheek too. I hope Ms Sule or rather Mr S Pawar does not sue you. How come you missed out on famous noodle soup girl while mentioning matching attire?

    Take care

  28. Great post especially writing as a third person or thing..
    Personally though i am big fan of sari on Kat the wet one and not Rajneeti one:)

  29. when foreigners appear in sari, I find them cute.

  30. @Alka,

    My wife wears saree once a year and shops alone. I am a distraction for her shopping...:)))) It kind of works out good.

    By the way, someone already gave an accurate answer :)))) I made it slightly difficult this time but .....we have smart people.