One of my favourite handloom cotton sarees, which Ma and Baba bought me about 30 years ago when my brother Rana and Shibani got married. We found this at Radha Silks in Mylapore, Chennai (along with similar ones for my cousins Pampoo and Munia). Probably woven in Kancheepuram, though not to a traditional pattern. A very light weave, perfect for summer.

The saree is very simple, with a quarter inch mustard-red border against a shot bottle green ground, no patterns or butas on the body ~ and then a spectacular one-metre pallu with mustard and red patterns woven all over. An understated classic, which I love. I don’t think they even weave these any more.

Oddly enough, I recall wearing this saree when I happened to be on the winning team of Siddharth Basu’s first India Quiz in 1989, along with Vinaysheel Oberoi and Rajeev Agarwal. I was Associate Editor of Junior Quest magazine for children then.

Today, wearing this, my mind flew back to an interview I did with the doyenne of the Indian crafts/ handloom renaissance, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya, when I was a rookie journalist of 20-plus. My first interview ever.

It also took me back to a heart-warming article I did on Chandramouli KV, India’s most lauded expert on natural dyes, for Deccan Herald in the 1990a ~ and the luminous saree-related stories he shared about Kamaladevi and Rukmini Devi Arundale of Kalakshetra.

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