It was our Farewell Party at School. We we told we could either drape a saree or come in our uniforms. My mother couldn’t take a day off, and I didn’t want to be the only one in the uniform. There was only one way out- my mother taught me to pleat and pin and tuck and tug. After a few trial runs, we were both confident enough for me to risk it. The day went without a hitch- two public bus rides, hours of dancing, the saree withstood it all without unraveling.
That was the start of my love affair with the 6 yards. Throughout college, and b-school, I wore a saree often; not just for ‘special’ occasions, but whenever I felt like it. Once I started working, I was expected to wear a saree certain times, and did so with joy. But after the kids came, I decided it was just too cumbersome a garment. For many years, I pulled out a saree only once a year during Diwali, and over time, the saree became optional even on what I previously considered ‘mandatory saree’ occasions.
About a year back, I decided it had to stop, and I started wearing sarees when I had important meetings. Gradually, I started choosing the saree whenever there was a choice between that and another garment. Then the #100sareepact happened and I met others like me. I now look to convert ‘non saree’ occasions into ‘saree’ occasions. I’m now not just in love with the idea of a saree, but with the saree as something that has the potential to convert every day into a magical day.
This was the saree with which it all began. A printed silk saree which my mother bought in the 1970s after seeing it on a heroine in a Bollywood movie. Black with white polka dots, with a broad border and pallu in pink and green, which she would team with onyx beads and a beehive hairdo. I’m not as adventurous as her, and the first time I wore it, I teamed it with pearl studs and a chignon.
Many decades later, the retro look seems to have come a full circle, and the saree is back in fashion.

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