Urban life being what it is, we erect invisible barriers in public spaces. There are unwritten rules which are rarely broken- you are not supposed to make eye-contact, you are supposed to ignore the presence of the other person unless the physical proximity puts you in physical distress, if you happen to be looking in the direction of a person you are expected to hastily look away if they glance in your direction. The only time the rule is broken is if the other person is in trouble- then you help.
In all my years of traveling by Mumbai trains, the only time seen these rules broken have been either when I found a person reading a book I love, or a person found me engrossed in a book she loved. A shared love for a particular book brought the two of us together, and we’ve had some good conversations.
After I started wearing sarees regularly, I find myself a part of a similar sisterhood- the Sisterhood of Saree Wearers. The old rules don’t apply to the members of the Sisterhood. Whether you are in a saree yourself or not, if you see a Sister in a saree you like, you tell her so. Strangers no longer find it strange to walk up to a Saree Sister and strike up a conversation anchored around sarees, blouses, drapes and weaves.
On my first day in my new job, I was introduced to a colleague, and we went through the polite chit-chat that newly introduced colleagues are supposed to do so. The second time we met, both of us were in sarees, and we bonded as I rarely do with new people. Yesterday, with me in a black polycott and she in a cream jamdani, we were talking about the Sisterhood of Saree Wearers. Both of us had stories to share, and we concluded it was a real thing!
Two hours later, it was confirmed. I saw a lady in a beautiful tussar saree going through security check before me. While waiting for our baggage, we both started speaking to the other person at the same time. We connected for a few minutes, then parted- but we carried with us the glow that comes with meeting a Sister.

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