A special Saree this . Chosen with great care . Over 15 years ago I walked into Nalli’s on Warden Road to choose a Saree for myself to wear at my son’s wedding . It was to be held in Montreal where he and his bride were settling down to their new life as a couple. I wanted a Saree that would look stylish and appropriate for the simple but elegant ceremony the children had planned. It was to be held in the open air by the side of a lake in a weekend getaway in the countryside a few hours outside of the city. The minute I saw this Saree I knew it had to be this one and no other .
An Off White Kanjeevaram with the traditional temple border and little butis in the body and a striking Pallu. It is the dull gold of the Zari that really attracted me to it in the first place .
I wore it today for another wedding . The wedding of the son of a very dear , lovely lady and one which was held in the middle of the busy , bustling city that is Bombay. Everything about this wedding was as different as chalk is from cheese from the wedding in Montreal . But in Sandhya , the boy’s mother’s eyes shone the same pride and joy that had shone in mine .
And something more . Something very special. A special kind of joy and pride. Around the time I was preparing for my son’s wedding and Sandhya’s son was a young school boy, she had just been diagnosed with a life threatening condition.
At that time I remember holding her hand and listening to her telling me she was not going to let the diagnosis come in the way of her responsibility to her family. Of ensuring that her young son , and his little sister always would have the care and love of a mother . At least till they were able to look after themselves . Till they finished their studies and found jobs and yes, ready to set up their own homes with partners of their choice .
Today was that day and as I sat with Sandhya , watching the lovely bride walk towards the Mandap where her parents were waiting to perform the ritual of Kanyadaan, I felt for myself as the weight of the world that she had carried for so long , slip away from her shoulders .
Bombay is some city, people. In the midst of all its squalor , if you look carefully enough you can find such indescribable beauty that one wouldn’t believe even existed. More than peeling off layers of dust and grime from its surfaces i guess it is allowing our eyes to see beyond all of that very grime and get to the real beauty that lies underneath, lies everywhere . Timeless and created with care and love . The city is full of some of the most beautiful architecture . A lot of it is there to be seen in well known and well known documented and photographed parts of the city like the Kala Ghoda area , and other parts of what is known as the Fort and in around the Gothic splendour of the Victoria Terminus . The beautiful apartments on Wodehouse Road and on the sea face leading to the Radio Club or the Art Deco classics on Marine Drive.
A doctor friend once told me how a patient of his ( if I remember right) told him how lying in an Ambulance that was carrying her from here to there through the city she managed to catch glimpses of the city’s “skyline ” that left her stunned with its beauty.
Walking through various neighbourhoods in the dense maze of South Bombay one can spot such gems . This morning , making my way to the wedding venue in Ville Parle , as we passed block upon block of drab, dull, unimaginative , modern apartment buildings and store fronts cheek by jowl against each other that have become the hall mark of almost all our cites today I was struck by an old, elegant and stylish edifice , it’s plaster peeling and the stone work disintegrating .
The gates were falling apart and windows had panes missing.
It appeared totally abandoned with the garden or front yard rather , which must have once been a beautiful garden , now over run with weeds and scrub.
I wonder if it will soon come under the deafening and destructive hammer of “redevelopment” and if so I hope and pray it’s beauty is preserved in some form .
A few yards ahead I did manage to see a complex which seemed to have been maintained well, retaining a lot of the beauty and style of its original architectures.
As I continued on my way back into town I simply could not get the image of that house out of my mind. I hope it does not mind the fact that it features on my Saree Pact post today.