first off, thanks to Anju and Ally for starting this.
Being enveloped by sarees and their stories day after day (both in my work and on my timeline ;-)) it was a natural choice when dear friend Kakoli and I met for lunch last Friday .. I decided to do this lovely blue and orange mekhela sador, that was gifted to me by my dear sister.
The story of this one is so special. I wore this mekhela sador to the first exhibition of Heeya (then unnamed) tentatively organised as ‘Heartcrafted’ by a group of us friends ( each with their own ware) in December 2011.. and then there was no looking back.
The story is a little longer.. being born a proud Assamese, nestled in the beautiful hills and by the rivers that flow through the region .. yet the unspoken words they seemed to say- ‘why us?’ Years of negligence, the years of insurgency that we lived through our school years , to read newspapers every morning that carried only stories of despair and despondency, the fleeting happy feeling of ‘its finally all over’ in the later part of 80s, then to be disappointed again.. and again.. there were so many unanswered questions.
And then after many years, many great workplaces and beautiful moments, came this realisation. Why should we wait to let other create our news, why can’t we write ones that will kindle hope? Starting with our own women who as Gandhiji said ‘ weave dreams on cloth’. And what better than the weaves our women weave – the beautiful mekhela sador. And bring to others who do not know it, the same richness, the stamp of tradition and unique weaving styles? Thus the brand Heeya came to life, I wanted to share the stories of Usha, Nuhadita, Lolima, Nandini and so many more – and of their women’s groups
All these years both in my personal and professional years in Kolkata, Bangalore and other cities, this had been the ensemble I mostly wore as my favourite ethnic wear – and it became been an instant conversation starter. The underrated mekhela sador.
No, this two piece set is not a paavdai nor is it a half sari – it has its own identity- a two piece set, the mekhela (pronounced me- khe-la not mekhla) a cylindrical lower half, and its companion – the upper part – the sador (pronounced sador not chadar) of 2.75 m length – both of which are woven in various weaving clusters and techniques, with diverse yarns – cotton or mulberry, muga, tussar or eri silk.. each for its own distinctive purpose.. gorgeous silk ones for celebrations, and cotton ones for functional use. Easy to wear and drape, it is also extremely versatile. mix and match of a mekhela and sador is also possible.. ( and one can even do a boho look.. more on that and another day .. in another post.)
So the one I am wearing is a cotton one woven in lower Assam with orange flowers on blue. The saree is Kakoli is wearing is a fusion kantha, designed by her cousin sister. All by women. for women. Abundant inspiration and talent.
Tagged friends and others- please share your stories, esp if you have any of mekhela sador
Wearing gorgeous earrings by Ethniqué by Kakoli Roy