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Sari’s are part of my maternal ancestral heritage and I was lucky enough to connect with Anju M through a common friend who had joined the pact. We, Californians tend to grow nostalgic about our desiwear as we have such few occasions to wear them. Our outfits have either been handed down to us or been bought on a spree to our motherland.

Once I connected with Anju, I knew I wanted launch the saree party for my bay area friends.  Anju’s rules were simple – wear something with a story that has sentimental value to you. What better reason then connecting over our love of a sari to host an afternoon tea party? I proceeded to invite people from my close circle to make it an intimate affair.

Everyone arrived dressed in vibrant colors and different weaves.  I wore a purple sari with real gold thread running through it.  It had been part of my grandmother’s trousseau when she was wed at the age of thirteen and she is ninety this year.  That makes this sari 70 years old.  I cannot think of anything I own that means more to me then these 6 yards of fabric.  As my grandmother handed over the sari to me – she warned me not to just tear it up as most people do but to make sure I sell it to a jeweler as the percentage of gold used back in those days was very high compared to what they use now!

Sujata Chandrashekar wore a lovely “Valkalam.”  These are Sarees originating in Southern India with intricately interwoven threads on a satin silk finish, and take about 3 months to weave. They often have unique one-of-a-kind motifs and patterns and there aren’t too many around! Her’s had an unusual motif for an Indian Saree – Chinese Qin warriors! She remembers shopping for this saree before her wedding with her litany of aunts, sister and mom.

Sadiya Omer wore her sari which had silver zari work. It was sentimental because she wore it on her valima (wedding) and had designed the work herself.  Shalini Datta wore a sari her mother recently sent to her from Delhi and it was a very contemporary mix with vibrant colors. Minal M. wore a sari that she has designed herself when she was visiting India.  She had it expertly tied! Shruti Gandhi confessed this was the first time she was wearing a sari in her adult life and had to have her parents bring it with them from India. Anji Desai wore a lovely Satya Paul sari and we all admired her red blouse design.”

Here we are all, posing in our beautiful sarees that hold so many memories.

– Zainab Zaheer Khan

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