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Saree Woes

Diwali 2009 is the time when I made my millionth Sari Vow. Okay, it's crazy but the truth is I love wearing sarees. I've got an amazing collection of exquisite kancheevarams in my wardrobe. I treasure each one of them.

Here's my confession: The art of wearing a saree and most importantly, walking gracefully in it doesn't come to me. I admire generations of Indian women who have and continue to do this almost effortlessly. In typical South Indian mode, I make my woes clear below:

On the day of my marriage, I wore the saree and walked like a clumsy duck. I cringe every time I see the video. It embarrasses me that I can't carry it off gracefully. My god, lakhs of Indian women do it with such grace and why, oh why, God had to do this to me, is what I'm simply asking!

For my Std 12th Social, all the girls dressed up in their finest sarees. I think they all looked as if they had stepped out of an ad because they looked so beautiful. And well, i hate remembering, but since confessions are all about remembering. Those years, I was the original tomboy of sorts, mentally. I hated anything girlish, especially those feminine lehengas, salwar kameezes with flowing dupattas. I hated being caged into such clothes that made me feel when I look into the mirror: Who's that? Not me! Puhleez!

I wore an ugly, dull, henna green salwar kameez that was several sizes too big and loose for me. I think I looked like the female version of Shrek! Oh, just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. The worst part was when the supercool, beautiful beauties cooed, "Oh, poor you, what happened? Why are you dressed like this?"

I spared them my story. Who wanted to hear it anyway that I am not interested in getting doled up? I smiled and that didnt convince anybody so they reached a conclusion that I must be from a very poor family background and so I couldnt afford to buy a saree or even borrow! Its nearly funny, when you think of it, the change over the years, I mean.

My sister is younger to me by six years. Right from her primary school, she knew how to drape the saree beautifully. She does it in less than five minutes while I struggle and end up in all kinds of crazy, horribly draped layers with bits of the saree falling out from here and there!

I've stopped working on my saree draping plan, so many beauty parlors are willing to do it as there are more and more terrible saree drapers like me, as if that can be any consolation! Everytime I want to wear a saree, I think about the draping mess and the walking difficulty and just give up by wearing the usual.

This weekend, a very close friend had come over. She wore a lovely black saree. It looked very traditional. The print had flowers on it, the type that belongs to another era and looks simple yet very classy. I loved it. For three hours, I had this discussion with her about my saree vow. I want to wear all my sarees but I've lost the confidence.
She really is a great friend. She pepped me up, told me it was the same for her but she kept trying, trying and then, one fine day, got really good with it. Now, she doesn't need any help and can drape her saree in like three minutes! Well, its ambitious for me to hope to do that anytime soon but I've vowed to get started. Let me start, fail, learn from it and try again.
Any suggestions?


Abhilash said…
I am not a guy to comment on sarees but yes I like this dialogue "I think I looked like the female version of Shrek!"


To help you, I found an article that will help you sort out the problem of wearing saree.

Try the above link.
When you have any problems in life the first thing you should do is, praying to.... "The Google Devta"

I do not suggest google because I am working there but I think google will provide you solutions to all problems...

:) Again wishing you lucks for future saree ceremonies.

My friend came to kerala once and had to wear a lungi for entering the temple and in mid of praying it went down... ha ha

He said Abhi... I am never gona wear it again

I advised him to tie a belt next time...

It happens with all dear.
Shilpa Garg said…
Oh, I know the feeling!!
I would not say, that we are in the same boat, but yes a boat but a different one!! :D
I can carry it off and know how to drape it too, but I just dont have the will/ desire/ inclination/ motivation to wear them.
Only a very important ceremony will see me in a saree.
So, all my sarees have moved from the hangars in the cupboards to the suitcases kept HIGH on the loft!!

But if you love sarees, I guess, you just need to practice a few times. Start with semi-synthetic/ chiffon sarees, as they are easy to manage. Then move on to silks and cotton ones!!

All the best and Happy Draping! :)
Lavanya Sriram said…
hey, I can totally relate to it, i mean to the draping part. However, i never used to like wearing saree, so never gave it a try and it would take 30 mins prior to my wedding. Now its come down to 7 to 8 minutes, but i dont wear all that often, only during important weddings and i am never satisfied with the end result. One suggestion though is to get some tips and pointers from those who drape very well. One such tip helped me improve my technique. And keep trying.
All the Best :)
Sojo Varughese said…
I always wonder, what do Indian woman see in sarees to love 'em so much?
hii ..

i too love to wear saree..but only occasionallyy..

my mom is too faster in arranging her saree neatly bit slow..hehe..

what u do is ..u keep on comes with exp i think..)

nice to know that u like to wear our traditional suit...:)
Shahid Mukadam said…
I aint a saree expert and to be honest I dont even understand the dynamics of a saree, but I can wish u luck with ur Saree promise.....
chitra said…
Practice makes it perfect Swapna, keep trying. All your Kanjeevarams must be crying to see the day light.
How I loved this post, both informative and funny at the same time.
I'm sure you didn't walk like a duck on your wedding day and even if you did, I'm sure your husband wouldn't have noticed.
Naarya said…
aaahhh...i have the same problems...i can so identify with what you saying...but i am also in the "trying" no pennies frm me..
Swati said…
I am quite like you Swapana ..even after 5 years of marriage I am not confident about wearing a saree properly , since I wear only 3-4 times a year during diwali season :P

And I do love wearing saris as well..I think i should try more often ..but then I never get the amount of time it takes to get it right..LOL!
Bindhu Unny said…
I'm the opposite. I hardly wear sari; have about 4 or 5 in my wardrobe; but knows well to drape one. :)
A BIG thanks to all of you.
Iceman said…

Try wearing jeans underneath, it gives you great confidence and you won't walk clumsy.

I only know because I had that awkward walk with Dhoti until I started wearing them over jeans.
RadShan said…
Hey! I can totally relate to this. I also wonder at others who come out beautifully draped in a sari! If I try to drape, god save me... it will take atleast half an hour and I would have draped clumsily with lots of pins around! And the worst part... when I am in a sari... I have to be left alone... I cannot handle my son... or any other job which will require lots of run-around! :)
I think Indian women look stunning in sarees than any other outfit. I love them. I was like you not knowing the trick in school and college. But later, in lil practise, it turned out to be a simple task. I am sure you will get it soon and make all ur kancheepuram sarees proud :-)
I am glad we all agree that wearing saree and feeling good in it will grow with more practice! Thank you all.
Lavender said…
May be you should observe women who are good at it and try to imitate them when you're alone. Then start wearing sarees in your small group of friends until you get confident enough to wear it in a crowd of 500.
What do you say?

P.S. Thanks for all your comments :)
I really like your blog as well.

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