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.