For and by a woman

The “distressed” Sari…


A few weeks back this atrocious, mind numbing video was posted by India Today. That they allowed it to be posted is in itself terrible and getting 630 likes on Twitter is seriously terrible.

Wearing a sari to your office is one hell of an uphill climb

This utterly stupid video shows a couple of young girls wearing a sari to work and struggling to walk up the stairs, with colleagues trying to eye their breasts, and generally everyone asking them if something special was on. The other subtle (not sure if the morons would know how to pronounce the word) message was sari wearing girls suddenly become matrons, just like that.

Everyone who knows me, has worked with me and everyone who has seen me for the past 28 years of my 48 years on Earth, knows that I only wear saris everywhere. I wore my first sari in Shillong, when I was in class 7, for a dance recital. Then at home for a puja… and then of and on right through school and college. From the day I started working at NIIT Vizag in Aug 1989, I have rarely worn anything else to work. I would wear other clothes while exercising, while traveling, while cycling etc but the rest of the time, I am wrapped in a sari. The only thing that bothered me during my short stint with Pizza Corner was the fact that I had to wear the uniform (pants and T.shirt) and not the sari. I have travelled in the Mumbai local trains in a sari, I have walked to work in a sari, I have trekked in Laos in a sari, I have attended leadership meetings in the US with Aon Hewitt in a sari.

Some men who speak to women’s breasts have spoken to my breasts ONLY when I was NOT in a sari, I have never had toilet paper stuck outside my sari because when you lift the sari and sit on the pot, the toilet paper cannot go over the sari as you wipe your ass. If you choose to stick the paper like this young lady in the India Today video does – you are probably campaigning for toilet paper fashion. The creator has given most human beings two arms, with the thought that they will help you lift things that obstruct your movement out of the way. So the young lady in the video who is struggling to walk up the stairs needs to use just one of her arms to lift the sari pleats and the struggle is gone. I have walked up and down several stairs in a sari and sometimes I had things in both my arms – I still don’t trip because there is a way to walk up without lifting the pleats, but you need to learn.

Not just me – millions of women live in a sari. It’s the most versatile garment known to women – just changing the way it is worn makes it formal, informal, sexy, cool, drab – suit your mood. For all these young girls who rush to own “the little black dress”, ask any man if it can compete with this sari that Sridevi wore in Mr. India ?

Or can it compete with this black sari worn by Deepika yesterday ?

A couple of days back, yet another moron surfaced with a worser, more dangerous slant to the sari. This article written by Asgar Qadri is downright stupid and gives a communal colour to saris – In India, Fashion has become a Nationalist cause. The sari is a piece of cloth that is India’s traditional attire amongst other TRADITIONAL ATTIRES. The Salwar Kameez is also a traditional attire, the Mundu is also a traditional attire, the Lungi is also a traditional attire and the Mekhla Chador is also a traditional attire. And Mr. Qadri it has always been fashionable to be nationalistic… what’s a dress got to do with that ? Weaving as an art is integral to the Indian society, irrespective of religion and community. It’s our heritage – and there are more than 120 kinds of weaves that our weavers have brought to this world. Sari was in fashion long before Buddha, Christ, Allah and any other messiah was born and it hopefully will remain in fashion forever. So stop peddling bullshit, unless that’s all you have to peddle.

My appeal to young girls in India, learn to wear the sari. It’s not about being nationalistic, it’s about wearing your traditional attire. It is easy to wear, drapes like a dream and shows you off in any light that you choose – sexy, modern, formal, traditional, fun. Handloom saris are the cheapest art form on planet Earth. Every handloom sari that you wear is unique… how cool is that ? There are hundreds of ways that you can drape the sari …. it’s versatile. And for all those who think you can’t climb stairs in a sari, here are some pictures of women doing far greater things than walking in a sari –

Sarla Thakral, the first Indian woman to fly an airplane … and she did it in her sari.

Jayanti Sampath Kumar running a marathon in a sari.

Nargis, Vyjayantimala and our ex-PM Smt. Indira Gandhi, all in saris.

Need I say more ????

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11 replies »

  1. Amazing… and being myself a saree person know that it takes just two minutes to wear and once pinned properly it doesn’t shift at all the whole day … happy to be one who loves wearing saree and had also been called a only lady in a saree in my office … 👍

  2. Honestly I am sick of these videos and content that suggest the plight of young girls in a saree is devastating. It’s a completely untrue and inaccurate representation. I’m 24 and I’m a regular saree wearer. I have never encountered an issue carrying myself in a saree. In fact, I find it the most comfortable attire. I also know women my age who don’t like the idea of wearing saree and that is fine, it’s their choice what to wear. But, I also know women in their 40s and 50s who hate the prospect of having to wear the saree and avoid it as much as possible. They were the first ones to ask me why I was wearing a saree. Their is absolutely no correlation between age and saree. I hate it when popular content in videos and other formats suggest that. It is a simple matter of choice and level of comfort. It is unfair to blame their lack of interest and comfort and inability to carry themselves on the saree. If they live wearing the saree, all it takes is practice. It is not the fault of the saree. I’m hopelessly in love with saree and I’m fortunate to know many others who are, whether experienced saree wearers with pro level draping skills or ones taking baby steps into being comfortable in draping a saree. So I truly believe popular media channels shouldn’t be making a huge fuss about the saree just to seem hip and in tune with what they think is the point of view of today’s generation. I doubt it resonates with all.

    • So glad to hear that you wear a saree and I completely agree that it’s very comfortable to wear. I would always say when I met a bunch of young colleagues at work – “don’t assume I am the behenji type just because I am in a saree. I am far more modern than you”. Most people simply associate sarees with an older generation and now that older generation also doesn’t want to wear sarees. Just sad. I do see a revival in wearing sarees so hopefully the tide will turn soon. 👍

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