Thursday, February 7, 2008

Six Yards of Magic

Sari – a garment that is perhaps worn by almost 70% of the female population of the Indian sub-continent and continues to hold it’s own amongst business suits, skirts, jeans and the whole gamut of Western as well as Indo-western outfits.

Six yards of cloth is all there is to the sari. Yet, this dress worn by millions of Indian women, is by far, the most elegant. It is not merely an outfit but an ornament, lending both grace and glamour to the wearer.

From the diaphanous cottons, soft and delicate chiffons and crepes, to sturdy silks of the South and the butter-soft muslins of Dhaka - the fabric, weave and colour makes each sari a masterpiece. Each region has its own special texture and design, depending on the regional crafts and the climate of that particular area. Brocaded silks, gauzy muslins, tie-and-die chiffons, and woven cottons find a cherished place in millions of women’s hearts and wardrobes.

If you ever peep into your mother’s treasured sari chest or maybe into your own wardrobe, you’ll be greeted with textures, jewel-colored fabrics and shimmering brocades. The brocades, the colour, the weave – each of these will determine the mood or occasion the sari can fit into. Like warm reds are for a bride; rich, jewel hues and brocades for festivals and weddings; stark white for mourning. Even the fabric can determine the event you can wear a particular sari to. Heavy silks for weddings; earthy cottons for poojas; light chiffons for cocktails and parties.

Kanika Goswami mentions a beautiful folktale in her article ‘The Sari - Mystery and Grace’ - “The Sari, it is said, was born on the loom of a fanciful weaver. He dreamt of Woman. The shimmer of her tears. The drape of her tumbling hair. The colors of her many moods. The softness of her touch. All these he wove together. He couldn't stop. He wove for many yards. And when he was done, the story goes; he sat back and smiled and smiled and smiled." This little story captures the essence of the sari so well – do we need to say anything more in its favour?

by Chandana Banerjee

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