The art of wearing a saree and most importantly, walking gracefully in it doesn’t come to me. My mother wears a sari because she grew up with it (she could not imagine ever wearing anything else).
I wore saree three times in my life and walked like a clumsy duck. I cringe every time I see the pictures or remember those times. 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!
I am the only one in my entire family and one through the past/present generations, who doesn’t fancy wearing a saree. I am surprised how my little sister (all of just 17years) is an expert in wearing saree. Draping the saree and carrying it needs grace which I lack.
Accessorizing the saree is tougher. Jewellery, shoes and bag has to match. One cannot wear flats as the sari is so long, but you can’t wear heels that are too high unless you want to give up walking all together. As for your purse, it can’t be too big – a cute clutch that is small but large enough to carry all your essentials (and a few extra safety pins just in case). But you can’t hold it as one hand is constantly holding up your outfit, so you hunt around for the perfect one to sling over your shoulder. Phew, I am exhausted!!
Then comes Walking in a saree. A heavy sari can really weigh you down and make you walk at a snail’s pace. Plus, there’s always that fear of the entire thing coming undone with every step you take. I can’t imagine falling down in front of all.
Those safety pins!! No matter how many compliments are given, there is always that constant fear of stepping on some fabric and pulling apart those pleats and the whole thing unravelling at the slightest of movements. The fact that a few safety pins have the power to stop a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen can be a pretty daunting thought, it’s running through your mind the entire evening, you’re a bit worried about zoning out of conversations about anything else.
I can’t imagine exposing. Yes my back, tummy and cleavage, BIGTIME NO!! With your back on display and your curves being flaunted to the world, it puts a certain pressure on you for your body to look oh-so-perfect. In other words, you spend the entire evening holding your breath and sucking in your tummy to fake it. It’s a Herculean task to chat, eat, drink, dance, and walk while holding in your stomach. And, frankly, it is quite awkward.
Nasty Pallu. The most annoying part about wearing a sari is the pallu that just refuses to stay atop the shoulder! You barely move your arm in the hope that it won’t keep sliding off and exposing cleavage or embarrassing stretch marks.
Restrictions. You can’t walk fast, let alone run; you can barely show off your dance moves; and you’re kind of handicapped by one hand having to always be busy holding up your pleats or keeping your pallu in place. All in all, it’s a pretty demanding experience that really does take lots of practice. Tripping over the saree, another big fear.
Everybody considers saree to be so much traditional and respectful, despite revealing the navel, back, tummy and the deep blouse. Irrelevant of all these things, one’s clothes is one’s wish; she should wear what she likes and what she is comfortable in. I tried and I failed, I know I cannot be in peace with saree and avoiding it is the best solution. Vulgarity and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For some bikini is decent for others salwar kameez or a burqa can be cheap or indecent.
I write a lot, which keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. There is always something to write about, always a new story to craft. Not writing, for me, is like trying to hold back a sneeze. Learning to write was the most powerful influence in my life. I can still remember the awe I felt when I realized I could put real words onto paper and tell out a story. From that first ‘a-ha’ moment I knew I wanted to write.
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