We’ve grown up dressing in our mother’s dupattas and prancing around the house, we’ve seen our grandmother’s loving caress on their silk sarees, we’ve gleefully coordinated with friends to wear matching sarees on our farewell and carefully picked out eclectic pieces that can be a part of our trousseau. Sarees are not just garments; they are part of our precious memories. A saree is a tapestry representing unity, talent, culture and richness. These elements weave together to form an emotion, an emotion that is an amalgamation of memories and our experiences. Nostalgia, joy, first moments, and much more come together when we think of a saree.
Saree, in a way, feels like poetry; it is something that can be interpreted in so many ways and finds itself fitting in our lives in myriad ways. Just like its pleats, a saree is a cascading waterfall of experiences that evoke the deepest of the emotions within us. Remember when our mothers would stand in front of the mirrors, a safety pin between her lips as she expertly tied the saree around her waist?
How those hands went from tying her saree to safely pinning our first saree, here becomes a time capsule. Remember the powerful image of Nargis Dutt on the Mother India poster, the tear-jerking patriotism that reflected on the face of this saree clad woman? The very first vision that comes to our minds when we think of an Indian female leader is of a strong woman wearing a gorgeous saree. The saree represents our pride, strength, and ambition in those moments. It is a decisive moment; one wrapped beautifully in a saree.
And let’s accept it, a woman gifting her saree to her daughter or granddaughter is one of the most emotional and memorable moments that will never leave us. A prized possession that will stay with us forever. The wrinkled hands caress the Zari, and with proud tears, it comes in our hands; this saree, wrapped in old mulmul, is full of a strange responsibility. It takes care of a gentle yet powerful legacy, a symbol of femininity at its strongest. Perhaps our grandmother got married in this saree; the memory associated with this garment makes it so much more special.
Sarees in India are a glimpse of talent and persistence. Each weave is so delicate and showcases an age-old talent by our weavers. Sarees are a part of our culture, from dressing up our goddesses to finding pieces close to our hearts for an important family event. Whether it is the vibrant yellow Banarasi silk or a Kanjivaram, the history of the weave, the loom and the many hours that go into creating a piece fill us with immense gratitude and pride for the creation that wraps our body. The five yards become a story of transformation from a girl to a lady. From a cocoon to a butterfly, it’s the story of innocence to empowerment. The relation between a saree and its wearer is nuanced, a marriage of beauty and longing.
Sarees are bought with thought, the hands feeling the fabric, exploring the embroidery and the hours of discussions and negotiation with the shopkeeper, draping around our shoulder, and standing in front of the mirror and finally picking one that deserves to be in our cherished sandook [trunk] of tiny treasures. Everything about a saree, from the first thread to wearing it, is filled with love, grit, and emotions of the highest value.
Perhaps we saw our favourite actress donning a saree in a film, and we will drag our mothers through the markets to buy a replica and feel like an absolute diva wearing them. Sarees have the power to become so much more. Whether it is our wedding or an event, there is a pious relationship that is difficult to explain but easy to express. These five yards of exquisite fabric delicately explore the relationship between love and memories. A saree is an embodiment of love, memories, and beauty. It is an indescribable emotion that holds an expression of artistry, heirloom, care, and wealth that cannot be counted.