Reclaiming the saree

It is fun to try new things along with the tried and tested, mixing and matching patterns and accessories that are unexpected or weaves in colours that clash or figuring out our own ways to drape.

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It is time we reclaimed the saree, made it our own and joined its revival party in our own way..

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Photos: Vincent Boyer (Say hi on instagram @vincetravelbook)

My first memory of wearing a saree is as a toddler, wearing a stripey floral mish mash of patterns. I am pretty sure there is photographic evidence floating about in one of the old albums.

As a child I was tremendously fascinated by my Mother, especially when she was in a saree at her dressing table. The lovely handloom-ed silks she prefers, the maroon lipstick she likes and the magic she made draping the six yards around herself.

The neatly laundered beauties in the cupboard smelling faintly of pot-pourri and naphthalene beckoned constantly  to me. I remember draping them around myself imagining I was a rebellious princess, warrior queen or Goddess. Durga puja has always been the time of the year when I would be awed by the sight of wonderful taants, jamdanis and balucharis.

I loved wearing a saree as a young girl and felt super special in its folds, somehow knowing that I had the keys to a centuries old club for women. I believed then as I believe now, sarees have a bit of magic in them.

As much as I like to romanticise the garment, I think it is time that we stopped seeing a saree as a costume and start viewing it as something to be enjoyed and experimented with. It is about being inspired by the past, how our grandmothers or mothers wore them but making it our own.

It is fun to try new things along with the tried and tested, mixing and matching patterns and accessories  that are unexpected or weaves in colours that clash or figuring out our own ways to drape. Throw our all notions of right and wrong and revel in being who we are, in my case a little disheveled, with messy pleats and definitely not perfect.

It is not about being different or trying hard to be quirky but about being free to think for ourselves and our own interpretation of the whole six or nine yards beyond the dos and don’ts. I think I could wear the Saree every single day of my life and still be able to interpret it in new ways.

I love wearing traditional Kanjeevarams with gold borders and the the mention of them always brings an image of Rekha, to my mind. In these photos I deviated from my messy norm to get  my pleats right and wore the saree properly albeit wrapped around a denim mini underskirt. I skipped in it around one of my favourite little lanes filled with a mad frenzy of plants along the stoops.

Clearly, I don’t need an occasion to wear something pretty, I’d rather wear it to play with cute kitties.

Author: Tanaya Das

PleatsnPallu is a unique project started in Australia by Tanaya Das to celebrate the identity of South Asian women every where. This is a quest to find what the six yards of fabric means to us and the narrative is focussed on celebrating all kinds of bodies with extra attention entering on those that are less celebrating in the mainstream.

2 thoughts on “Reclaiming the saree”

  1. Lovely post and pics. I used to wear sarees daily and somewhere trousers and jeans crept in as preferred garb for work. But, they don’t have the treasure of memories like the six yards.

  2. You look absolutely stunning tanaya..The pictures are just amazing…vince thumps up to you..The saree reminded me of a wedding I attended recently..all the women there wore this colour as a theme..With different pallu of course …The entire place came to life with the colours…smiles and I felt happy…saree is a saree is a saree.period

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