sarees tell stories

i had to wear a saree today

met a girl who loves sarees yesterday. never quite ready to meet strangers, i was all set not to engage much. a childhood friend of my husband’s had invited us for tea at a posh hotel nearby. they hadn’t seen each other in over forty years. i had a feeling i’d be smiling politely right through the afternoon. for a second i thought, should i wear a saree?

i try to wear one as often as i can. then i thought… nah, sunday afternoon tea… saree… a bit too much. his friend was there with his children. lovely kids, i began to relax. because of covid restrictions, the group couldn’t go beyond five. after about half an hour, the kids were settled at another table with their books and hot chocolate, and the friend’s wife joined us.

spare, tall, attractive, no airs about her young woman. a doctor by training, she had a gentle smile. my husband, his brother, and our host were deep in conversation, remembering endless things. a lot of laughter and anecdotes. i thought, ok, i can handle this, maybe she and i will find something to talk about. the usual kids, job, singapore, new york, calcutta kind of talk traipsed by. and i can’t remember how, but we arrived at sarees. she said, “i love sarees.”

many people say that, but there was something about the way she said it. a note, a pitch, a feel. it was something i instinctively recognised. a barrier crashed, a long swathe of fabric swirled. stranger? the two of us fell into a breathless chat about kanjeevarams, banarasis, old shops in hyderabad selling vintage sarees, mothers and grandmothers, preserving sarees, wedding trousseaus, oh, she had thought she’d wear a saree this afternoon too.

the three men looked slightly stupefied at our widely grinning faces, and that immersed in another world look. came home and thought i must update my saree and look through all my sarees tell stories pieces. write a new one.

this morning got writing. then for no reason at all wore a saree. decked up. got pictures taken, and posted. such a good feeling to meet another lover of sarees.

i wrote this on the last day of january this year.

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sarees tell stories | cotton gadwal bought by a friend in hyderabad about 10 or 12 years ago.


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