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sarees tell stories

sarees tell stories

if it’s gleaming like that, it must be a gadwal

gadwal. when i was too young to know anything about sarees other than all women – yes, it was practically all the women i knew or saw around me – wore them, that word always intrigued me. spending a lot of time in delhi while growing up, i was aware of garhwal, near the himalaya mountains in the north, a hilly place with lots of nice small towns and warmhearted people… many of whom came to delhi in search of…

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sarees tell stories

maharanis, construction workers, ics officers – a saree wearer’s longish ramble

six yards, five and a half metres, sometimes nine yards, of material. you have to wrap it around yourself. tuck here, tuck there, make the pleats, hold the pallu in place. it must be so difficult. one must sit still or move around in luxury cars or palanquins if one is in a saree. yet a saree has never demanded that. not really, not ever. in fact, if your palanquin is late, you can simply hitch up your saree a…

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sarees tell stories

the other blue banarasi

in the middle of may or was it june last year, when a good friend and his wife invited us to their daughter’s wedding in kerala in december, and i said, yes, would love to come, i was fully prepared for an enchanting time in the deep green southern state which has an even deeper affair with red. today, the only state in the country with a communist government. i would be passing through bengaluru. when i lived there, it…

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sarees tell stories

checks and no balance from chettinad

it was a couple of years ago i think, that a good friend of mine said, since i loved sarees so much we should go to chettinad together. chettinad? i was surprised. what did chettinad have to do with sarees? chettinad was about chicken with a distinct peppery taste, which no matter how many recipes i looked up on the net, i never seemed to get right. it was about food: spicy, aromatic, delicious. it was about the famous chettiars…

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sarees tell stories

a lament for a saree

it’s a favourite saree of mine, and now it’s fraying. a strange kind of pain at this weakening of closely entwined threads, at this clear signal of mortality, at passing. it’s a saree from orissa, now the spelling has been changed to odisha; we spend a lot of time changing spellings for some reason. my mother and i bought it, around thirty five years ago, from one of the saree shops along triangular park in kolkata (we changed that spelling…

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