Reflections on being a saree pacter #100sareepact

Day 69 ‪#‎100sareepact‬ Munni mausi has spent a lifetime buying Sarees from Bhopal and transporting them to her sisters, nieces and me, her bahu. These Sarees represent the richness of Madhya Pradesh's handloom culture- kosa, chanderi, Maheshwari, etc. When I got married, I got two kosa silk Sarees. One from Munni mausi, the other from Anjudi (who had asked mausi to get an extra along for her new bhabhi!). Amma, I discovered in time, has a veritable collection of Munni Sarees! The one I wear today is particularly lovely and some 30 years old. We measured the saree's age through my husband Rahul Singh Rawal's memories of it this morning.

I had a lot of fun updating my #100sareepact gallery yesterday! My heartfelt gratitude to everyone who, in their own way, has encouraged me and egged me on. I’m nearing the end slowly and steadily and people are beginning to ask if I would continue to wear sarees after Day 100 is done and dusted. A friend who wears sarees quite a bit but is not doing the pact asked me if the frequency of wearing sarees would change drastically and why that would be so….

These are very interesting questions, because they go to the core of what motivates a person like me to do the #100sareepact. Hopelessly addicted to over-analysis, I’ve been questioning myself about whether it is the adulation over social media that drives me rather than my love for sarees. What if I wore sarees and didn’t post? Wouldn’t that be enough as well?

On the other hand, I’ve made many friends, re-connected with many I knew from before, found common interests and gained a lot of knowledge because we are all sharing our saree posts. It’s the stories that go with the pictures that fascinate not just me, but everyone I know who has been avidly following the pact, whether they are pacters themselves or not.

What we wear, what we choose to wear is so intrinsic a part of who we are. It is an expression, but it also shapes our journey. By choosing to wear sarees, I make a statement to myself first and only then to everyone around. About being comfortable in my own skin. About being unapologetic about the extra 10 minutes I spend everyday choosing a saree, ironing it, draping it and accessorizing my look for the day. These acts give me that edge of confidence, bring out that inherent sexuality and power within me; they center me.

The #100sareepact has also coincided with a particularly industrious phase in my life. A career-focused phase, an ambitious forward-looking time, a time of re-invention and action that followed a rather long period of introspection, dithering and decision-making. The extra boost of confidence that wearing sarees has given me plays no small part in whatever I have managed to achieve. And for that, I shall remain eternally grateful to the pact.

Whether I will wear a saree as frequently post the pact remains to be seen, but I do know that the saree is now firmly entrenched among the regular choices I make about my attire. I think of the myriad motivations that have driven women across the world to take up the saree with such enthusiasm. I think of conversations last night with friends about how hard women are working to make a mark in the world around them, often against severe odds. I think about how desperately we sometimes need validation and encouragement and yet are too inhibited to seek it. And I know why the pact is so successful.

Anju, Ally, you struck gold with this. For all of us.

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About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on October 14, 2015, in Personal and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hey, you are so comfortable, charming and beautiful in the sari. It suits you fully. So much grace and dignity:)

  2. Ritu A Gulabani

    I loved the idea of 100 saree pact. Its so different and required today! Truly beautiful you and your thoughts!

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