A love song for the saree
“Saris are alive with promise in a way few garments are. Starting as a rectangle, they transform to fit any wearer, as bespoke as a suit that’s pinned and cut, though no such trauma befalls them,” says Mallika Rao in her 2016 essay ‘Ode to the Sari’. “A good sari wearer knows the material must meet her demands. She needs no pins. She folds and knots, at the waist, and shoulder. Tying honors the inconstancy of a body. The same sari can fit a wearer at different weights or positions, or an entirely other person” she adds.
Indeed, few garments flatter the skin tone and curves of a South Asian body the way a sari does.. She might work those jeans or rock that dress, but the Bengali woman is the most authentically herself when draped in the six to nine yards that she can pleat, fold and tuck in the way that makes most sense to her.
The sensuous whispers of silk and the charm of chiffon may be perfect for those glittery events, but those broody mornings and sun-dappled afternoons spent in quiet contemplation demand the comfort of cotton, the softer and more well-worn, the better. She’ll pick the boldest prints, the brightest colours, the most whimsical blouses and wear these with flowers in her hair, her arms making music with every movement as her glass bangles tingle.
And in these raiments, in those moments of solitude, whatever the number in her years, on the scale, or in her wallet, the Bengali woman shines with all her inner strength and beauty.
Photos: Zeyran Juhie