The Sari clad woman is the epitome of feminine grace and beauty. Poets over the ages have waxed eloquent about the absolute loveliness of a lass in a sari. Little do those fanciful fellows know….Behind the velvet softness of the sari-ed woman there lies an iron endurance and incredible skill.
Actually I can’t blame them. At one point I was actually one of their idealistic league. (Judge me not, ye harsh ones!) My folly was nurtured by my own mother- who could transform a pile of cloth into a perfectly draped sari within minutes. Could I be blamed for supposing this common place?
Well… the illusion was shattered soon enough.
Stranded without Amma the Sari Super- woman, I was faced with the task of tying a sari for a function by myself. Piece of cake? Think again.
Before leaving home, I had done the smartest thing and asked Mother dearest for a total instruction manual of sari-wearing. But no one warned me about the practical difficulties!! The sari-which looked harmless enough when folded neatly – turned out to be a cloth Charybdis! Unfurled to its unending length, it gave me images of Draupadi and the sea of cloth! “Well,” I thought “let’s face this like a man…er… woman.”
And thus began a battle of lengthy proportions (literally). The funny thing about the sari is that when one thing is finally settled the other thing-that was previously ok-decides to become undone. The greatest killer though, is the pleats! When done with expertise, the pallu (that’s the part that I prefer to call the tail of the sari) hangs in a graceful, straight, silken cascade. When I was finished with it…well the nicest way to put it was that, it definitely did hang…only like squashed handkerchief. And then of course there are the front pleats. It’s supposed to fall in a nice straight fan that flatters the figure (or at least gives one the semblance of owning a figure). The nicest thing to be said of mine was that it did not fall…off.
But all said and done, my sari did have one outstanding feature. I had created a scientific miracle- A gravity defying Sari!!!(Thank you! Thank you! I’d like to dedicate this honor to the several hundreds of safety pins that helped me in my endeavor). Sure, it appeared to be a little…er… lumpy, and a little…er… elevated… But hey! The effort mattered!
At least that’s what I thought.
“Hey boss…I think you’ve tied your sari wrong side out...”
The next time you see a woman wearing a perfect sari, recognize it for what it is- a badge of endurance, patience, skill and unbelievable dexterity.
‘Frailty thy name is woman’?