Saturday, January 15, 2011

Eternal Elegance - Amma in a Sari!

Like all girls, I was always fascinated by my mother’s sari collection and admired the grace with which she’d carry it off! The fascination continues till this day! When I was little, I’d feel privileged that she would she let me choose a matching blouse for her sari; Eagerly await her ‘annual stock verification’ of the saris every summer; Felt delighted listening to the stories behind each of her Saris! Loved seeing her stop by a sari shop looking for new designs with a child-like enthusiasm! Even today she looks most elegant in a sari! I used to wonder whether I’ll be able to carry off a sari just like she did!! Decades later, I still ask myself the same question! More so, that I reside in a country where there’s no incentive to dress Indian let alone wear a sari. Abhay has hardly seen his mom in a sari!

So it was a walk down memory lane for me when I found the book “Mama’s Saris” by Pooja Makhijani and illustrated by Elena Gomez. This is one children’s book that I wish I had written! Narrated in first person, a girl, on her seventh birthday watches her mother trying to decide on which sari to wear for the birthday party. As her mother pulls out her trunk from under the bed, the young girl can’t take her eyes off the colorful pile of shiffon, silk and cotton saris that her mother has been saving for special occasions. While helping her mother choose the sari, she finds her western wear plain when compared to the bright red and orange pleats. Her mother is impressed with her daughter’s remarkable memory of all the saris she’d worn till now. So impressed, that she lets the seven year old wear her golden blue sari for the birthday party. The daughter is thrilled that she looks just like her mom in a sari and the mother is happy to pass on a piece of her heirloom to her little one. Pity Abhay cant wear a sari!!

Even if he cant wear a sari, he sure remembered his grandma when I read “My Dadima wears a sari” by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi. When her two granddaughters wonder why she is always in a sari, grandma highlights the various ways a sari can be used – can serve as an umbrella during an unexpected rain shower, can act as pouch to collect the sea shells on the beach, can be used to nurse an injured knee. The book has a similar ending in which both the grand daughters express a desire to wear their dadima's saris. A must read for young girls keen on draping themselves in a sari. One of those books again when I feel “Wish I had a girl!!!” Sorry Abhay…but girls will be girls!!:-)


  1. Divya,
    Iam touched by this.This is one of the niceties of the relation btween mother and da
    ughter. ( specially btween you and me)

  2. No wonder you could lay your hands on a book "Mamma's Saris" and describe "the" passion your mother has in collection of sarees. What is more important besides good collection is that ( as you have rightly underlined)she has preserved them neatly and can always relate to the occasions and/or where/when she bought them even as back as our marriage. Good passion for a working women especially for a teacher to endure& cherish( for the obvious reason of being with the young girls in a women's college)
    Keep it up Jaya!
    Kedla Purandar

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