Friday, October 16, 2009
Shree Saree !!
When Aishwarya appeared in Oprah's show in 2007 , Oprah had expressed her wish to be drapped in a saree and we then saw how our dear ash helped oprah with it. Nevertheless saree has always been a mysterious something, unknown for the world. They keep wondering of how could a whole piece of cloth as long as 9 yards ( nau gaz ) be draped around someone without a single stich yet looks voluptous. It is so amazing for them to find that a woman covered from top to bottom can look sexy and appealing.
" Saree is a sexy outfit, who will oppose this statement? I'm excieted about wearing it in my farewell party, it will make me look glam and ethnic at the same time." said the saree loving college girl Nandita. It is said that the body of an average Indian woman is most suitable for wearing a saree where height being an average 5 to 5ft 4 in and waist size 30 to 40 if drapped perfectly in a saree will actually accentuate your figure. Many people believe that the saree was actually influenced from the greeks and the romans " Toga " (worn by men) and " Stola " ( worn by women ) which were long 6 meters cloth draped and worn over a tunic( slip ). But most saree lovers donot think the same way they feel its the other way round , " Indians influenced the world to wear something new and more versetile, besides what people donot know about toga and stola is that they had to be stiched or pinned at some places while in saree its not so " said Ajay a would be fashion designer.
Indeed Saree is more than 5000 years old, it gets mentioned in Vedas(the oldest exisiting literature 3000 B.C. ). Patterns of dresses have changed throughout the world now and then but, the Saree has survived because it is still mainly wore in rural India. 75% of India's population still wears it for its extremely versatile because it could be worn as shorts, trousers, flowing gown-like or convenient skirt-wise--all without a single stitch or pin! Saree ( originally Chira) came from Sanskrit which meant cloth. From 5 yards to 9.5 yards tied loosely, folded and pleated, it could be turned into working dress or party-wear with manual skill. For day today dress of middle class women, 5-6 yard sari is comfortable to manage household chores. Working class tucks the same length above the ankles and if they have to work in water or fields, they would tuck the front pleats between the legs to the back, and tie the upper portion round the waist. This left them free movement of hands and legs. A gold silver or cloth belt fastened to keep pallu, (upper cover) pleats and folds in tact. Jhansi's Queen Laxmibai, Belawadi Mallamma and Kittur Chennamma have fought enemy troops on horseback, wearing saree in Veeragacche or soldier's tuck style.
Usually the advent of saree is attributed the hot and humid climate of India where the genral middle class was extremely fond of soft cotton sarees and the richer class could wear flashy sarees. Saree in hot climate was easy to wear and a perfect cover from head to toe in broad day light. Also Dhoti, lungi or mundu are abridged version of the saree worn by men. Another interesting thought related to this is that in Indian philosophy, the navel of the Supreme Being is considered as the source of life and creativity. Hence by tradition, the stomach and the navel is to be left unconcealed, though the philosophy behind the costume has largely been forgotten . This makes the realization of sharira-mandala, where in Angikam bhuvanam yasya (the body as the world) unites with the sharira-mandala (the whole universe), as expressed in the Natyashastra. These principles of the saree, also hold for other forms of drapes, like the lungi or mundu worn by men.
While earlier revealing of navel while wearing a saree was largely a spiritual philosophy today its majorly associated with style. Our beloved bollywood has always taken a foot forward to keep up with the trends of saree, fancy work and fancy blouses with materials like silk, gorgette , chiffon, net (see through material) and body stick fabrics are extremely in. Adding more grace to the outfit is the way our celebrities carry their designer coutures. Aishwarya Rai’s inevitable style statement in Devdaas led the masses drooling over her spectacular outfit. Next in a row are many other bollywood stars like Madhuri Dixit, Sushmita Sen, Hema Malini etc. who have always worn elegant sarees. As the fashion designers say, the elegance the demure that is derived when one is adorned in a saree is not to be found when one is adorning a gown.
However unlike our divas there are two views- for and against for the question " Do all women look good in saree ? " , while one says -- " It only suits curvaceous women. Those who have a square body type with long and straight torsos or those who are overweight, do not look good in saree. As far as western and even other Indian dresses are concerned, they can be made in such a way that enhances one's figure by hiding the body flaws. But this can not be done with a saree. " the other says -- " Nothing is hotter than a saree. Those who hesitate from wearing a saree mostly include who are overweight or who do not find it comfortable as their daily wear. However, it all depends upon the proper selection of sarees according to one's body type and the way a saree is draped. That is also the case with other clothings- be it Indian or western. A saree can also be worn in ways that can enhance or hide the flaws of one's body. With the innovations in the field of blouses -backless, halter, tube, full-sleeves, V-neck- sarees can also be made to look good on women of any body type."
Nadipur based Kanya Campus had a strict dress code for students: Saree and blouse. The college administration, however, had no option but to allow students to wear modern dresses. “ Students started criticising and protesting what they called a traditional dress code. Many students stopped coming to the college and our annual enrolment went down because of the dress code. It was then that we decided to allow skirts and shirts. ” says Surendra Bhari, the founding member and chief of the college.
“Saree and blouse are not only difficult to wear, but it is hard to maintain the intricate creases and folds all day. Moreover, we must dress up as per the demand of the time,” say girls."Try rushing to catch a bus in a sari," one young lady pointedly remarked, "and you'll switch to jeans the next day."
Most elderly women have always found saree comfortable and beautiful but they are not sure if Saree would be able to survive in its original form in coming generations too, they believe the golden age of saree is quiet far from over and what now happens is experiments with it just to keep it breathing quiet like a man in ventilator. They have seen their grand daughters ignoring saree and shifting to jeans, even altering saree and making salwaar kameez out of it, thus are not quiet hopeful of its revival.
Ikat, Chanderi, Puneri, Laheriya, Bandhej, Bomkai, Gadwal, Narayanpet , Maheshwari, Kantha and Kanjeevaram sarees to name a few still add to glamour and pomp to our wardrobes. Saree has long survived the time trench from 5000B.C. to 2009, how many more years it will survive further is still a question. What will happen once the generation of women who grew up routinely wearing a sari every day dies out? If not daily lets atleast work to keep up the spree of saree by wearing it once a week/month to begin with...
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