She irons and lays them out the night before so that they can be aired. She delicately runs her fingers across the weaves to even out any creases. She carefully selects her jewellery and accessories and places them at the corner of the sari, from the intricately designed necklace right down to the bindi, bangles and purse that she would embellish her look with. She takes pride in simplicity yet uniqueness, always adding her own contrast to the traditional look.
There was nothing more perfect to me than my mother in her sari. And every time she drapes one, there’s a story behind it. It was gifted to her by her father when he was posted in Andhra, or she bought it at a market in Delhi with her best friend on a rainy day, or her grandmother had worn it to her engagement ceremony. There was always a story that I would eagerly listen to, and soon enough it became clear to me: Saris were a means of love. Right from the weaver who had intricately stitched a unique piece that symbolised their heritage, to the person who purchased it and then draped it on someone else, saris were stitches connecting generations in our family, and for us as expats in Singapore, to keep a part of India alive in our homes.
Growing up, my mother, my Nani, my aunts and my great-aunts would always seem like descendants of the Mughal throne to me. Simply because when they draped their saris, I couldn’t imagine anything more regal. I would sit ready in the living room in my pink churidar kurta, waving my bangles and trying to make my bindi stay on my forehead. One by one they would emerge from their rooms draped in vivid colors and mixtures of the finest silks, cottons and chiffons, resembling everything I had ever imagined a Mughal Queen to be. I would sit there in amazement wondering whether I would ever reach to the point where I could drape a long pink sari on myself.
My mother and I are different in most ways, but one of the biggest things that we share is our mutual love for saris. I too had the chance to live out this dream of wearing a sari passed down to me, to drape a story full of love and spread it with each step that I took. It was the most beautiful cream Kanjivaram (South Indian silk) sari, with a pink border – just the perfect shade of pink that had made me fall in love with saris in the first place. My aunt in London had given it to me from her own collection and it meant the world to me to have her love wrapped around me. Not only was the sari absolutely gorgeous, but it was a reminder of our bonding during my time in London, and of her warm love and unconditional support, which I could feel all the way back home in Singapore. Now I too had a sari from someone very special to me, and it was then that I fully understood how saris were a token of love in my family, and a tradition that I knew I wanted to continue to weave.
Love it! The sentiment and the writing Sunena. add to this story as you grow into different roles in your young life.Best of luck and much love. Might I add that I am a proud ‘tai’ to you? 🙂
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Beautifully written Sunena, lots of love & hugs!
Such a lovely write up. You have a way with words!
You’ve woven your own tapestry of love with this beautiful tribute to your Mother , who as you rightly said is an epitome of grace , elegance and perfection in her prized possessions; her heirloom saris, and to the ethnic and cultural splendour of our Queen of Indian garments – the sari. Fabulous piece Sunena. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and emotions so articulately and aptly. ❤️👏🏻👍
So beautifully written Sunena! and wonderful to see that you and mom share a common love for Sarees!
Amazing! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a entirely different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!