It was a mandate really - the first time I wore a saree and stepped out somewhere besides my mirror. I still remember the look on my friend’s face and the way the word “GORGEOUS” was mimed to me from across the crowded event hall.
Starting something new and receiving thunderous encouragement sets the right tone and gives that boost of confidence that no amount of pep talk you give yourself can provide. The obviously delighted and admiring reaction is still engraved in my mind and brings a smile to my face - pushing me harder to keep going.
On multiple occasions that I donned a saree, there was always a bag of mixed reaction. The “aunty clan” - all ready with cheeky body shaming remarks, the “friends clan” showering praises (and the ones that didn’t are not really friends anymore :P), and of course the men - an array of feedback that honestly went directly into the recycle bin.
I am glad my first time wearing a saree was ah-mazing because the follow up instances, well not so much. Unsolicited advice and comparisons were made and I suppose that is where I decided - my body, my drape, my style. Honestly, that is how it should be for us all and not “beta pallu lamba karo”....“theek se chal”....“pin lagao”....“blouse chhota kyun hai” ….“ye kya tareeka hai lapetne ka”....“bindi kahan hai”.....blah blah.
“Beta” of course couldnt be more bothered; because if beta is being honest, the only push ever needed (or cared to remember) was the “GORGEOUS” - that one word which, that one smile…which now is my own.
Featured illustrations: Handwoven linen saree “Midnight Stroll”