Sari Nostalgia: In a Checked South Indian Silk Sari

There is nothing overtly distinct about this sari – many of you or your relatives will own similar silk saris.  What is unique about this sari, however, is that I vividly recall being drawn towards this particular sari, belonging to my mother, as a young girl.  I think it was the checks – I found them unusual and eye catching and  I vaguely remember finding the colour combination a bit unusual and not being able to decide if I actually liked it or not.

I believe it was last year that I spotted in a paper, a Bollywood celebrity wearing a traditional check silk sari. It turned out that it was from Manish Malhotra’s  latest collection and within a few weeks I had seen quite a few celebrities wearing them on the web. I was instantly reminded of my mom’s check sari that had always stood out from the crowd for me. Who knew that Manish Malhotra and I had a mutual appreciation for check silk saris!

Now that I had been reminded about this particular check sari – I asked my mother if I could have it the next time I visited home.  She told me that it was bought in 1971 by her Masi at a shop on Commercial Street in Bangalore and was a part of her wedding trousseau. She seemed hesitant to hand it over so I presented her with a deeply persuasive argument  that went as follows; ” Mom, if you wear it, you are just wearing one of your old saris.  However, if I, your one and only daughter, wears it – the sari takes on a vintage aura that elevates the status of the sari by adding to its traditional allure.  I think the brazenly ludicrous yet creative nature of my reasoning must have amused her as she laughed out loud and subsequently handed it over.  Unfortunately, its original blouse was nowhere to be found, so I had a new one made.

Nostalgia is a curious beast – it can arrive roaring out of the blue and knock your proverbial socks off. Wearing this sari reminded me of visiting my grandmother’s house in Punjab, India in the winter. A distinct memory I have from childhood  is that in the winter women wore silk saris and I was instantly transported to my nani’s verandah with various aunts walking around in lovely silk saris.  I find that clothes are as powerful a medium as any in resurrecting memories that instantly transport you back in time.

I hope you enjoy this ‘lookbook’ and have a lovely rest of the week!


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