A 1971 Wedding Story: Told Through the Wedding Wardrobe that Featured

My parents got married in 1971. The 1971 India-Pakistan war officially started a few days before their wedding but the cards had already been distributed and the caterers instructed. The baraat band played “Dum Maro Dum” from the hit movie ‘Hare Rame Hare Krishna’ which was the rage at the time – an odd choice for a wedding song if the lyrics are considered but Bollywood always reigns supreme.

My parents had an arranged marriage in Punjab and my mother received various clothes from both sides as is customary. Her wedding wardrobe contained various sarees and her mother-in-law (my dadi) who was a clothes enthusiast herself gave her a beautiful selection of sarees which included a  few vintage sarees that belonged to her mother-in-law as a token of family history.  The bride, my mother, who happened to be a naturally organized lady, took great care in storing her wedding clothes in a meticulous fashion. Very recently my friend forwarded me an article from Vogue India that started with the tag line “The secret to a sustainable wardrobe? Knowing how to store your clothes.” I read this and instantly thought of my mom. My mother has always been someone who cares for her purchases regardless of whether they are old or new, cheap or expensive. Growing up, I remember her storing her out of season sarees carefully in a few trunks lined with paper.  She made concentrated efforts to separate her outfits with white paper and keep them out of direct light and humidity. A few years ago, she asked which of her wedding outfits I would like to have and then separated them equally between my sister-in-law and me.

A few weeks ago, I surprised my parents by visiting them unannounced in the US and on my way home, decided to bring my share of her wedding wardrobe with me. It goes without saying that Indian fabrics are stunning and their weaves, colours and styles are a sight to behold.  My mother’s wedding trousseau is now almost 50 years old and I find the sarees and other Indian outfits from that era fascinating.  So much of her wardrobe is still so current and the styles have truly stood the test of time.

Revisit, reimagine and reuse – I have often promoted this line on this blog and I wholeheartedly enjoy reconfiguring clothes that already reside in our wardrobes. In this series of blogs, I want to lookbook my mothers’ wedding outfits to showcase the fashions in 1971 and highlight the timeless beauty of Indian wear. All credit goes to my mother for preserving her outfits so well (the shine of this sari has to be seen to be believed) and I look forward to sharing them with you.

In this lookbook, I am wearing her ‘doli’ saree. This means that this is the saree she wore after the Sikh wedding was over and when she was leaving her home for my father’s house as his bride.  My mother mentioned that in those days in Punjab, most women had a doli suit but my Dadi being a saree fan chose this banarsi organza saree with an all over motif as her ‘doli’ outfit of choice.  The bride wore this saree with a matching orange blouse at the time (with similar sleeves as the purple one) and matching orange sandals.  Unfortunately, those two items have not survived the passage of time.

I wanted to say a big thank you to Aadheekta by Mudra for providing this beautiful traditional jewellery set and collaborating on this post.  Please do check out her Instagram page – she has a beautiful selection of pieces that are well worth the visit. Please quote ISHA10 for a 10% discount.

I hope you enjoyed this vintage saree lookbook.  As always, thank you for taking the time to visit Isha’s Verdict.

Clothes and Jewellery:

All Jewellery – Aadheekta by Mudra – Instagram @Adheektabym 

Saree – bought in 1971 in Ludhiana Punjab, at Kiran Stores

 

My Parenting Eureka Moment: and a Classic Wedding Saree

Hello everyone. I do not often talk about my children on this blog. As I have a teenager and a not teenager (but thinks he is one), I am conscious that while they are my children, they have their own semi-adult lives now and it may not be fair for me to be continually discussing them.  Hence, I generally refrain from it. Today, however, I am going to make an exception for the greater good.

A few days ago, I read an anonymous post by a young mother who shared that she was struggling with her two young children and allocating time for them and their activities, leaving her wondering if the time spent on hobbies/activities was worth it. Her post touched a cord in my heart as I think most adults have found themselves in a similar stretched situation.  Juggling various responsibilities in a finite amount of time is an exhausting task, even for the most organized of us (a club of which, unfortunately, I am not a member). I find that one of the biggest challenges of parenthood is dividing my time and attention to meet all the children’s needs and those of the adults that form part of my family and friends.

Often, when we are in a tricky situation it is normal to wonder if others face similar hurdles or if we are somehow specially blessed with unique trials and tribulations that seem to traumatize no one else. In times of parental anxiety, I have always found solace and a new perspective in reading about the experiences of others. In this spirit of sharing, I offer the following personal experience to the time stretched mothers and fathers who may be wondering what the results of time-consuming hobbies that small children pursue can be.

Our older son has had an aeroplane obsession for almost a decade now.  I believe that the fledgeling roots of his passion have their origin in him watching the planes fly overhead in his grandparents garden as a young child. In the beginning, he would observe planes everywhere, and he then started requesting models of airplanes. Frankly, this proved to be quite convenient as no in-depth thought was required to buy him a present – we just thought planes and came up with a smashing present every time. With time, his interest deepened and soon he would happily use his allocated computer time looking up planes and plane related facts and figures.

As his knowledge grew, so did his requirements. Soon, the obsession started getting quite expensive as now not just any plane model would do. His lovely little head only wanted die-cast models (not plastic) that had to be to 1:400 scale (my husband once made the mistake of buying a 1:600 model from Zurich airport that resulted in a big sulk). Then, one day he declared that he would like to go to the area around the airport and look at planes. So on a beautiful cold morning, my husband joined the ‘plane spotters’ brigade and took our son to look at planes. This is when the hobby took a drastic new turn.  Our son loved going to view planes and was up to ‘plane-spot’ at any time.

What happened next you ask? Dear son decided to take a picture with a phone camera of the planes he saw.  This monumental decision had a tremendous impact on his plane hobby and free time.  He wanted to take plane pictures all the time. Now, my husband happens to have a keen interest in photography and uses a great camera and some powerful lenses.  Soon enough, our offspring discovered that when daddy took a picture it had much more depth and form than his photographs.  His growing brain quickly deduced that better equipment often meant a better photograph. So next, he wanted to borrow his father’s camera and lenses. At this point, we objected and said no as he did not have the necessary know-how to use this sophisticated equipment.

Praise the Lord; it is truly amazing what children can teach themselves when they are really after something. Son went on the internet and with the wealth of knowledge available (youtube being a huge contributor) started to teach himself photography. Not only did he teach himself the basics – but he also taught himself lightroom and photoshop (but alas, he is still unable to fully figure out the intricate workings of our dishwasher).

We finally decided to take a big chance and let him loose with better photographic equipment.  He now photographs planes any chance he gets. We cannot book any trip without his input in terms of which airline, which plane and which airport we shall utilise.  Indirect flights are preferential as they offer more photography opportunities – sometimes I put my foot down when the proposition involves more than two changes. All our trips to any airport (foreign or domestic) require leaving early to build in time for photography. When we visit a new country, photography rules are researched well ahead of time and ‘plane spotting and photography’  is done at all times. This often means waking up at ungodly hours in the morning and then ubering or walking to locations that he has researched well ahead of time. We then have to stand for hours, often in rain and cold, to capture the perfect shot of a rare plane that is on its first or last journey.

Sometimes, my patience cracks and I threaten no ‘plane-spotting’ on a vacation. My husband has proved to have far more patience than me and has woken up on many a freezing morning to accompany him on a shoot.  As he is still too young to be left alone in these situations- the whole family is now subjected to his plane pursuits. Both sets of grandparents in London and Los Angeles will take the time to take him plane-spotting for hours on end at various airports. Uncles and aunts will arrange tours of regional airports and wait in cars for hours so that he can indulge his passion.

The point of the above story is simply the following.  All our children will have interests that will span a gamut of activities.  Some interests will seem most useful, and others will seem quite useless.  Often, these interests will require a big chunk of a precious commodity – our time and their time. This requirement can cause frustration and often it is tempting to just say no. However, my personal experience has taught me this. When we as parents help cultivate a hobby, we may be providing the biggest gift of all. We are helping to develop a passion that will feed their creativity for a lifetime. We are also enabling them to learn another valuable life lesson; nothing in life is free. Excelling at any skill requires enormous amounts of time and dedication. In most cases, it will require hundreds of hours of practice and often giving up precious free time in order to spend developing that skill.  We are proceeding with the plan that if we can help him understand this basic life fact and excel at a skill, then we have partly succeded in our parenting duties.

What has been the result of this time investment? His knowledge about commercial aviation is second to none and he has become a rather good photographer to boot. He has a substantial Instagram following, an aviation blog and he has managed to get his pictures published on jetPhoto. I often joke with him that I could get him a job if child labour weren’t against the law.

Below are three of my favourite photographs that the 15-year-old in question has taken in the last few years:

That said, let’s get back to fashion. in this lookbook, I am wearing a silk saree that was part of the wedding clothes gifted to me by my mother-in-law.  I loved this saree the moment I set eyes on it – yet it has never been worn in the past 17 plus years that I have owned it. Perhaps the right event never arose or like many a woman before me – I kept saving it for the perfect occasion (which in my head was a winter wedding day event). I absolutely adore the rather unusual pale pink and green colour combination and the two-toned gold and silver floral motifs that grace the saree.  I think classic never goes out of style and this silk saree hits all the classical high notes.  I have paired it with a beautiful kundan stone set from Toraan design that I have also lookbooked in a previous blog (Handloom Sarees: What Makes a Great Indian Outfit – Money or Styling?).

I hope you enjoyed this lookbook as much as I enjoyed wearing this saree.  Have a great rest of the week and thank you for visiting Isha’s Verdict.