50 Shades of Sarees

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Hindustan Times

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“Hold the fabric, tuck in the pleats and drape the end on the shoulder”.

Yes, it’s high time to introspect the to-be-long-forgotten classy apparel of the Indian women-folk.

Select City Mall, Saket on Tuesday, October 27, in New Delhi, India was dramatically made to witness the defining prowess of the conventional outfit of Indian culture, Saree, when a first-of-its-kind flash mob was held by a group of around 50 women attired in their royal perfection. The event which was organised in a bid to rediscover and bring back the elegant fancy as against the eroding trend of passion for the saree has succeeded in grabbing a slot in the ‘almirah’ of flash mobs in the country. Contrary to the popular choreographed mobs, the initiative turned out to be a line-breaking one when a bunch of homemakers, lawyers and medicos unveiled their hitherto-unknown moves to the tunes of the Bollywood hits such as Indiawaale, Sari Ke Fall Sa, Galla Goodiyaan, Girls Like To Swing, and London Thumakda.

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Devditi, a forum that aims at salvaging the Indian women by emphasising on their glorious heritage through interactive and entertainment platforms, has been the brain that triggered these series of programs. Apart from these, they are also engaged in a variety of online campaigns and contests for promoting the spirit of the disappearing saree culture, says Vandana Gupta and Sapna Khandelwal, the founders of Devditi. Their activities embrace a unique ‘design’ of its own by virtue of their unparalleled “threads” of bond with saree and their funny ‘tailored’ manifestations. They hope to deter the fate that was decreed on the Japanese Kimono culture which faded into the folios of history of “fashions”. In an attempt to keep the pace up, the group had also begun ‘weaving’, neither with cotton nor silk, but web. The Facebook page – Indian Saree Challenge – has been well received within the women circles from all walks of life and emerged to be one of the top ‘like’ hitting pages in the cyber space.

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This winter is indeed going to create the grandeur of a competitive market for the woollen clothing firms, as the ‘women in saree’ have already intended to welcome the December with their ambitious event titled ‘Saree Saga’ to display the majesty of this traditional textile by incorporating a series of sub-events which seek to mark the culmination of all those long running programs ranging from campaigns to contests, both online and offline. Though the last, but not the least, the show comprises a ramp walk which reflects or segues the journey of sarees through ages, quiz sessions, contests, talent and dance performances and so on. It also anticipates the presence of women representing diverse cultures and fields, uniting for a particular cause. The perseverance has been showing positive signs of progress in their endeavours to ‘rescue’ their once-prestigious garment from becoming a ‘thing of the past’ and help not to land up in the glass boxes of museums or left out in the garage.

This tale of saree doesn’t cease here. Still, a long way to go and of course a loud kudos to the ‘saree clad’. The love story of ‘thread and needle’ continues.

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