Sunday, November 11, 2012

I did it......I bought a sari!!!

Having said no, no no, I sort of gave in to the power of the beautiful fabrics.  Indian ladies wear it so well, with grace and finesse. I don't know if it's the way they walk or the confidence in that little bit of warm brown belly showing, in contrast to our embarrassment at our pasty white flabby bits being on display. But I always thought, why do something you can't do as well as the people who own it. It's not as if I'd ever wear it back home in SJ as the Almaden ladies look far too gorgeous shimmering in their silks for me to feel comfortable alongside similarly sari'd.

The OWC India Night is fast approaching and last year I was one of the few who didn't sari-up. I was pretty fancy in my kurta with bling but as I also had a clipboard to support my treasury function and  obviously appeared like an admin type person, everybody and anybody with a problem sought me out. This year I am still the treasury function but with lots of help from my friends and will be sans clipboard and in sari, so someone else will hopefully get the whiners to deal with.

Friends G and C were on the sari hunt and I decided to join them.  A spot of shopping, great company and lunch in Woody's - I wasn't going to turn that down, even though I wasn't sure I was going to buy.

First sari shop was beautiful tho' a tad on the expensive side. I did get draped (kept having to remind friend G the term is draped not wrapped) in a rather nice orangey green, autumnal number. However I wasn't convinced.

We then moved onto MSU adjacent to Commercial Street. This is where I fell off the straight and narrow and made my purchase. I wasn't going for silk as though the most beautiful, I'm inherently a messy sort of person and silk seemed to me an accident waiting to happen. I was also drawn to fabrics  not too bulky, not too heavy and easy to wear. As if I bought, said item, it was not getting to get a lot of wear I wanted to head for the cheaper end. I spied this totally not traditionally Indian, red and black sari, got draped and for the one who wasn't going to buy was extremely decisive and made my purchase.

However said item was not in my hands for very long as next step was the tailor to get the blouse and petticoat stitched. Sari blouses vary from the traditional to the Bollywood. The material for mine (attached to the sari) is black and black stripes - pretty subtle. The blouse is going to be sleeveless - but very plain. I also tried to insist on a very straight petticoat, slit if necessary so I can walk but I really dont want bulk.

Meanwhile G and C were torn. C between a lovely warm brocaded burnt peach number and a very elegant petrol blue and contrasting turquoise and G between one she had already bought and a beautiful sari in a variety of pinky colors.

Decisions were made over the next days and sari blouses are being stitched.

Meanwhile we had a get Simon kitted out.......which was relatively straight forward. To those who know my husband shopping is not his most favorite activity and any shopping of a non-tech variety he is persuaded to do has to be short, very short!! There are many men's Indian wear shops around but we decided to ask Purander's advice, who given our current geographical location (we'd just dropped Wills at a birthday party) and the fact we knew Simon wouldn't be wearing this on a regular basis directed us to Big Bazaar, a sort of Indian cash and carry. Anyway we were in and out within 20 minutes and Simon ready to go. If only the finale of my story would be so easy!

On the allocated day we returned to the tailors full of optimism. On arrival G and C's blouses were quickly located and produced. With one or two adjustments they fit OK, not perfect but OK. I think some of the problem is we, westerners, are coming at the sari blouse from a western angle...the physical attributes we went accentuated and those we want hidden are different from the traditional sari blouse requirements.

Anyway my blouse was no where to be found. Eventually the material, unaltered from drop off was located and the tailor said he'd whip up my blouse in the time it took us to have lunch. So we went to lunch and he whipped up something.........but not a blouse that fit me. I have a distinctly non-indian body and this blouse did not take the length of my torso into account. The finished article was too short, way too short, indecently too short, incorrect-ably too short....

So back to square one!! We go back to MSU and I bought a piece of plain black chiffony material.  To another tailor, more expensive but used the peculiarities  of the western form.  And my problem now is not my body but the approaching holidays. Tailors are very busy. I spin my sob story, this is my only sari, my one indian party to go to and I don't have a blouse.  Success, Cinderella may get to the ball on time!! Numerous measurements are taken, questions asked and all is quiet for a week. It's the day before India Night and I go to pick up!!!

All is well and Simon and I are dressed to...............



  1. You two looked super! And I remember quite distinctly that you told me it's not "wrapped" as I'm not a hot dog! Ha, ha, ha...I hope I will always remember that!

  2. Your sari is beautiful.

    I bought one when I was in India years ago for a wedding. Of course I haven't worn it since... not much opportunity to do so in the States. But I think every one should experience sari shopping at least once... what an amazing, fun experience to be wrapped in so many beautiful silks.

  3. Hello! I write for a local newspaper here and we have an expat column, which I'd like to feature you and your family in. If you don't mind that, please mail me at Awaiting a response :)