Thursday, 23 February 2017
The Whole Nine Yards - 2
Once Upon a Pallu
True to its cultural roots, very few apparels lend themselves to such versatility and grace as the sari does. And when it comes to the ‘sentiment’ that the sari is, we are trekking down time lines that date back to the birth of crude looms and cruder yarn. Then, we had muslin that famously ran miles through a ring. Now, our Kancheepuram silk gives any ring a run for its money. Every nook of India brings out treasures that drape our ladies in yarns and styles that lend them a distinctiveness which is sometimes earthy, sometimes opulent, every fibre, always, inspiring deep sentiments in all who surround them.
We are rarely aware of it and there is no written rule to this effect anywhere, but there is always a story lying there in those folds which bear different names, each carrying a significance, all of its own. If the ghoonghat is demure incarnate, a bride’s jewel, a solemn lineage and sanctifies Indian deference, a mother’s aanchal* is the go-to panacea for all ail. It is an impenetrable fortress for the terrified ragamuffin hiding from impending danger, be it wicket-walloping off cricketing streets or a high volume domestic flare-up. This matchless power of a screen of fabric is deeply ingrained in every childhood memory in a generation that saw mothers as the first and last resort to anything. This palliative pallu fanned every heat away. It wiped all the tears. It was the antidote to every wound. And when a little girl decided, one day, to act all grown up, “just like ma”, she wound her mum’s sari around her little self and let the world know.
That’s the sari for you. An enduring identity. An essence of security. A paean to ethereal poise. And a quiet contentment that unites times. It was never just a drape. Sentiments are never so simple.