I am outraged. I am hurt. I am helpless No it is not the politics, Nor is it the performance of the Indian Cricket team. It is much more existential than that. It is the slow death of that uniquely Indian attire. The six yards of cloth, that adorned Indian women for centuries. Usage of Sari is very much on the decline across India, more so in the cities. Onslaught of salwar-kames, jeans, gagra-cholis and assorted clothing have replaced Sari form its preeminent position till the 80's.
This is not a debate about western cultural influences in the post-liberalized India. Neither is it a middle-aged man's case to ogle over the female anatomy. Before casting any such aspirations, let me tell you. There isn’t anything in this whole wide world that can give women the grace and beauty of that long strip of unstitched cloth. There is something angelic and out-worldly about a lady draped in a Sari. That is probably why Indian iconographers painted our Goddesses in a sari, except in some recent overtures of M. F. Hussein who had to pay with his blood for that. And who can forget Indira Gandhi, the iron lady who ruled India for a long time. A lot of Indira's persona had to do with her saris. The crispy white ones during the election campaigns and colorful organza prints when at the world stage. She could carry immaculately amongst the likes of Khrushchev and Kennedy with that drapery. Apparently Mrs. Gandhi and her friend Pupul Jayakar were patrons of good weavers from the Hindi heart land, just like Jaya Jaitley and Brinda Karat in recent times, who make the normally boring evening news so adorable.
Now for some random statistics. In a poll taken in one of Banglore's upmarket malls ( absolutely abhor them), I could only see 1 out of 50 women in the 20-50 age group who wore a Sari. These numbers might be skewed since age itself is morphable by modern technologies like face lifting and silica. But you get the drift. And now with these other dresses every maiden looks like they are churned out form an assembly line . Each one looking like the other. The same denim/khaki trousers, the same black tops. Even the hairstyles look similar. It is not only Banglore's landscape that has that has changed. The girlscape too has been distorted. A friend who came back to Banglore (B2B) after 10 years got absolutely bored after a roundtrip across Brigade road and some malls. And this is not just B'lore alone. India metros are slowly becoming populated with replicas. That is why occasional trips to Kerala where the grass is green and sareefull is such a relief. Hope it stays that way. Atleast there is a place to retire.
There are can be lot of arguments against a Sari. The most common being that it cant be a daily wear. Ladies ...............My Grandmother who retired as a Headmistress wore sari to work for all of her, 30 year career. You could try it once a week to bring some fresh air to that clustered rate maze at office. If you can wiggle into that choking lycra top every other day, sari is a cakewalk. And for the revealing bit less said the better. I mean.. look at any PYT on the road and you can see the subtle placement to hide less and show more. And since when did Indian Women hide into a cocoon. We are the land of Kamasutra and Natya Shastra where the navel of the Supreme Being is considered to be the source of life and creativity. The sari atleast can give you flexibility based on your mood. Drape around when you want to appear demure. Casually throw it when you want are on assault mode and project oomph. I am sure it can leave your prey speechless.
I am not positive... But I have made my noise. If you want to give the Sari an unceremonious death let it be. But generations to come would curse you for destroying a piece of art that could make a beauty of every lass.