That Unstitched Length Of Cloth•
Posted on May 29 2011
Anywhere in the world, the first image, when one is asked about an Indian woman is of someone clad in a single piece of that eternally fashionable and elegant drape. It is rare to meet someone anywhere in the world who has not heard of the sari. While some might not know its name; show a picture and they would immediately say, “India”. Quite naturally, the sari has come to define Indian womanhood.
The word itself originates from the Sanskrit ‘Shati’; meaning ‘strip of cloth’ and is a corruption of the Prakrit word of the same meaning – ‘Sadi’. The garment is as old as Indian civilization itself with its history being traced back over 5000 years to the Indus Valley civilization. From the sculptures found in the Indus valley to the oldest poetry in Tamil, the sari is known to have held an eminent and integral place in the history and culture of the land.
As widespread and common it is, the sari refuses to become standardized in any way whatsoever. Every region and individual has perfected a particular style of wearing a sari. The length and breadth of the cloth also differs in every place and culture. Almost every region has a particular pattern or design unique to it. Through all these differences, it still manages to envelop the country in one expanse of shades, textures and designs. This uninterrupted stretch of cloth has been and continues to bind the women of this country together. In a few casual twists and turns, it brings on to the same pedestal the elegant street-side food vendor and the Bollywood glitterati.
It is indeed a grand, grand invention. And the innovation caries on…
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