The showstopper sari
A pact to wear 100 saris in 2015 has gone viral:
Stories are tumbling out of wardrobes these days. Happy, sad, funny,
nostalgic and quirky stories, all straight from the heart. Many women
are rummaging through their wardrobes in search of those tales. Each
saga comes wrapped in six yards of material woven in looms in different
corners of India.
Ally Matthan (left) and Anju Kadam started the 100-sari pact
to encourage women to wear the sari more often.
Thanks to an inspirational idea that was unwrapped by Bengaluru-based
friends Ally Matthan and Anju Maudgal Kadam, the sari has become a
medium for narrating anecdotes, mostly by women, age no bar.
The fabric of this great Indian story is woven by women who have worn
a sari at some point in their life.
The threads of the story began in a conversation between two friends
who were wondering of ways to wear the saris that they, like many of us,
hoarded in their wardrobes but seldom wore.
"At present, there are many of us who wear saris only during a
The saris remain in the cupboard during the rest of the year, unworn
and unseen. That was when we hit upon an idea. We decided to wear a sari
on 100 occasions in 2015. That was our pact," says Ally.
Then Anju and Ally had a brainwave. They decided to invite friends
and friends of friends to join in the pact. All that they had to do was
send in snaps of them or their relatives or friends wearing a sari
accompanied by a little tale about the sari they were wearing. Thus was
the 100sareepact begun on March 1.
And the photographs and accompanying accounts have come from all
kinds of places. People dug up albums, old saris and memories to write
about their kinda sari. While some linked their saris to special
occasions, others wrote about memories that a sari evoked.
While some highlighted the design and weave of their saris, others
recalled the places and the people who were connected to that sari. For
some it was about legacy and heirlooms; for some it was about feelings,
emotions, sentiments...the way they felt while wearing a particular
sari. Graduation day, weddings, birthday gifts, anniversaries, a
pick-me-up sari to get over a divorce, bangle ceremonies.... The
anecdotes open many doors to Indian life, culture, traditions and more.
It takes readers and viewers into the hearts and hearths of Indian homes
"For many of us, saris and moms go together. We remember our mothers,
the special saris she used to favour, her usual attire, the aroma of her
saris, the feel of the texture... Saris evoke memories, some odd, some
comic, some sad but all memorable. We invited women to use the sari as a
medium to tell us a story. It could be a story about the sari you are
wearing, about its weave, its design, the tale behind its purchase, the
special occasion it was worn... there are so many. The basic idea was to
revive elegant dressing," says Anju.
Hundred saris a year involves wearing a sari at least twice a week.
The friends add that it is not the ostentation value of a sari or its
pedigree that matters but the fact that women are wearing it and
enjoying the process of draping themselves in six yards of style.
In the process, some of their friends also stumbled upon archival
photographs and articles on many pioneering women who went about their
tasks in saris, including women pilots, doctors, teachers, socialites
and so on.
"Also, I am a story teller. So it doesn't stop there. An instance, a
memory, something quirky, or just how you are feeling wearing it. Tell
us your story by hash tagging the post #100sareepact and tagging us,"
writes Ally in her post.
Before they could say sari, their Facebook page was packed with
photographs of women wearing saris of all kinds and in different drapes.
"For those who don't wear saris, men and women, the sari is most
definitely part of your psyche too. Tell us stories related to saris
that you remember from your life and the women in it. Add a photo,"
The duo say they can't wait to see their Facebook each day to see the
narrative that women are weaving together."There are common threads
running through the sharing, and that commonality, of belonging to a
narrative that unfolds, has been our most delightful discovery...There
is something magical taking place here," writes Ally.
They add that wearing a sari is also talking about colours, beliefs,
prevailing prejudices, complexions and many other nuances that make up
the warp and weft of our lives. Ally and Anju plan to archive and
document these stories and snaps in a website www.100sareespact.com that
is being built. As the pact goes viral the friends are thrilled that the
sari is the centrepiece of the conversation. "We are not selling saris
or jewellery. All we want to do is see the sari being worn by more
people," says Anju.
- The Hindu