Imperfections are marks of authenticity 

In keeping with Autism month, it’s blue!
But is blue one of the autism Colours? No.
The Colours of autism are red, blue and yellow. The symbol of autism is a puzzle piece.The Colours red, blue and yellow, represent the diversity of people and family living with this disorder. The puzzle piece represents complexity and mystery of autism.
So, then why blue? It is the Colour of an advocacy organisation, “autism speaks” in the US that Organises and sponsors extensive awareness, outreach Programme and autism research. A very highly controversial organisation as among activists, they tend to take on different perspectives. Other activist disagree with “Autism speaks” which tends to portray autism as a disease that needs to be cured, while other activist tend to view autism a neurodiversity .
Neurodiversity is about Recognising that individuals who are atypically wired, to be considered as a social category, just like gender and sexual orientation. This perspective promotes inclusion-focused services, assistive technologies, occupational training, and independent living support. These are one example of many discourses can create more awareness about a certain condition, not necessarily just autism.
Many argue that wearing blue or making statements doesn’t change anything for children and their families.

Yes, it doesn’t, and YES, it does.
I think awareness is fundamental and it starts conversations about things that matter. Conversations are the beginning of thought processes. And all change and action must begin with a thought or something.
You see, doing something is better than doing nothing at all. And nothing doesn’t change anything at all.
If these conversations doesn’t interest you. Fair enough. But why doesn’t it interest you? Is it because it doesn’t affect you? Would it be of interest if it affected you? Is there a possibility it would and could affect you (and yours) in some ways?
Btw, My saree, is handloom cotton silk with beautifully woven checks in rose gold and gold. While ironing my saree, I saw the little holes at the edge of my saree and thought I’d show you how “authenticity” can sometime be seen as imperfections. These holes are actually marks indicating that they were hooked on the loom. I learned from a Friend in the saree industry that powerloom sarees are nowadays “equipped” with these holes to mislead buyers into thinking that they were typical handloom sarees.

If  “Imperfections” in all that we see, we may miss appreciating the many authentic creations.

#thisloveaffairihavewithsarees #sareeblouseromance #autismawarenessmonth #handloom #inclusion #100sarepact

Nothing fishy about fish motifs on a saree!

This is a cotton Dhonekhali saree from district of Hooghly in West Bengal. With a thread count of 100 by 100, a dhonekhali is traditionally woven usually in pastel shades with heavy borders, sometimes continuing with the zari work and stripes. Dhonekalis are characterised by (notorious) horizontal stripes, jacquard weaving technique and if you turn to the underside of the pallu, there will be a “braided” ribbon of thread that runs vertically.

Thought, this fish motif weave would be appropriate, since it is the Chinese New Year. For the Chinese, fish (yu 鱼) when verbalised sound like surplus (yu 余) and it signifies abundance. Hence, the significance of fish decoratives, and yummy fish dishes.

I guess a dog-approved fish weave is double auspicious, since it is the dog year!

This drape took me to the temple today, to abundantly thank god for the good health, love and strength bestowed upon my family. A prayer to give thanks, is probably the most fulfilling prayer I could have ever done.

By the way, for the Bengalis, fish is an integral part of almost all their significant celebrations, from their weddings, baby’s first rice eating ceremony to their funerals. Let’s focus on just the weddings, since it’s fish on a saree. I learned from a Bengali Friend that, an adorned fish (yes! It’s a real one) is presented to the bride by the family of the groom on her “Gaye Holud” ceremony, along with her wedding trousseau. Gaye Holud is a ceremony where turmeric is smeared on the bodies of the bride (& groom, in their respective homes) by family members and relatives. The fish is wrapped in saree, smeared in turmeric and decorated with sindoor and jewellery. This ritual is called “Tattva” Fish symbolises good luck and prosperity,  and this ritual signifies the groom’s family good wishes for the bride’s happiness as she begins a new phrase of life as a Wife. Similarly, gifts that arrive, the entire trousseau, such as the sarees, Jewellery, sweet meats are all presented in the shape of fish! I am in love with the Bengali culture really!

Fish dishes take centre stage in the final feasts organised for the bride and groom before marriage, and in their celebratory feast as man & wife. Also, a Bengali bride must first look at a decorated fish when she steps into her new household.

So, there is nothing fishy to find all sorts of fish motifs on weaves from Bengal!

Our Sarees come with a story, and they continue to weave our stories of love and life as we drape them ❤️ Support handlooms, handwork, authentic art form. Support the weavers, the artisans and the Art! #iwearhandloom #thisloveaffairihavewithsarees #100sareepact #dhonekhali #sareeblouseromance #bengaltaant

Consciousness; Unborn, formless, but omnipresent 

Ganesha is the Ajam- unborn,
Ganesha is the Nirvikalpa- attributeless,

Ganesha he is Niraakaar – formless, 

Ganesha symbolizes the consciousness which is omnipresent.


Look at those eyes… 


Then, why this elephant- headed god? 

Ganesha was not born to Parvati. He was moulded out of out of dirt by Parvathi, and she proclaimed him her son, and for this reason, Ganesha is born out of pure love and in  & through the hands of his mother. As the story goes, Parvathi had asked Ganesha to stand guard while she took her bath. When Shiva returned, Ganesha stopped him at the door, not knowing that he is the Supreme. To cut a Long story short, Shiva chopped his head and Parvathi was devastated. 

The head need to be replaced and child brought back to life, or face the wrath.. The head can only be replaced with someone sleeping with the head pointing to the North, and at that moment they could only find an elephant. With the elephant head, Ganesha’s rebirth, is celebrated as Ganesha chathurthi. 
The chopping of the head, symbolises removal of ignorance and ego, which does not allow a human to rationalise or discriminate the right from wrongs. The elephant head symbolizes wisdom, humility, and knowledge which is one of the hallmark of a human, yet is most untainted by ego and ignorance in animals. Scriptures refer to this as Gyan Shakti (power of knowledge). We believe that with wisdom, life’s pursuits become effortless. Have you seen an elephant walk around the obstacle? In reality, they are known to move  their obstacle, and spur on. 
The huge belly symbolises generosity and total acceptance, the single tusk symbolises focus and commitment to our duties in life, the upraised hand symbolizes protection, and the downward hand symbolises endless giving with the humility that our lives are, but temporary; we will all leave earth as dust one day. 
So, as Hindus when we worship Lord Ganesha, these qualities within us are kindled and we take on these qualities. 

 

Ganesha symbolizes our consciousness which is omnipresent. This is the Energy that is within us, and let’s be single minded on the purpose of our lives as we celebrate Ganesh Chaturti. 
Traditionally, this day is celebrated over ten days. A Ganesha made out of clay is brought into the home and through “homams” and chanting of mantras, the the energies within us is invoked. Along with Ganesha, Gowri (is manifestation of Sakthi/Parvathi) is worshipped. Gowri vridam is performed as “Mangala Gowri” by Hindu women (mostly Telugu women) for good life and prosperity. (This is also the meaning and significance of my name😉) Fasting is usually observed during this period. Each day, the clayGanesha is worshipped and mantras are recited. At the end of the 10 days, the clay Ganesha is sent off to the river/ sea, symbolizing the removal of all obstacle as “he” embarks on his journey to kailash. This is no longer practised due eco consciousness in many parts of the world. 

My little hand-made Ganesha at home. I hope to do the pooja for  at least 3 days before sending him to kailash. 

When I knew I was going to have a son, I knew I had to name him after Ganesha. After all, he is “Gowri putraya” and that is how I found the lovely name “Dharmhik” from one of the slokas, while reading about Ganesha. Dharmhik Is a Sanskrit word which means, “he who leads man to the path of righteousness or dharma” and as a Hindu, this is a reminder of my duties. Whenever I face challenges, especially with my son , I remind myself of what this name means and I spur on. 
Hence, all Hindu mantra will start with this sloka, which will gather the energy in us to complete all tasks ( even if it is a pooja)
Vakratunda Mahakaya

Surya Koti Sama Prabha

Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva

Sarva Karyesu Sarvada
 Translates as the following: 

Salutations to the supreme Lord Ganesha, whose curved trunk (vakra-tunda) and massive body (maha-kaayaa) shines like a million suns (surya-koti) and showers his blessings on everyone (sama-prabhaa). Oh my lord of lords Ganesha (kurume-deva), kindly remove all obstacles (nir-vighnam), always (sarva-) and forever (sarvadaa-) from all my activities and endeavors (sarva-kaaryeshu)
Hindu society

And my saree, is an authentic kalamkari art piece that has gone through the 23 steps that is required in making a proper kalamkari piece ( not screen printed). Something about a kalamkari, gives me the same impression as a hand-me- down saree that comes beaten and full of experiences. This one has lovely images of Ganesha with the most childlike expression. Take a closer look and you will notice little imperfections that are characteristic of an authentic piece. I chose this piece for that simple midnight black, and that childlike, playful expression depicted by the artist, With me is my lovely fellow saree enthusiast who is in a more intricate kalamkari silk, with vines, flowers and leaves all over, and energetic dancers, holding dandiyas at the borders. We were not dancing, but our hearts were upbeat! 

What a beautiful day it was❤️

Our Sarees come with a story, and they continue to weave our stories of love and life as we drape them ❤️ Support handlooms, handwork, authentic art form. Support the weavers, the artisans and the Art! #iwearhandloom #ruthra #thisloveaffairihavewithsarees #100sareepact #kalamkarisaree #ganesha #sareeblouseromance #hindulife 

What which lulls my heart. 

I teach and train for a living. 
Who do I work with? 
I work with leaders who work in educational settings, who make decisions that impact children in their early years, principals and senior Teachers in early childhood settings, early childhood educators who 

 aspire to make a difference in the lives of children they work with, educators who are trained but want to do more for themselves and the children they work with, individuals who have exhausted their passions in the fields that they have spent most part of their lives and energy and now seek some meaning in their lives, business minded individuals who think it’s a place to invest, young adults who are still findings their place in this massive world, women who have raised children as well as who have never had children, men who want to disregard and maybe explore this part of themselves or their place in this social, cultural and economic environment, and people who have no idea what they want to do with their own lives or the children they are about to work with… (this is not an exhaustive list). Regardless of who they are, my work involves teaching the knowledge, skills, behaviour, attitudes and dispositions that is needed for these individuals to work with children and their families, directly or indirectly. And a huge part of this work, involves inspiring people who can’t find it or who have lost it. 

This is what i do for a living, one of things that set my soul on fire, one that I have been criticised for years, for the low social status that early years practitioners have, and more so, for what we make every month. 
Every single person I have taught, or trained, come there because they know there is “future” in early childhood, but not all come with an appreciation for children in their early childhood phrase, and even lesser with an appreciation for the early years (birth to 3 years of age), not to mention even remotely aware that working with children encompasses working with their families as well. 

“What can you do with infants? They eat and sleep most part of the day” 

This is by far, the most asked question, besides, “how much can you earn?” 
The early years, is the most vibrant and dynamic stage of an individual’s life. Positive and negative stimulations at this stage have enduring, life- impacting repercussions where learning, development and personality is concerned. 
So, when my boss approached me to speak with “ethiroli” about training for infant educarers, I was so disappointed with myself because my language proficiency in Tamil fails me miserably. There is so much I wish to advocate for the early years and people who impact and influence the quality of care and education of young children and their families. It would have been easy to say “sorry, I can’t because I am not good in Tamil”, like what I had done many times before. But, if I die tomorrow, I would regret for not being a voice, however small it was going to be, or however bad the language was/is. There is something incredibly liberating when you think about death and endings. Hence, my audacity to speak it in the best possible words I can ever find in my limited Tamil vocabulary. I am proud of this. At the same time, there is something deeply disheartening about harbouring my disability in my own language. This will change. 
Next time you see me, if you speak Tamil, challenge me to do so. I have never had the opportunity to learn Tamil in my early schooling days, but I learned to read it when I was 16. Twenty years later, I am inspired to speak it like a pro! 
I’ve wrapped myself in a 6 yards of confidence and calmness quite literally, as it’s a quiet black handwoven cotton with hand block prints of Buddha on the drape and his words in my thoughts, 
“We are what we think . All that we are arises from our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world”
I had briefly, in a moment of shame and self- doubt speculated the possibility of a blackout, which is a rather bizarre thought. All well, just be forgiving, pls 😬
On an adrenaline charged day, I sought comfort in the familiar. That well-worn blouse which I wore on my convocation day and few other formal occasions, and my black cotton drape are what I would call, friends for keeps😊. Now, when I reach out for this drape, there is another story added to the “anthology”
Our Sarees come with a story, and they continue to weave our stories of love and life as we drape them ❤️ Support handlooms, handwork, authentic art form. Support the weavers, the artisans and the Art! #iwearhandloom #ruthra #thisloveaffairihavewithsarees #100sareepact #handblockprint #handwovencotton #sareeblouseromance 

 

Laksmi or Alaksmi?

Yesterday, was varalaksmi Vridam, another auspicious day in the Tamil month of aadi. I, woke up at half past 5, serve breakfast get the kids to school and went to work, where did my best to complete a little project with my colleagues, that I have been delegated. We worked, completed the job,came home to finish up some other work and took my TGIF breath of relieve. 
Did I do any special pujas? Nope. 

Am I proud of it? Nope. 

Am I guilty? Not at all! 
Varalaksmi vrindam is traditionally, for the lady of the house to observe prayers for health, wealth, strength, learning,peace and love for the entire family. Ladies, usually adorn themselves in silk saree and Jewellery as these are believed to be synonymous with goddess Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and everything auspicious. I like these things, but being the “Lakshmi” of my home, I do what would bring my family all the above that a varalaksmi vridam pooja would have served, in my opinion. Is this a substitute for the pooja? Nope. One can always do better. 

 

In my household, the Lakshmi takes care of herself, and she keeps herself happy. How can you rub happiness on your children if you can’t find your own? And you know how just draping a saree makes me immensely happy and rejuvenates my soul with renewed energy. So, I pulled out a khes (recycled saree, cheap and full of character) that has printed owls and clipped my favourite owl brooch gifted by my children to work. Why owls? Curious animals.. 


Today’s story is about the owl, is it bad or good? 

Long ago, during a battle, when Genghis Khan’s horse was shot, he ran and hid under a bush. His enemies knew that he was hiding, and while trying to locate him, they saw a barn owl perched on a tree by the undergrowth where he was hiding. When the enemies, saw an owl sitting there, they didn’t even bother to search anywhere near, because of what Owls represented, which is death, evil and everything negative. It is believed that after that incident, the owl found its way to their emblem, because it saved the great Genghis Khan’s life!  
In the Panchatantra there is story that narrates about a fight between the crows and owls. In the end, the owls are burnt, nests and all by “clever” crows. Indians who practise black magic kill owls during Deepavali to ward off evil or to gain magical powers. Villagers are known to kill owls for their meat as they believe that it would cure diseases. 
In the Western World, it’s a good bird! It is a symbol of knowledge and wisdom, and the owl appears in the emblems of educational institutions, book stores and publishing houses. In Greece owls are associated with Goddess Pallas Athena/Minerva, the Goddess of wisdom. 


The Bengalis consider the owl auspicious and it represents goddess Lakshmi, 

Goddess Lakshmi and Chamunda have owls as their Vahanas (vehicle, can be taken as “symbolic”). Some literature say that, the owl is “alaksmi” the unfortunate Sister of Lakshmi.


In Shiva purana, Alakshmi is Kali, the fearsome facet of Shakti, and Lakshmi is Gowri, the lovable aspect of Shakti. 

In Vishnu purana, Lakshmi upholds dharma (acts born of justice) while Alakshmi upholds adharma (acts born of exploitation). Thus Lakshmi and Alakshmi are two halves of a complete whole; in another literature, Lakshmi is described as fruit that is savored while Alakshmi is comparable the waste in the fruit, that is discarded. The crux of the matter is, the two exist as a whole; without either there is neither.

As hindus, we belief that both are crucial

For our sustenance, in upholding dharma. We recognise that life brings us to negative circumstances where alaksmi is needed to overcome it. That’s why Kali is worshiped as well. Worship of only one in extreme is considered to be detrimental. This is a difficult concept to understand. Some take this quite literally and divert their energies to rituals of workship, and forget to assess their acts of dharma and adharma. In my opinion, practice of rituals and prayers alone does not make you a Hindu. Practice of prayers and rituals, without deep understanding of the values in our actions or its significance is ignorance. Hinduism is not an Organised religion that has a definite system to teach its values. It has some fundamental principles such as dharma, karma, truth, Brahman, and Vedas as the guiding authority to guide us. And all of interpret them, in our own ways, abilities and limitations. 
And in my limited knowledge, I feel that Varalaksmi vridam is a day for me to be contented for all the blessings in my life. Alaksmi will reside where there is arrogance, stinginess, greed, jealousy and ego. One can have Material wealth and still live in poverty. Spiritual thinkers describe this as ‘scarcity mindset” (not enough) and the inner turmoil and lack of peace as signs that “alaksmi has chosen to reside. So, this varalaskmi, let’s all strive to achieve a feeling of thankfulness and gratitude. Alakshmi can only be kept at bay by Saraswathi, who is symbolic of sound knowledge and good judgement. You would think, I don’t need a religion for this. You don’t, these basic principles of humanity; Hinduism. 

Our Sarees come with a story, and they continue to weave our stories of love and life as we drape them ❤️ Support handlooms, handwork, authentic art form. Support the weavers, the artisans and the Art! #iwearhandloom #ruthra #thisloveaffairihavewithsarees #100sareepact #Khessaree #owl #laksmi #sareeblouseromance #hindulife 

Adi Perukku; Water or Husband for Sustenance? 

This I promise, is not going to be  as controversial as it sounds, no, you really don’t have to make these kinda choices. 

18th day of the Tamil month Aadi ( mid july to mid august ), usually falls the 2nd or 3rd of August every year, is also known as “Padinettam perukku” – ‘Padinettu’ means eighteen, and ‘Perukku’ means rising. Its monsoon season in India during aadi perukku ; water levels rise and Hindus belief that water is pure and are blessings for abundance from the deity Amman. 

Adiperukku, is essentially a South Indian festival which was traditionally a water-ritual, celebrated by women to honour nature. Water is considered primary life force and is associated with key life sustaining properties. 

Aadi is also the month for sowing, rooting, planting of seeds and vegetation as it is when its most conducive. The sowing that starts in Aadi will be harvested in Thai ( mid January), during Makara Chakranti commonly known as Ponggal. Hence the Tamil saying, Aadi Azhaikkum, Thai Thudaikkum; what’s planted in the month of aadi will be harvested in Thai (You may correct me here..) 

Mulaipari is a significant ritual that is celebrated in conjunction to the sowing of seeds wherein,  9 types of Grains or ‘Navadhanyam’ are grown in a clay/ mud pots which women carry on their heads to the rivers. There, the contents are dissolved” in water. This ritual is to seek the blessings of the of village goddess for rain and fertility, in the form of rich harvest. The deity, “Amman” will be adorned and brought along this elaborate procession. Before the start of the procession, ladies often perform what is known as the “kummi pattu”. The involvement of women for a beginning is considered to be auspicious and it is also associated with fertility and sustenance of human race. 

There is a belief that young girls who do the puja of offering Kaadholai (earrings made of palm leaf), Karugamani (black beads) and Kaapparisi (a sweet made of hand pounded rice and jaggery) will be blessed with good husbands. 

However, I’ve observed that this day is celebrated differently by different families and mostly, it is seen as a day that is exclusive for married women to pray for their Husbands. I beg to differ on this. One should pray for one’s Husband Everyday for health, well-being & more importantly to withstand love and wrath of the Wife that comes abundantly, each day 😉. This is key to enduring marital bliss… 🙃😜
I do know, that this is often seen as an opportunity to celebrate domestic peace, and marital bliss. My memory of this day, is of my tata (grandpa) adding another gold coin to my archi ‘s yellow string of mangalyam. How profound And so romantic right? 😍
Since, it’s a water festival I chose a Ganga – Jamuna bordered cornflower blue cotton linen saree to visit the temple today. Borders of different Colours on each side are referred to as Ganga Jamuna to imply “opposing forces”. I got reminded how countless hindus head to these holy rivers for spiritual cleansing. 


This saree, is all about comfort, rustles like a feather and drapes effortlessly, is totally willing and pliant ❤️and, is perfectly accessorised with carefree, joyous light hearted handmade pom-poms. Clubbed appropriately with saree blouse of a bunch of blossoms capturing all the Colours of the saree. It’s very much like how I feel inside about not having to worry about what fasts to observe to be a dutiful Wife, and rituals to be done, in compliance with this auspicious day, while questioning the quality of life. Today, a visit to the temple was all I needed.  It was true to the spirit of wanting to do only what makes sense, and mostly was also about being thankful for all the life sustening forces around us. 

By the way, there is an interesting story about the Ganga Jamuna rivers and that calls for another post with me in a different saree😉

Our Sarees come with a story, and they continue to weave our stories of love and life as we drape them ❤️ Support handlooms, handwork, authentic art form. Support the weavers, the artisans and the Art! #iwearhandloom #ruthra #thisloveaffairihavewithsarees #100sareepact #Linen #gangajamunaborders #sareeblouseromance 

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure; Matka silk 

This stunning drape is Matka Khadi silk. Matka silk has a characteristic uneven, texture to it. When making high quality sarees, only the shiniest and the most lustrous part of silk is used. The first and the last parts of silk are often discarded. Usually this “waste silk” is burned or dumped in a landfill. So the others who couldn’t afford the shiniest of silk, decided to make the best of the waste. They took the “waste silk” and yarn dyed them in two different colours. Then, the two Colours are intertwined to make one yarn. Fabric weaved with this kind of yarn has a signature tweed-like finish. Khadi is hand- spun on Charkha. We spoke a bit about the khadi, Gandhiji and the charkha. A special place for Khadi. 

(Saree Sutra – https://gowriblogdotcom.wordpress.com/2016/09/18/a-special-place-for-khadi/


Besides, being handspun, and later hand- woven, this piece is so special for the beautiful story that the weaver had crafted on the pallu and the borders. 
Each time I glanced down at the pallu which I laid on my lap, I kept thinking of the many stories that the weaver was narrating with his yarn and loom. To think of how rich the “waste silk” is now, that’s the irony of life. Matka khadi silk sarees are not the cheapest of silks. The workmanship and the craftsmanship makes the end product highly prized. 

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, isn’t it? 

And one more thing abt khadi, the fabric has the magical ability to keep you warm when cold, and cool when it’s hot. I can’t quite wrap my head around this concept, but Matka silk is pretty awesome for “waste silk” 

Our Sarees come with a story, and they continue to weave our stories of love and life as we drape them ❤️ Support handlooms, handwork, authentic art form. Support the weavers, the artisans and the Art! #iwearhandloom #ruthra #thisloveaffairihavewithsarees #100sareepact #Matkakhadi #sareeblouseromance 

A Choice is not always a voice. 

This cobalt blue khes saree has many stories to tell. We’ve spoken about khes sarees in the past (https://gowriblogdotcom.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/reduce-reuse-recycle/)

Yes I bet, the Long neck image of women on the saree did not escape your notice.

Before we even talk about someone else’s culture, here’s my disclaimer: culture and tradition, whether it’s benign or malignant depends on who you are within the community as an individual. I do not wish to comment on the culture or tradition, but I wonder if the women had the simple right of choice, to unshackle those rings off their necks, if they so wish to. And if they could make a choice like that and not worry about suffering the dire consequences for making such an intrinsic choice.


The image on the saree is of Ndebele women, from south Africa and Zimbabwe. Married women of the Ndebele tribe are required to adorn themselves with copper and brass rings to symbolise their status in the community and loyalty to the Husband. The number of rings on the neck is an indication of husband’s wealth. These women wear them permanently and only take them off after the death of their husband. 🙄what an enormous pain in the neck. I know that some of these men, have more than a couple of wives. In that case, do they divide the number of rings amongst the women? This is obviously one of the reasons why I am as single as ****. I sometimes May ask questions/ or too many questions.
Scientifically, the rings do not stretch the neck. Instead, the weight of the rings collapse the collar bones, upper ribs, giving the illusion of a much longer neck. Is it painful? Pain is relative. After some time, the rings become an integral part of their bodies, I suppose. Numb,  I reckon is not a feeling or sensation. 🙄

There is also the Karenni women in Thailand, Burmese borders who practise this. The Karenni tribe is the second richest in Thailand, because each year, tourists get to these spots to take a few pictures of themselves with these “human giraffes” (as they are known)🙄. With these lucrative economic benefits, unshackling may not even be an option. Will it be easy to make intrinsic choices?
As I drape, i thought a lot about the strength of women and their devotion to those dear to them. Being rather voiceless, is a choice women make, some say. While it’s a simplistic view, it may well be the case, sadly.

But the piercing on my upper lip, is a choice I made, because I want to. There is no profound reasons for it, just like draping a saree. A choice. And these type of choices may be uncomfortable for some, for some reason.
Our Sarees come with a story, and they continue to weave our stories of love and life as we drape them ❤️ Support handwork, authentic art forms. Support the weavers, the artisans and the Art! #cottonrecyclesarees #ruthra #thisloveaffairihavewithsarees

#khessarees #100sareepact #sareeblouseromance

Perfectly imperfect but authentic 

While picking a saree to drape to watch thenali a theatre production by Atipathi, I thought about the many thenali Raman tales, and how entertaining the stories were. How could one forget the vikadakavi (jester poet)? So humorous, witty and yet wise.. how perfect! Nope, he was uneducated n yet, he became a wise scholar later! As expected, it was an evening of laughter and a truly authentic theatre experience, amazing effort, even with the meagre resource that they had to work around. At some point, I realised some truly unexpected glitches on stage added to the humour. My Daughter who watched it for the second time said to me, “oops that’s not part of the show!” when the wig of a comic character fell off! And after all that she asked me that night, “wow, they are allowed to make so many mistakes?” 


And that’s when I grabbed the bull by its horn and said, ” why not? It’s ok to make mistakes. And that’s the beauty of theatre productions! You knew the “mistakes” only because you watched it a second time!” 

This morning, she said, “even I can try then?” 

“Yes you should!” 

The costume and flow of language was from another dimension quite literally! That was tough Tamil! Little Daughter lamented that she couldn’t understand the words but followed the story line. The teamwork, confidence, energy, enthusiasm and mostly passions definitely radiated through the scenes, and was beautifully projected across to the audience. the interactive parts of the play definitely gave the audience an intimacy and connectedness to the characters. Most importantly, it gave young children a sense of possibility, transcending the fear that one commonly associates with stage and live performance. This to me is true beauty authentic performing arts! 

Since thenali was from the state of Andra, I thought why not pick this pure chenuri silk in authentic pen kalamkari. Like authentic stage performance, my saree is sufficiently peppered with imperfections for me to know that it is indeed a true pen kalamkari piece with natural dyes, and not chemical dye with screenprinting. 


Mine is a black and off-white piece. Black dye is made with pieces of metal scraps & sugar that are placed in a mud jar 6” below the earth. The jar must be kept tightly closed for 21 days for the black color to develop. And as for the off- white fabric, it is soaked overnight in cow dung and water, in a mud pot. Cow dung has natural bleaching properties, and also enables the absorption of natural dyes. 

Was it smelly? Not smelly but it certainly retained a strange smell, which I didn’t take to too well. Airing, ironing and finally a few drops of Coco-Chanel fixed that! 
Our Sarees come with a story, and they continue to weave our stories of love and life as we drape them ❤️ Support handlooms, handwork, authentic art forms. Support the weavers, the artisans and the Art! #iwearhandloom #authenticweaves #ruthra #purepenkalamkari #thisloveaffairihavewithsarees 

#100sareepact #sareeblouseromance 24/100 

The Black Conundrum 😊

#Throwbackthursday is all about that conundrum with the colour black. I have met more than a handful who would go, “Oh no, I don’t wear black sarees”. Here’s a little anecdote about an intimate friend of mine. She is dressed in a simple black saree in this photo. 

She said to me some 6 months ago, “I don’t wear black. when I got married, my Mother-in-law said to me that they don’t wear black because it’s inauspicious” End of discussion. End of instruction, I meant. This is almost all our stories. 


The thing is, her mum-in-law passed on some 21 years ago. A few months ago, she bought a lovely black saree for her daughter . Then, I of course, asked her, ” but I thought you don’t use black sarees” Then she cheekily replied, “I don’t stop my Daughter from using black. What’s wrong with wearing black? ” and without waiting for a response, she went on to put together an immaculate and splendid ensemble for her daughter. I was hushed, but engulfed with admiration, and at the same time felt deranged for asking that question, as I watched her unruffled expression as she went about her ‘business’. Her choices for her daughter were liberal, while her choices for herself were…. conservative? No. The word is “conforming” 
Then, one day, I asked her why didn’t she consider of using black even after her mum-in- law’s passing? She said, “may be, I will” 
Some months later, last weekend, she appeared in this lovely black saree, looking effortless and elegant, with her partner. We never spoke much about this, although she highlighted to me that it was a milestone, 34 years in marriage. I said to her “breaking barriers” . I must admit it was uttered quite unthinkingly, and naively. That’s how, we sometimes miss the point. 
In retrospect, I don’t think it’s “breaking news barriers”. It’s more about “relationships” and how women construe and transcribe their lives around these relationships. Guys, aren’t you glad women are as not as rational, explicit and uncomplicated as you often wish them to be. But, let me qualify that, this is not exclusive to women. I am sure men make their fair share of adjustments too, (besides, you wouldn’t want to stir a tempest), and appraising women, doesn’t really mean triviliasing the men ☝🏽️

Relationships affect people in the most mind boggling ways. And I wonder if this taboo about black is about the Colour or people who instigated sentiments about it.
 Many associate black to being inauspicious and attribute it to religion, Hinduism. The Bhagawad Gita delineates that all creations encompass 3 qualities (Guna); sattva (purity-balance, harmony), rajas (passion- dynamism, egoistic), & tamas (imbalance-disorder, inertia, ignorance). Culturally, 3 colours were used to symbolise these qualities. As it turns out, White for sattva, red for rajas and black for Tamas. Hence, I suppose the aversion to black. 
Would adorning yourself in black make you evil, bad, ignorant? Must we really avoid black? That’s seems too simple-minded to me. It’s all about aura perhaps. Aura? That oval-shaped sound, energy and vibration that envelops all living things. Psychic energy, as it is known for humans. More recently, they have special cameras that can be used to view these aura. Psychics can see and feel these auras and they are able to read information about one’s past, present and future. So, obviously different Colours of aura, signify different attributes. Going by psychic interpretation, black has the pulling and transforming energy & it can indicate an unforgiving nature to life, past, unreleased anger, grief or even health problems. Feeling a little implicated here, given my inclination and fancy for black. 😬

Black is also so special for the very reason that there are just too much of symbolisms, beliefs, myths and even facts associated with it. Some argue that black is an absence of Colour, so technically, it is not even a Colour! Some defend that since Colour is a pigment, black is a Colour. From the Colour of Egyptian Anubis as the protector of death against evil, Hindu deities depicted in black, black belt awarded in martial arts to indicate highest level of expertise, Colour for the royalty and people who held high importance in post classical history in Europe to Colours associated with high fashion in modern day! Then we have the Romans who associated black to death, and mourning, witchcraft in North America ( not forgetting the black cats, dogs and even birds!), to black as a Colour of anarchism. Phew.. too many things clouding my mind now, from the venomous black mamba to deadly black widow 🤔
How can I not fancy Black?! 

No amount of history, science, literature, or spiritual knowledge can dampen the ingenuity of an artist, artisan. To an artist, Black may well be the Queen of Colours!. 

Like a #littleblackdress that’s an essential in every wardrobe, for me it’s that #blacksaree. If unsure, wear black and dilute it with white and that’s my mantra😉(can’t guarantee a less forceful effect though) 

What’s your black saree story? 

Our Sarees come with a story, and they continue to weave our stories of love and life as we drape them ❤️ Support artisans and the Art! #iwearblack #authenticweaves #ruthra #thisloveaffairihavewithsarees #fancysaree #100sareepact #sareeblouseromance