Intimate sari session
It’s been a while since we have had a chance to go shopping, the second wave having drowned everything in fear. But even as the city prepares to unlock slowly, many shoppers will not be in a hurry to venture out, and many stores and boutiques, in their quest to survive, are taking to social media and doing live sessions showing off their stuff.
Chancing upon live sari sessions on Facebook was an experience. They seemed a new performance art.
The presenters wear a sari sometimes, but make-up always, often finishing it off with a pout. There can interminable minutes of her looking into the camera, adjusting her hair and practising a demure smile as more patrons join in. The setting is mostly inside a shop. Jamdani seems to be the flavour of the season. Heavily worked anchals are shown with a flourish and a sales pitch. “Just look at that work! Isn’t it pretty!” Usually the watchers will ask about colour options or price.
I was struck by the familiarity with which the presenter can address her patrons. Hello Kabita Ma’am, Rupali Aunty, Arunima Boudi, she says at the first meeting. It creates an immediate sense of intimacy.
Then the performance. Sometimes the sari is worn in front of the camera, to show how it will sit on a body. It’s fascinating to watch the nine yards being managed in front of a phone camera. The intimacy deepens. The wearer is a pro. The border, the anchal, the body of the sari fall in place with a certain grace. Full-throated “oohs” and “aahs” follow from the watchers.
Sometimes the camera is propped up at a certain distance from the model to enable a full view of the ensemble. At some point the wearer will come close to the camera to show off the motifs and saunter back. And all the while the talk goes on: “throwaway price”, “straight from the looms of Phulia”, “vibrant colours”.
The attendees are hooked, they want more. Jamdanis, Patolas, Kanjivarams…it’s almost like a sari mela. And then, either they go for it or say no, firmly. That is also fascinating to watch, the lure and the rejection.
Will life ever be the same again after the pandemic? I have a feeling not.
Despite body positivity and self-acceptance, you dream of that magic figure, perfect for every dress?
But if you are a little more flexible and accept the truth that there is no one, no, not even Deepika Padukone, who is perfect, you can take the next big step, helped by Vogue.
Just forget the size, it says. You are an L? Go for 2XL. 6XL.
We tried this. Wore a belt around the waist. Let the shoulders droop, the sleeves hang. Didn’t look bad at all. We looked like ourselves. And we felt free of our usual worries, of our curves heading the wrong way. We felt free of the tyranny of size.