A Saree Story #SundayBlogShare

The other day I posted a photo on Instagram


Yes, that is me, all glammed up for an engagement party we attended.

Aside from all the lovely compliments I received, someone mentioned the colour of the saree, and how lovely it was.

I replied that the story of my saree could be a post of it’s own so here goes!

Way back, before the days of me planning to get married, my family went to Kenya to to attend a wedding. It was the wedding of my cousin, my mum’s niece. My dear maternal grandma was still around at that time, and she decided to open one of her trunks (a special occasion indeed! Nanima’s Sandookh(trunk) contained some beautiful treasures!) to gift her granddaughters.

She pulled out some plain chiffon lengths. They were 6-metre sarees, of a quality that is not seen nowadays. One was black, and one was a lurid orangey/peachy colour, Kind of like this . Add a bit more fluorescent orange to it and you get the picture/colour?

Image result for fluorescent peach

Well, my other cousin chose the black one, and left me sitting with my sweet smiling grandma, and a fluorescent saree. I was never one to complain, or to get my way, if it meant conflict, so I gratefully took the fabric, hugging my darling Nanima too.

Little did I know that I wouldn’t see her after this trip, as she passed away. I handed the saree to my mum for safe-keeping. Even she giggled a little, looking at the colour!

Fast forward to my wedding planning, and shopping in India. I had my wedding outfit planned in my head, and we had spoken to a tailor about that. WE had bought two lengths of good quality chiffon in black and a pale gold, which I was getting embroidered so I had some personalised sarees. After choosing the patterns, my mum flung something else on the shop counter.

Now to set the scene, shopping in India is a whole other world. If you are from a rich family, or from abroad, it is pretty cool. Basically you get treated like royalty! There will be outfits, fabrics and accessories that materialise from God knows where, if they know you are going to buy! The boys in the shop are experts at tying sarees, and becoming live mannequins too, so if you want to know what something would look like, you need no mirror, just your eyes!

You have sofas to sit and lounge on, cold drinks are brought for you at your request, or a cup of chai. and if you were spending enough, and coming in regularly enough, there was food too! It is wonderful to come into an air-conditioned shop after the heat of the Delhi summer, and to have refreshments waiting, bliss! ( The family at this shop were lovely! They even invited us to their home for dinner, and took us out! Yes, we did spend quite a bit with them!)

Anyway, at this particular shop, where we spent the most of our time, and money, mum decided to bust out the orange saree! I had almost forgotten about it, but the colour brought the memory of who gave it to me flooding back. I looked at mum and felt a little teary. I wanted to have something like this from Nanima to remember her, but for the life of me, I wasn’t going to wear that colour!

Mum asked the man what he could do with this, expecting him to show us some interesting designs of embroidery that would make it more acceptable to me to wear. He looked at it, looked at us and said “Good quality chiffon. Why don’t you dye it?”

Dye it!

What a great idea! Why hadn’t we even thought of that? That meant I could still have the fabric from my Nanima, and I would have a saree that I could wear happily too!

My Hubby Dearest, hubby-to-be at the time, had one request, when I had asked him if there was anything I should buy, clothes wise. A dark blue saree.

So the choice of colour was made! We then decided on a same colour flora sequinned pattern which was hand sewn and the saree above was created!

It has been 16 year since that was made for me, and I have worn it on and off. Each time I do, I remember Nanima.

When my mum saw the photo she said ” That saree was nice, which one is that? When did you get it?” I answered her in disbelief! “Mother, can you not remember? Nani’s orange monstrosity?? We dyed it, didn’t we?”

Then it came back to her. She was happy to see me still wearing it too. (Glad it still fit me, to be honest!)


So there you have it, the story of my Nani’s saree!

Cinematic Experiences Bollywood Style!

We have just spent a lovely evening, my parents and I and my two children, at the cinema, to watch a Bollywood film. I am a firm believer in exposing my children to experiences from their home culture as well as the country they live in.

The movie in question, Dilwale, is a new film, starring two very huge actors from the industry, Shahrukh Khan, and Kajol, a pairing that has seen many successful films made over the years.


December 2015

I always love a good Bollywood film, and after a series of comments with a fellow blogger, Syl, I thought I would share some experiences.

Now going to the cinema here in the Western world is one thing, an evening of popcorn, soft drink, and a good film.  The cinematic experience I had in India… on a WHOLE new level!

It has been a good 18 years since I have been to the cinema back home, and I know that, since then, multiplexes, like we have here, have sprung open all over the large cities.  Multiscreen cinemas with bars, restaurants, and bowling alleys, all that sort of thing.  But I can’t help but think the civilised nature of these modern places dulls the atmosphere that there would be in the old style cinema halls.

If you know anything  about Bollywood, you will be aware that to watch one of these films, you need to be prepared for around 3 hours of singing, dancing, drama, comedy, colour, and a whole lotta costume changes!  Luckily for me, I love all of that, and when I got a chance to watch a film in the cinemas back home, I was so excited!

Actors are totally hero-worshipped, and it is not uncommon for people to watch the film many times. This means that when you go to see a film, undoubtedly, there will be some who are saying all the dialogues, alongside their hero or heroine of choice, and when the music is on, the crowd can go wild!

We saw films in Delhi and in Chandigarh, in two quite different cinemas.  In Chandigarh, it was an old Aerodrome that had been converted into this HUGE cinema, and we watched a film that was a very popular at time choice, Border, which was about the Indo Pakistan border, and about the lives of the military personnel there.

Being in the Punjab, and watching it, there was an extra buzz, and the atmosphere was electric! We were sat in the best, air conditioned seats, above many others, but down in the stalls, you could see the fun happening! When a popular song was on, people were singing, and some even dancing in the aisles! When there were emotional moments, or fight scenes, there were voices calling out, telling the characters who to give what for. In general it was quite a civilised experience.  Where there had been queues, people had queued, and there wasn’t a crazy rush to get in.


The Delhi experience… totally different!

By that I don’t mean it was worse, but we saw things from a different view that time! We arrived at the cinema, 4 women, and there was a huge crowd, waiting to buy tickets. The jostling, pushing and shoving, gave many perverted males a chance to grab handfuls of butt, or try and touch women, and after a few moments of this, my aunt who was with us, went to the security guard, slipped him some money, and got us into the foyer before things officially opened! (It was an easy thing to do there!)

We were unable to secure the best seats, and ended up in the stalls, but not right at the front.  This time we went to watch another popular film from that time, Virasat. I loved the music from this film, and to be in the midst of an audience who ate, slept, breathed Bollywood, it was brilliant! If I wanted to sing along, out loud, I wasn’t going to be stared at by anyone, because they were all doing the same thing!

I didn’t get to see this, but I know they can erect huge outdoor cinema screens too, near villages, where there isn’t a cinema, to allow folk from more rural areas to see films!

Cinemagoers watch a Bollywood film inside a tent cinema in Pusegaon

Cinemagoers watch a Bollywood film inside a tent cinema in Pusegaon in this undated handout realised on February 4, 2010. Cut to a far-flung district in western Maharashtra state, where thousands of farmhands attending a religious festival crowd under giant marquees to watch another movie, on another, similar makeshift screen, a few weeks later. REUTERS/Amit Madheshiya/Handout

Back to today, the film was great, I loved it!  But, there was no singing happening, just avid viewing.  The seats were much cleaner, the snacks more appetising, but the atmosphere nothing like the cinemas in India!

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