Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sari :D

So because Austin's lazy, I still don't have the pictures from our last day of school, hanging out, and going to the Elephanta Caves. So, you all will have to wait a bit. Until then, you get to hear about my sari!

I'll explain from the beginning. This weekend was spent going through all of my papers from school and... throwing them away. I had a foot or more of paper when I was done and I gave it to my maid for recycling (she needed to make two trips...). But really, do you think I would keep all of those papers? In the U.S. I'm a bit of a pack rat and normally go through all of my things to see if there's anything I should keep. But not this time. As an exchange student, you can't afford (literally) to keep anything of little consequence when you're leaving. So gone was all my much suffered through notes and sheets which lead way to a sense of relief. I wish my friends the best of luck who are in IB but it was a very stressful year for me and I don't wish to repeat this academic aspect (although I did pass math! I got about a C which is fine with me considering...).

Anyway back to the sari. So on Sunday, because I had finished everything on Saturday, I had nothing really to do but was keen on some point trying on my sari and finding out how to fold it. This is very important because I didn't want to buy a sari and then look incompetent while trying to put it on in the U.S. My host mom though doesn't wear saris, only salwar kameez, because she finds it very difficult to put it on everyday and had enough of that in her younger days when it was required for female lawyers to wear saris in black and white. She also admitted to not being the best anymore at folding one so it was a blessing when her parents (my host nana and nani) came to visit Sunday afternoon. So about 15 minutes after they came, Nani came into the room I sleep in with my host mom to help me put it on. First I changed into the petticoat and blouse in the bathroom (they had to help with the buttons at the back) and then it commenced.


Getting into a sari can be very difficult, especially by yourself. You start by tucking in the end of the sari into the front of the petticoat (make sure you're tucking in the right end. The palu is the end that hangs off your shoulder and has all the embroidery while the end has nothing at all. From there you wrap the sari around you once, tucking it into the petticoat all the way. This is when it gets hard. You see, saris don't look long until you have the entire thing in your hands. And it's long. You start by taking the palu and deciding how long you want it down your back (or in front of you; there are two styles, Bengali and Gujarati: Bengali has the palu down the back and Gujarati puts the palu in the front. The Gujarati looks weird to me because I personally like the Bengali, but Gujarati is good if you wish to show off the design on your palu. It makes sense but still) and keep it on your shoulder while you do the next few steps. After you have decided this, make sure you haven't wrapped the sari around your ankles or flipped it around in the process. It is also good at this point to safety pin your palu to your blouse so that it doesn't move. Also it should be noted that Bengali palus go on your left shoulder and the folds also face the left (see picture). Now, you tuck in the palu where it is close to your petticoat and make it meet with the tucked in end at the front of your sari. You will now have a loop of fabric in front of you and you should take the right side of the loop closest to your body in your right hand. Grasp it so that the fabric is between your pointer and middle finger and between your thumb and fore finger (sorry, it's complicated). You then make the folds by inserting the fabric back and forth between the fingers mentioned (I'm having a hard time describing this. If you can imagine an air hockey game in which the puck is the fabric and the two players are your fingers, then I guess that helps). Just make sure you keep a good grip on the folds you have made so that it doesn't fall and your hard work is for nothing.

After you're finished making the folds, tuck them into the front of your sari/petticoat and make sure that all the folds are of equal length. Check to make sure this in general applies to your sari because, although it is usually the same color, it's awkward to see the petticoat underneath. If you find your work satisfactory, safety pin the folds to the petticoat from the inside so that is down unravel while you are walking (this is slightly more awkward...). Then voila! You're finished. I love saris and, although some of the current trends I don't agree with, they're a beautiful garment. It's funny but I have a picture of me when I was younger in girl scouts wearing some long piece of cloth wrapped around my like a sari for international dress day. It was quite a shock to find last year but makes me happy. Who knew that tying a girl up in yards of fabric and then throwing it around her shoulder actually looked good? I know buying a sari is not exactly practical since I am going back to U.S. (and even those other outfits) but I bet I can wear it to some weddings or even prom if I want to take the risk. I love it either way.

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