April is a month packed with college farewells and farewells mean wearing sarees. Coming from a girl’s college, I see a lot of my peers fretting about sarees, safety pins, pleats, pallus, shoes, and whatnot. Needless to say, I am one of them. Having worn sarees a few times before, I can safely say that I know the major struggles we girls face with this specific garment. Here are a few of them.
The Dreaded Petticoat
To someone who has never worn a saree, a petticoat may seem like a harmless thin skirt you wear below your saree. But NO, it is the most painful piece of clothing ever. The string with which you tie the petticoat around your waist is equivalent to death. It has to be super tight, tight enough that you feel like you’ll pass out. This is because the saree has to stay put and god forbid your petticoat is loose, you’ll be entertaining the crowd with your funky bloomers. Note to self: wear decent underwear, precaution is better than cure.
Yes, the toughest part of donning a saree. The pleats, my lord the pleats. Do not attempt to pleat your saree on your own if you’re wearing it for the first time. Trust me, no one wants to see the end result. Try and you’ll be left clutching fabric in your hand and sobbing uncontrollably as your family watches. The pleats have to be even, crisp and goddamn perfect! God, the pressure! If you’re wearing it for the first or the tenth time, get someone else to do it. Honey, let’s be honest, you can’t, so just relax, have a glass of water, and let the expert do her job.
If you’re going to wear a saree, say hello to your new best friends, safety pins! You will need them for every step of the way. You want your saree to stay at your waist and not fall to your knees? Take a safety pin. You want your pleats to look on fleek? Pin them up. You want your pallu to stay on your shoulder and not your elbow? Here’s a safety pin for you! Ladies, these tiny metal friends are life savers. Buy them in all sizes before you begin your saree saga.
Where does the pallu go?
I struggle with this question. If you imagine it, the pallu looks normal on either shoulder, but NO, there’s a rule and a “way” of doing things. Apparently it is supposed to go on the left (I think) shoulder. Who made this rule and how does it matter? Does it have some underlying significance that I’m not aware of? Is yes, please enlighten me! Every time I try to wear a saree, it always bugs me as to which shoulder I need to put the never-ending fabric. Also, do you leave the pallu loose and flowy and pretend you’re in a Bollywood movie or do you pin it up tight and look like you’re ready to do jhaadu pocha? Where is the perfect balance? I can’t seem to find it.
Heels Heels Heels!
Ostensibly women must wear heels when they wear sarees because a) you won’t be able to manage all that extra fabric and may trip, and b) it looks good. For someone who is 5 feet 6 inches and wears boys’ T-shirts on a daily basis, this is very hard to understand. If I wear heels, the following two things will happen: a) I will look like Qutub Minar’s sister, and b) I will die. The only pair of heels that I own were an accident. I bought them for a school MUN in the 11th grade and have never worn them since. Seriously, they’re rotting in the cupboard. It baffles me as to how women walk in them and smile at the same time. Kudos to you ladies!