“A thing of beauty is joy forever”
Other than the medical profession there is one overriding passion in my life and that is saris. I find it disheartening to see the sari slowly going out of currency. As I look at the women in the Kolkata—every day women, working women, girls going to college—one thing that has changed is the number of women wearing saris. I lead a busy life running from one meeting to the next and sometimes flitting between cities across countries. Yet, whenever I have travelled abroad, I have always tried to wear a sari. My creativity finds itself expressed through the saris I design. I wasn’t always this vocal about a sari. As I stepped out of RG Kar Medical College in Kolkata it became necessary to dress professionally and look the part. Before that, just like any other girl from Kolkata, we’d wear a sari on Saraswati Puja and Durga Puja and during weddings. A lehnga or an anarkali to a wedding used to be almost unthinkable! That it was a versatile professional garment only came to me later. When people say that they can’t wear a sari on a busy work day because they have lot of running around to do I don’t quite understand it. I think if you wear it enough and let yourself get used to it you could even swim in it!
Every state, even different areas in a states, make a different kind of sari. While designing saris I’ve played around with borders, embellishments and fabrics to create something different. That to my mind is art. A sari is a wearable art. In fact that goes two ways—not only is the six yards of fabric a form of art, it’s draping is also an art. In fact, the most common drape that you see today was actually popularised by one of the ladies of the Tagore family, Jyanadanandini Tagore, who taught women how to wear it so that it could allow more movement. One can drape it in so many different ways. A Dhakai or a Bengali taant is stiff with starch, a silk feels sensual, chiffon feels light, georgettes are heavier but drape well—they are all so different. I have one advice too the impatient Kolkata ladies who dismiss a sari saying it takes too long to wear and too difficult to master. Persevere. For nothing worth having is ever easy. And a thing of beauty is a joy forever.