“A thing of beauty is joy for­ever”

India Today - - MY CITY BY - Ru­pali Basu is the CEO of Apollo Gle­nea­gles Hos­pi­tals. As As told told to to Malini Malini Ban­er­jee Ban­er­jee

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.

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