“We need women who wear sarees, not because they have to, not because they grew up in an environment that encouraged it specifically, not because they live in a place that accepts only that form of dressing and not because it suits their age. We need women who wear sarees because they feel great in them”, was the brief handed to me for this story.
I have one of these women in my house, who ceremoniously puts on 6 yards each morning and closes the event with the placement of a small bindi. A woman who wore the most enviable clothes and spent her youth looking displaced from the usual saree and salwar wearing crowd around her, till she started wearing them for work and never stopped. The rest of these ladies (and Alex, more about him below) were found through facebook and what a wonderful mix this was.
One thing I need to mention here and that is highlighted in the featured image of this story, is the noticeable cluelessness my mum felt initially on having met Alex and not knowing what to talk to him about, to finally breaking the ice and sharing a hearty laugh at his jokes and chatting in a corner with him, warmth slowly replacing her curiosity. It was really nice to see my mother go from having a set mindset to opening up and accepting, the presence and existence of a boy, whose profession entailed dressing up in sarees as a drag queen and performing, understanding that it too is a form of art and a drag queen, unlike in the movies possibly, is a regular fun human being.
The second feeling worth mention, was one I felt while watching Alex dress. He was in love with the saree and so excited to wear one and figure a nice wig and the perfect make up for it. He was slowly transforming into Mayamma, his stage name, with ease and a sure splendor. Wholly invested in the beauty of the saree and it’s exquisiteness, it was quite a sight, to watch Alex, a simple boy with the sweetest smile, go into the changing room and watch Mayamma, a confident lady with a bundle of jokes up her blouse, come out of that changing room. It made me feel that anyone could be whatever they want.
Maybe that’s what saree wearers find among themselves, a bond that transcends generations, a feeling of emanicipation. When I wear one, I feel like I just dropped a bomb and got everyone’s attention.
Photographs by Shivakumar Murugesan
Styling by Priyanka Khanijow
Make Up by Vishruti Vinay
Alex’s Make Up by Ajin
Editing by Jageer Singh
All outfits by Ajio.com
Story shot for Ajio.com
Wear a Saree and Take A Bow