The Saree journey of Jola

I have a pretty interesting journey when it comes to my love for sarees. The big credit for that goes to my mother who herself is a big saree enthusiast.
My mother, like any other Indian lady in the 1960s and 1970s, wore a saree on a daily basis. Considering those days it was nothing out of the usual back then.
I still have fond memories of her sarees which she used to wear back there were not many in her collection of sarees but each of them were specifically designated for any special events, workplace or for general use.
I recall her referring to synthetic sarees as “Poonam ki saree” and there was a specific orderliness in her collection of sarees for an instance Vimal sarees for day and night draping, sarees that were made out of fabrics like starched cottons and kota sarees were for office wear, whereas on the other hand silk saree, Banarasi saree, kanjivaram saree, and Tanchoi saree were meant for important events, special occasions, and festivals.

Unlike today’s times re-wearing a saree was not something to be embarrassed about.
Sharing your collection of sarees among your sisters, daughters, friends e.t.c. was a source of honor.
These small gestures made so many fond memories and beautiful moments among each other that were cherished for a very long time.

As is human nature, watching everyone around me in saree did not make me curious to know more about this garment. During my childhood days, I gravitate more towards western attire. I used to wear western attires in several events that I used to attend. It was only in events such as farewells,cultural activities at school or college that I wore my mother’s saree.

When I got wed my mother carefully selected my bridal trousseau. She added Mulberry silks, Kosa silks, Kanjivaram silks, Tanchoi silks, Banarasi silks, silk tissues, South silks, and so on.
But as i was quite distant from the charm of this garment so I was apprehensive and simply wanted to look at a few chiffons and georgettes by overlooking those beautiful sarees.
It was because of Yash Chopra ji and his lovely ladies Rekha and Sridevi that i got curious about Chiffon sarees and Georgette sarees.
I began wearing silks after entering the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, New Delhi, because see-through sarees do not appear appropriate or decent in intellectual and scientific settings.
That, however, was the turning moment for me. My senior colleagues, scientists, and mentors (all of whom were women) used to observe and appreciate my mother’s choice of weaving techniques and talked about the designs present on my sarees, and we used to talk a lot about it.

After being publicly appreciated a lot for my choice of sarees I felt incredible. It was the acknowledgement I received from my peers that I finally got interested in sarees.
I, too, became interested in Indian weavings, artistry, and valuable legacy.
It transported me to another universe. That was the beginning of my six-yard affair.
My wardrobe transitioned from western apparel and synthetic fibers to Indian dress and natural fibers such as silks, cottons, and other natural fibers.
It was a drastic change from machine-made garments to handcrafted garments.
Literally what I feel is that draping a saree is a form of meditation, and it is unquestionably beneficial.
I can’t express my sentiments and love for sarees in words, just like any other love my love for sarees can be summed up in these two sentences-
सिर्फ़ एहसास है ये रूह से महसूस करो
प्यार को प्यार ही रहने दो कोई नाम न दो
Film : ख़ामोशी


– Dr Jola Dubey

Agricultural Scientist & Philanthropist

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