An ode to half saree


I nostalgically recall the memories of lehenga, choli with half sarees on teenage girls of yesteryears, which have vanished with the advent of salwar/kameez and jeans/tops, spread through Hindi cinema and TV networks.

The disappearance of the half sarees from the sartorial library of the southern belle is the biggest loss to the graceful elegance of the south Indian teenage girl.The half saree signified a budding woman, not quite formed stressing more on the bud than on the end flower.

There was a freshness of beauty when lehenga/choli wearing girl blossomed into a half saree wearing lass.The half saree was donned immaculately presenting the Indian grace of every girl. The gap on the midriff between lehenga and choli presented the elegance of a budding woman’s graceful sway of her gait; with the onslaught of salwar/kameez now there is no gap and as such there is no gape.

As we all know, even the benign Sita Devi, as depicted in the  serial ‘Ramayana’ attired herself in a half saree with dignity in the satya yuga and so did many queens and princesses of medieval India.

In the recent times, Scottish kilts were similar.One pleated a big piece of material by hand and then took one end over the shoulder. Only they wore it with a belt. In the west, they have changed styles from their Victorian/ Edwardian to hippies' style and to the current one.

Girls who wanted to catch up with the other cool girls and girls who wanted to come out of the supression were the ones who  discarded the half saree and embraced the salwar /kameez and jeans/tops. Sad, the half saree is gone.

When I think of the most authentic beauties, my childhood memories flashback. There were the genuinely beautiful lasses of high school and pre degree courses.They simply looked angels in the half sarees. It was the ultimate dress.

The replacement of half sarees by salwar/kameez or jeans/tops may be a matter of convenience; but, the loss of elegance, grace and essence invokes pangs of something lost.

But is this only an old man’s lament with the fond memories of the past or are there some girls who agree that they have suffered a sartorial loss?

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