Nearly 24 years ago, just as I turned 16, my mother bought me a kanjivaram sari – a copper sulphate blue with fine zari all over its body and a thin border. They say that every kanjivaram is a seamless weave of memories that we make our own. My first kanjivaram sari is a lot and more like that.
I have vivid memories of where I wore it and that feeling it evoked; my cousin, who is a dancer was performing at the Music Academy in Madras and that first kanjivaram became my garment of choice, letting me seamlessly become, in a sense, a part of the very ethos of the very classical event that celebrated the idea of grace and beauty.
14 years ago, when I consciously decided to dress always in a sari, my first-ever kanjivaram enjoyed the privilege of being worn, time and again, and has, as a result, acquired a character and a drape of its own, softening over time, re-inforcing my faith in the singular principle in the act of preservation of the kanjivarm – the more you wear, the better it will wear on you.
"As I recall my very first kanjivaram, I am filled with nostalgia and can't help but take a trip down memory lane. The copper sulphate blue silk that my mother bought me almost 24 years ago, now has many stories woven into its drape; a drape that has softened over time...This silver mirror, a gift from my grandfather, was precious to me as a teenager; tied closely to my love for dressing up and for all things of beauty. My memories of wearing saris as a young woman are inextricably linked to memories of my family. This photograph of my mother and me was taken at my brother's wedding. I must have been 22, still enjoying the thrill of dressing up in fine silks for special occasions. The kanjivaram, I believe, is considered an heirloom piece not only for its heritage value, but for its place in our families and in our hearts... becoming a repository of memories and stories that we hope will live on in its weaves, as it is handed down from one generation of women to the next."
What is equally interesting in the story of my first kanjivaram crush, is also the steadfastness it has shown in remaining true to its identity and yet taking on qualities and characters according to the way my own journey in aesthetics have evolved and matured. That evening to the Academy, I remember wearing the sari with a matching blouse and today, I team it up with an array of blouses in a slew of colours and textures. Life has changed a great deal since but like that first love that tugs at your heart, my first kanjivaram has never failed to impress!
- Ahalya S