Of flowers and forgotten practices : Thank God, we're nearing Friday!

Two Fridays ago, I decided to create for myself – within my own structured wardrobe scheme – a concept called Friday Dressing! In the context of Hindu mythology, Friday is considered auspicious; a day when goddess Lakshmi is invoked, bedecked with the choicest of flowers in the choicest of colours and combinations. For nearly nine months now, ever since I built a little shrine for the presiding deity – goddess Kamakshi – at Kingsley, the signature studio for my brands, Kanakavalli and Ahalya, I have ensured the deity is adorned in finery and looks more radiant than ever.
In a sense, I was inspired by that ensemble idea; the importance to complete a particular look in the true sense of the word. For years now, our grandmothers, who wore saris, ensured they also wore flowers on their hair. It was a very simple ritual, an act that is as pure as it is beautiful.
Two Fridays ago, I decided to feel better than usual and wore a braid of yellow roses in my hair. The very next week, I found a gajra of vadamalli (purple flowers) and paired them up with a yellow kanjivaram; together, the contrast, was stunning. If social media is an indicator of people’s opinion, well, all I can say, is that there were more than many who loved what they saw!

It also made me think of how we have, and so easily, forgotten practices that were very much a part of our everyday routine and how these very simple acts in today’s context evoke a sense of amazement. At the store, as a ritual, we give women who are shopping, flowers to wear on their hair. And even though it’s a very traditional custom, women are so excited by it.
I wonder then whether we have forgotten systems and practices very ingrained in our culture? Or have we deprived ourselves of the permission to dress the way we’d like to, in a way that actually makes us feel beautiful, because we live in a social context where the sari has become an occasion-based affair, a go-to garment when there is a need to dress up?

If you ask me, I’d like to be totally unapologetic about thinking of ways and ways to wear the sari, especially the kanjivaram, to look and feel beautiful. I was at an impressionable age, a rebellious teenager at one point when my mother would insist I dress up because after all, she’d say, “I’m the one looking at you. Not you.”
As for Friday dressing, I already know what flowers I’m wearing next week. Tuberoses!

- Ahalya S 

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