Fuller Minds

Minds that are not always empty

Monsoon Festivals

What are the festivals in this season we would have ideally celebrated by going all out? If you are from Hyderabad, they would be Bonalu, Varalakshmi Vratham followed by Rakhi.

Bonalu is one of the few festivals, where ladies get dressed as if they are going to attend Jathara (Carnival). In this particular occasion, it truly is a jathara, the festival I mean. What with silk sarees with heavy work on their blouses. Here I would like to take a pause and write about the heavy work blouses. One disclaimer: I have nothing against them. Over the last decade, my liking towards them has gone down to zero. Mainly because we spend so much money on these silk sarees and as if that is not enough, we spend half the amount we spent on the saree to get the blouse designed and ask for all the glitter in the world on it. Now the glitter comes with a price. No, I am not talking about the price we pay for the workers. I am talking about the price, when you wear this blouse on just one occasion, which is enough to ruin your saree as well as your blouse. All the glittering material on the blouse rubs off on the saree and the silk is left with scratches.

Even the blouse, silk material cannot hold kilos of glitter on it. The material stretches with the weight and thins, it almost becomes thread bare. After spending so much money on the saree and the blouse, what good is it if we cannot wear it for more than one occasion? Having a couple of blouses designed for myself had taught me a valuable lesson: Do not go for work blouses, it is a waste of money!

Now, I don’t wear sarees as often as other ladies who are still quite obsessed with work blouses do. If I could see the damage these work blouses are doing to our silk sarees, why are they not able to identify this with their own sarees?

Well, I have re-cycled one of my old saree’s blouse for my cousin’s wedding. The saree in the below picture had decent amount of work on the original blouse, a decade ago when the trend of work blouses was still going strong. Not heavy zardosi but a fair amount of stone work went into it. It didn’t leave the blouse damaged. More so, I was kind of done with the entire notion of work blouses by this time. So, I went shopping to get a new blouse. This saree at the time of purchase was priced at around 8000/- rupees. To re-vamp the blouse, I took half meter raw silk golden yellow material for the body part which is priced at 350/- per meter and half meter pink silk border for my sleeves of about 1 foot in length was prices at 1250/- per meter.

The finished look, needless to say was very decent. And also the cost at which I had the new blouse done was about 1/4th price of work blouse. I have shared the costs of the material in this post, so you can draw your own conclusions about investing less money and reaping benefits for years to come. You can also use the same blouse for other sarees going with the same color themes or contrast. My one advice to people when you invest in clothes: make an effort to understand the worth of a particular garment before you buy it.

Having said that, will I ask you to throw away all the work blouses you have? Definitely not! Keep them safe, if they are still in good condition. You never know, that trend may come back yet again in the years to come. We don’t want to spend money on the same things twice do we? Let’s be smart about it.

Going back to the ladies and the way they dress for the regional festivals. Now that I have covered my opinion on work blouses, I would like to highlight about the sarees too. Now, Bonalu is festival, where you prepare a bonam and take it to the nearby temple as offering. When you have to carry the heavy bonam, why would you want to wear heavy silk saree and walk bare foot to the temple on muddy roads? Gods will not find fault, if you go in light weight silk sarees too. Since it is rainy season go for a dark color saree, just to save yourself from the grief of having mud stains.

And I think it is time that people understand the concept of minimalism when we get dressed for festivals. Hyderabad is known for many things and one of them is bangles. People living in this city show their love for bangles by wearing three dozens of bangles on each hand. Is it necessary? Definitely not! And it most certainly leaves a gaudy impression behind. Try the minimalism concept here. If you think two bangles are too less on your hands, go for six and start there.

Next comes the Jewellery, I know all of us have a lot of ornaments. But it will ruin the effect of jewellery if we wear all of them at once. Pair what you have with the saree you are wearing. Maybe two chains to go with: one small and one long.

All of this is for only Bonalu alone. When it comes to Varalakshmi Vratham, this time since all of us are still maintaining social distancing and will not get a chance to visit friends and family, it is a perfect time to go for a light-colored-light-weight-silk-saree, say plain golden with golden flowers scattered across the saree, in the border and pallu, like in the picture below. Just because you are staying home does not mean you cannot color up your attire. Pair your saree with a contrast blouse, bottle green, either brocade or simple buta (pattern) on silk material.

And Rakhi, all the sisters are already making plans to buy the rakhis online and send them over to their brothers. Does staying home and doing nothing require dressing up? If your answer is yes, then break into a salwar-kamiz for a change and relax, have a video call with your family and spend some virtual time with them.

This time around, I have used my own saree/dress collections in the post. Do share your thoughts if happen to try the color schemes and dressing hacks.

Saudhamini Mylaram

HR by profession. Reading has always been one of my favorite things to do apart from gardening, cooking and driving.

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