About a year ago, my husband and I got the chance to travel to India for a wedding. While there, I took the opportunity to do some research for my Drake’s Rakes series. So far Grace and Harry Lidge both lived there. So I hunted down the places they would have lived, and I interrogated every person I came across about the unique customs I saw, the exquisite art, the opulent architecture.
I came home with a bonus. My sari. I had planned on getting something made from the delicious fabric that is sold from every fourth storefront, I swear. But I had been strongly warned away from saris. “Western women are forever getting into trouble,” I was told. “They don’t know how to put on a sari, which means it tends to fall off at the worst moment.” I wasn’t about to challenge fate.
My hostess refused to listen. She wanted me to wear a sari and have my hands painted with henna for the wedding. When I told her of the cautions I’d heard, she told me she would have a ‘western’ sari made for me. So, two days before the wedding, she took me to the tiny town of Rourkela where we visited a fabric store(she almost couldn’t get me back out. I swear I heard angels sing in there). Once I picked out my material, we walked across the street to the local tailor, and she asked him to make me a ‘western’ sari.
I know. You’ve probably never heard of a western sari. Trust me. Neither had the tailor. He, his staff, and my hostess spent half an hour tugging material around me and arguing. But they must have come to some conclusion. He promised the sari for the next day.
Personally I consider him and his staff genius. They constructed a sari that includes an elastic waist and a zipper so the skirt wouldn’t fall off. And unless I undress, you can’t tell. Even if I say so myself, it looks great. But then, I contend that every woman looks beautiful in a sari. I’ve made it a point to wear it when I can, simply because I love it so much. And because I’m not the one who has to wash and iron it myself.