Sarees Sarees Everywhere

traditional silks at RmKV

Silk sarees of different kinds

Silk sareesare given a unique status in Indian weddings be it north, south, east

or west, and an Indian bride’s trousseau is considered incomplete without one.  Sarees for marriages are chosen with a lot of care. In fact an auspicious day is set aside for the purchase of wedding sarees and displaying them is a small ceremony in itself.

Each silk saree carries a legacy of art with it, while it is cherished and passed on to the future generations.

The type of silk saree could be a Kanjeevaram, Banarasi, Paithani, Patola, Tanchoi, Pochampally ……  There is indeed a big list. These saris come in a mind-boggling variety of textures, colors and designs, all woven on silk.

Each type belongs to a class of its own, depending upon the region where it originates.  Here are some details of a few of them.

pure silk sarees made in Kanchipuram

The traditional Kanchivaram silk - available at http://www.rmkv.com

Kanchivaram

Kanchivarams are saris from south.  These saris are well known for their texture their bold and bright colours, and zari borders which are worked entirely with silk and gold thread.  Weddings are synonymous with kanchivaram saris.  Every woman at a south Indian marriage will turn out in some variety of the Kanchivaram.

Banarasi

Banarasi saree

The very special traditional sarees from RmKV

A Banarasi is to a north Indian bride what a Kanjeevaram is to a bride from the south.   There is hardly a north Indian bride whose trousseau does not include a Banarasi sari.  It is considered  customary to include one.

Weaving of brocades with intricate designs using gold and silver threads are the speciality of the Banarasi sari.  They can be quite heavy sometimes if the patterns are worked throughout the entire length of the sari.

Jamawar Tanchoi

The Jamawar Tanchoi is an off shoot of the Banarasi.  Adopting patterns from Kashmiri shawls, they look extremely elegant in their  intricate patterns.

Paithani

The Paithani Saris even today follow traditional methods of weaving.  Painstakingly woven, sometimes a Paithani sari can take a couple of months to be made depending on the pattern.   Originating in Maharashtra, it is believed that there are references to the Paithani sari in some ancient poems and stories.

Patola

Patola Silk Sarees from Gujrat are one of the finest varieties of handloom silk. Geometric designs with folk motifs are characteristic features of the Patola saris.  Patola is one of the most difficult forms of weaving, as the threads for the weft and warp are dyed separately for the desired effect.

Zardozi

Zardozi work on silk saris is quite common at weddings as they lend grandeur to the sari.  Worked with gold and silver threads and artistically embroidered with kundan sequins, these saris are particularly favoured for their art and trendy appeal.

The common feature among all these saris is not just the intricate designs, flamboyant colours and the silken texture but their durability too.  After all, wedding saris are not just made for a lifetime – but to outlive it.

Eco- friendly wedding – Is it really possible?

RmKV and wedding go hand in hand

Eco - friendly weddings - Is it really possible?

A little thought and a conscious effort would certainly go a long way in

making a wedding celebration worth its while.  The expenses could be made more meaningful if a little thought is attached to it.

Take wedding cards for example.  So much glamour is associated with it

which we could actually do without.  An invitation on hand made paper or even recycled paper would do the job just as well. Another option would be to use the electronic media.  This would definitely save a couple of trees.

Jute bags can replace plastics

We can have re-usable bags made of Jute

Formerly ‘tamboolam’ bags were made of a type of yellow cotton cloth, which was quite versatile in character.  It served as a shopping bag to some, while for others it was a bag which held important documents like the ration card. Yet others used it as a bag for vegetables. Some even used it as an overnight travel bag. It always came in handy when the need arose.  The bag was reminder that it was originally a tamboolam bag at some wedding.  Today plastic bags have replaced them and we tend to throw them away without a second thought, as there are plenty available.

 Tamboolam bags made of cloth at weddings would really be welcome.  Though this would take a little effort to get it made and it might turn out to be a litt

le expensive, but it would certainly serve its purpose of not harming the environment when disposed.

The usefulness of the plastic bags with sealing facilities can certainly not be denied.  These are used to pack sweets or small gift articles and are thrown the moment the contents are removed. These bags are used not just at weddings but even , at homes as storage bags. The thrown bags if collected would form mountains nearly as high as the Everest!    Taking years to disintegrate, being non- biodegradable , just imagine what it does to the environment!  We could definitely choose alternate ways to replace them.

Another wastage that occurs at weddings is in the department of food   Plas

tic bottles are provided with drinking water, which are thrown away meaninglessly after use. Potable water could also be supplied in paper cups as was the norm before the arrival of these small plastic bottles.   Some would disagree pointing to the colossal use of paper, but at least when thrown these would easily disintegrate in the soil, unlike plastic.

Tamil South Indian wedding food

Weddings in South India

Similarly food served at weddings does go waste as there is a considerable variety of items which some may not be able to do justice to.  One option is to limit the variety. But this is a matter of individual choice as most feel that weddings are occasions to indulge.  When items are in excess, and cannot be consumed all at once, a separate leaf plate (made of paper, or a variety of leaf or small paper cartons or any such container made of a bio degradabl

e material), could be provided to keep aside the sweets and fruits and other edibles for later consumption.

Left over perishable food after the celebrations are over, could be distributed instead of throwing it away.There are organisations which take food and distribute it to the needy. This requires a little effort on the part of the hosts to anticipate such moments and act accordingly.

 

One area which requires fore- planning is transport.  People going to the same venue could actually organize and plan their travel together.  This would

not only save on travel expenses and fuel consumption but would ease traffic on roads, may be a little.

No doubt weddings are expensive affairs and pleasing families and friends can be quite a challenge.  But it’s all done in good faith.  A little thoughtfulness is all that is required to make expenses worth it.  In spite of everything, the most important aspect of weddings – the marriage vows, blessings and good wishes, costs absolutely nothing.

The Resplendant Bride

The D Day arrives for the bride

Preparing for your wedding

Your special day and you need to look your glowing best….

Here are some tips on how to go about it in the simplest yet most effective way.

It’s a good idea to pamper and indulge yourself a couple of months in advance so the glow shows not just superficially but right from within you. What’s the best way? A balanced diet, plenty of fluids and plenty of rest. This goes a long way in making the face look refreshed and rejuvenated.  Using moisturizers is often  an added way to keep the skin healthy and well hydrated.

A few days before the event – go in for that special facial that is meant for brides only.  There are plenty available- diamond, gold, silver, pearl to name a few, but pick the one that suits your skin type. This decision is best left to the professional in charge. Most often facials are done a few days prior to the occasion so the skin settles down to a natural glow.

On that special day –a little make up is going to help you achieve that striking look. Again like everything else the art of make-up keeps changing with changing fashion.  The current flavor is all about subtle and matte finish that not only looks good but stays on for a long duration, since south Indian weddings, especially Hindu ones, are long affairs and if the makeup is very heavy it will tend to run down.  Foundations according to the skin colour applied with the right strokes evenly highlight the face.  This is further accentuated with eye make-up ( which includes liners, eye shadow, mascara for the lashes) blush-ons and lip colours. Usually pastel shades are best suited for the day. Some shades of eye shadows are matched with the colour of the attire.  If it’s blue, then a little blue eye shadow will enhance the look. Bolder colours with a dash of glitter are best suited for receptions or parties held at night.

What about hairdo’s? Elaborate hairdo’s are passé. For religious events (e.g. Muhurtham) traditional hairstyles with artisitic hairgrips attached, are still the accepted norm with a little twist to the floral arrangements in the hair depending upon the trend.

And finally the saree!  Worn with the right accessories the saree is what transforms you into a GORGEOUS bride. 

Voila ! Now all eyes are on you……

The Plantain Pandal

I’m the plantain tree in my greenest best, tied to a post outside the pandal.

South Indian Hindu marriage

A typical South Indian Hindu marriage

My companion and I stand on either side with our leaves spread proudly. We are about to witness a Hindu South Indian wedding.  Just ahead of me is a beautiful kolam drawn to welcome the guests (who actually take no notice of it).

The guests walk in in their finest clothes, while the reception committee readily greets them with a sprinkling of rose water, which a young man deftly dodges. Flowers are offered to the lady whose head is already decorated with a few ‘muzhams’ of jasmine, and is quite at a loss as to where to place the freshly acquired one.

Inside the pandal , relatives of the both the bride and the groom walk the length and breadth of the hall fetching the hundred and one things that the priests are demanding for the ceremony, while guests get acquainted with each other once again recalling the previous wedding where they had met.

The lovely silk pavadais from RmKV

Elders sit in the front row, complaining loudly that weddings are no longer celebrated the way they used to be in their times, and how the people from the bride’s side did not bestow them with the appropriate welcome – this well within earshot of some of the bride’s people.

Little girls in their fairy-tale paavadais exchange notes on the stories associated with them, while little boys run all over the place, paying absolutely no heed to their mothers’ strict instructions ‘not to run around

’.

Gentlemen take their seats and begin animated discussions on the current political scenario and ladies in their pattu sarees congregate in all corners of the mandap, catching up on the latest gossip. Some are taking mental notes of the sarees and accessories of the ladies walking past while passing a severe judgment on the neighbors’ sister’s, sister-in- law’s, mother in law.

On the dias the bride’s father greets all and sundry with a grin, hiding the anxiousness within that all should go well and well within the budget, while the bride’s mother smiles mechanically, mentally stressed that she had left behind the present to be given to the to-be mother-in law’s mother-in law – the most important member of the groom’s side.

An award winning saree from RmKV - Aiswarya Pookal

An award winning saree from RmKV - Aiswarya Pookal

The groom looks handsome  in his muhurtha veshti and angavastram, waiting for the bride as she walks in resplendent in her Aishwarya pookkal saree.  The groom now ties the thali while the notes of the nadaswaram and thakil reach their highest peaks, as though contending for first place in ‘who can drown out the other’s noise’.

The audience moves to the dais jostling with each other to bless the couple with a shower of akshata and flowers. Some do manage the task while those

behind try their best, while some others, unable to reach the couple, miss their aim and instead shower their blessings on the heads of the people in front of them. But never mind, it’s all accepted in the right spirit.

People now turn to the queue leading to the lunch hall, as traditionally no sooner is the muhurtham over, than there’s a beeline for lunch. The lucky ones get a seat, while the not-so-lucky ones have to wait for the next pandi.  There is seeming chaos in the dining hall.  The old man in the middle row does not stop the server from placing all the sweets, in fact two of each type, on his plantain-leaf plate, while his wife sitting opposite is glaring at him.  He is all prepared to indulge with no one to stop him.  The little boy at the far end looks longingly at the ice cream which his mother has placed out of his reach.  His mother sternly insists on him finishing his meal before the desert.

The mami seated at the end of the last row wants rasam, which the server promises to get instantly only to find him serving sambar in the opposite row.   The gentleman in the middle row is already late for office.  He leaves in a huff not heeding the requests of the attending host to have at least some payasam.

Lunch over, people bid the hosts good bye, picking up the ‘tamboolam pai ‘as they leave. I too bless the couple and leave them to their fleeting moment of privacy while I bid farewell to the guests, with a wave of my frond.

Did I mention the groom’s friends who had come from overseas to attend the wedding?  They were simply overawed and wondered how a solemn occasion like marriage could actually take place with no semblance of order!

Nevertheless, it did take place: the boy and the girl were happily united in holy matrimony to the accompaniment of loud music, much noise and chaotic disorder.