When I rewind and go back to take a walk down the saree wear memory lane, it takes me through some interesting and memorable moments. The first time I wore a saree was for a school function where I was to sing with two or three other students. We had to sing an important shloka from the Gita and we all had to wear plain color sarees.
Saree Wear: The First Time
Those were the days when I would rush to my cousin and best friend Bindhu for everything. After a lot of saree wear searching, we finally chose a peacock blue raw silk saree. The day I wore it, no one actually noticed it. My dad was working abroad. My mom is the one who dressed me in it and her worry was about how I would walk on stage without falling over. My sister had already gone to school. Bindhu stayed a little farther from where I stayed and therefore, I don't think I was able to show her the saree wear that day. In school, it may sound funny but it really wasn't. The girls could be exceptionally insensitive and cruel to each other while complimenting each other on their saree wear. So, that's my first saree wear memory and I can't stop smiling when I recall it because at that time, I felt deeply hurt and ridiculous that except for my mother, the world around had barely noticed.
Saree Wear: The Second Time
The second saree wear memory is unforgettable and it happened unplanned several years later in Puttaparthi. For Onam, all our family members had gone to Puttaparthi. The Onam celebrations in Puttaparthi are always grand and beautiful. That Onam, I decided to wear a saree.
There is a beautiful sandalwood color cotton silk saree that my mother used to wear. She had bought the saree in 1993 from Parthas, Ernakulam. What makes this saree stand out as striking is that it has a deep red brocade on the pallu and on the sides but the rest of it is a beautiful shade of sandalwood. My mother persuaded me to wear it and when I wore it, I got a lot of warm compliments from everyone in the family.
But for me what was even more special was that it was on Onam day and that too in Puttaparthi and most importantly, Baba saw me in it and He smiled in my direction. Later, He went inside to give darshan to His students and He came out after a long time. By then many devotees had left to eat the Onam sadhya but I was still sitting there waiting. By then, I was sitting in the first or second row. He smiled again in our direction, lifted his hand in blessing in my direction and then He gestured with hands as though asking, "Didn't you eat?" And the devotees laughed. I felt as though I was glowing like a star. Nothing mattered other than basking in his presence.
When I look back, I feel the joy of this all round love and memory even now. I feel that Baba - my all knowing, ever loving divine parent and guru - had made this second saree wear occasion truly memorable and special for me. After all, he is the One to whom I always crib and confide in. So He would have known how hurt I was about the first occasion. He made the second occasion truly memorable.
I still treasure that sandalwood color cotton silk saree. It has a very special place in my heart.