Six Yards of Memories
A quick search of #100sareepact on social media platforms springs up colourful pictures of women from across India in sarees, supplemented by a short description of what it means to them. It’s, as Bangalore-based
entrepreneur Ally Mathan puts it, “a celebration of the draped garment in all its glory”.
Last month, Mathan and her friend Anju Maudgal Kaudambi, started the #100sareepact, as a promise to themselves to wear sarees at least 100 times by the end of the year.
Mathan got thinking when she, with some cousins, inherited a few sarees from her unwell grandmother earlier this year. “Decades ago, my grandmother used to run a factory manufacturing incense sticks and would wear Kanjeevaram sarees to work every day. Today, we always wait for an occasion to wear them, especially if it’s not part of our dress codes,” she says.
After the pact, Mathan and Kaudambi constituted the hashtag so their pictures could be archived on the internet. In one month, #100sareepact has gone viral with hundreds of women chronicling the stories behind their jute, silks, designer and indigenous cotton sarees on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Last week the duo launched a website, 100sareepact.com, to maintain a repository of all the pictures they received. “Everyone who has an Indian connection, however remote, has a saree story. It could be a memory, a situation or even a feeling associated with it,” says Mathan.
The stories have poured in from all quarters, including from homesick NRI women and even men. “A man reached out to us with a beautiful memory of the summers he spent at his grandmother’s home in Kerala. She would dip cotton balls in cologne and keep them in her cupboard, and all the sarees would carry that whiff,” she says.
The duo have also started #sareedate, a platform where women — wearing saris — discuss legacies and stories.