Saree-ya Thavaraa

(For the Tamil challenged, the title is a pun on “Sariya-Thavaraa” which means “Right or Wrong”)

Innovation interests me. Especially in the areas of hidebound tradition where change is treated like a jeans-wearing, kitchen-avoiding, thaali-not-wearing-all-the-time daughter-in-law in a Tambram household.

And what can be more traditional than a Saree. A 6-10 yard piece of exquisitely woven cloth that is considered to be the quintessential Indian dress for women.

And who can be more qualified to pontificate on Saree Innovations than a guy who prefers to spend less than 10 minutes at any store hawking products made from boiled-alive-Bombyx-Mori?

So I present, with consultation from my better half,

The Jalsa Guide to Saree Innovations

Chennai is the hotbed of saree innovations. And Sri Kumaran stores is the source of most of them.

1. Jodi Pattu

  • a.k.a (in Tamil) The “Enna-Vilayaadriya-idhellam-podamudiyaadhu” Saree-shirt combo
  • a.k.a (in English) The “You-have-got-to-be-kidding me” Saree-shirt combo

The concept

Once upon a time in Kanchipuram, a weaver working with Sri Kumaran Stores designed a killer pallu but realized that it was way too long. Then a brainwave hit him like a Tsunami on drugs and he thought, like a popular Bappi Lahiri song goes, “vy naaat. vy naaat” and went on to stitch a shirt out of the extra pallu material. And Lo behold,


The verdict

Interesting idea. While the notion of of wearing anything in silk, in Chennai, as Prabhu points out, is 9/10 in the Richter scale of Earth-shaking Ridiculousness, the idea is certainly novel. A Mills-and-Boons novel perhaps

2. The Landscape Saree

The concept

Legend has it that a conversation among weavers in Kanchipuram once went,

W1: Hey. I want to create a new revolutionary saree design ya

W2: (stubbing out Kaaja beedi) Romba scene vudaadha (Don’t think of too many fancy things)

W1: Scene? Aaah. Idea.

Thus was born the Landscape saree.


The Verdict

Not bad. While trees-flowers-mountains-rivers are ok, I would like to see more urban landscapes. How about a panoramic view of Ranganathan Street?

3. Denim Saree

  • a.k.a “The Howdy-Pardner” Saree

The concept

Weaver watched a Tamil dubbed version of “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” on Vijay TV? Possibly.


The Verdict

Sri Kumaran needs to answer the following critical questions before I give this one a “buy” verdict.

  • Do I get belts in different colours too? And the hat?
  • Does the horse come free? (And the saddle?)
  • When you say “suitable for elders”, what exactly do you mean?

4. Color Changing Saree

The concept

Apparently, the saree changes colour when wearer moves outdoor.


The verdict

Cool. Very cool. But I would recommend that Kumaran make this Saree a little more useful for husbands by providing a predefined colour-transformation-key based on woman mood, that will go a long way in averting marital discord. For e.g.

  • Whimsical Dark Pink – to indicate that wife wants husband to tell her “Your new earring looks beautiful”
  • Cloudy Dark Grey – to indicate that wife wants husband to STFU and listen for a change.
  • Tasty Red – to indicate that wife wants husband to offer “Let’s go out and eat today. You must be tired from a long at work”

5. Ready -to-Wear Saree

The concept

Pre folded. Just slip-in. Quite possibly one of the greatest inventions of humankind, this has the potential to save untold number of manhours spent waiting for wives to get dressed up.


The Verdict

Awesome. But what would Tamil, Telugu and Bollywood heroes do in rain-songs if the heroine wore one of these? A trifle inconveneient for slow disrobing purposes no?

6. Other innovations

There are a few other minor innovations that deserve a passing mention.

  • Saree with matching handbag – saves time spent searching for matching handbag at other stores
  • Saree with pocket – no more “I forgot to bring my handbag/purse” excuses to get the husband to pay
  • Zip-n-Match pallus – One saree. Multiple pallus. Again, a money saver.
  • 50,000 colour Saree – Not sure if it’s a RGB or CMYK colour palette.

By the way, I found a blog on Sarees. How? They linked to an earlier post of mine.


18 thoughts on “Saree-ya Thavaraa

  1. Not long ago they had created the Fire Proof Saree. Well actually, it was a long time ago. In the early nineties. I clearly remember the images (on DD news) of that mannequin getting roasted and the saree left completely unscathed. So it’s gonna be cockroaches, plastic bags and those sarees at the end of the world

    Good post man. I didn’t know about the chameleon saree thing. They should use it in the military.

  2. They can make special sweater-saree for the brutal Canadian cold. The pallu becomes extraa thick so that it doubles up as a shawl.

    I was also talking to a friend about a trouser-type saree, you know, a mutation of the traditional Marathi saree. My friend’s mom said she would have been in Indian women’s football team (Chak de II) had she not faced Sania-type “aga bai heeche kapde bagha” (oh god look at her clothes) rant.

    I totally fancy a job at that saree store of yours.

  3. The jodi pattu must be designed to get marital discord off to a start even before the marriage.

    I can just imagine the couple at the (pre-wedding) reception, the wife smiling graciously at her first victory as she receives yet another wall clock and the husband sulks in THE shirt.

  4. OMG… Chennai la ippolam irukaradhu illai so, indha denim saree lam theriyama pochu!

    ROTFL… And the worst of all ideas was that saree with a pcket.. It looks hideous!

  5. How about a new line called Paunchalee: A 47- yard saree, long enough to drape over a middle aged woman’s belly, and to tire out the disrobing attempts of an amorous molester.

  6. May I add to the above, with a new one for modern maamis: Natalee, which just covers the (natal) cleft of the buttocks. This is not for those ladies who get thrashed by their drunk husbands at home, because then the visible marks would label them as Bruise Lee!

  7. I love the concept of ready to wear sarees. It would make so much more easier for women who wear sarees everyday. The denim saree is another intersting concept and then saree with pockets! amazing innovation :). The saree with matching handbags is more for the convenience of the husbands.
    //May I add to the above, with a new one for modern maamis: Natalee, which just covers the (natal) cleft of the buttocks. This is not for those ladies who get thrashed by their drunk husbands at home, because then the visible marks would label them as Bruise Lee!//
    @ rambodoc for ladies who face the threat of being bashed up, they should provide a pocket to conceal arms to use in times of need and as a result husbands will forget drinking.

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