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.