While the far-traveled sendmoneyplease was traipsing the globe a year or so ago, he picked up a gift for me: a sari. Now, for a guy who’s backpacking for months at a time, I am fully appreciative of the effort that went into this gift on his part – it included spending the better part of a (no doubt) excruciating afternoon in a woman’s world – sitting on the floor of a fabric shop, having a crayon-box full of colors and materials and sequins and sparkles thrust in front of his eyes for consideration, all the while, I’m sure, trying to describe the fickle female whims of an absent westerner, her height and measurements converted into imperial standards. It’s overwhelming for me – and I’m a clothes shopper with the best of them!
However, the fabric, beautiful as it is, remains unfinished. It’s a several meter long scarf at the moment – but to be worn as a sari, it’ll take several more components. And so I set off to complete the outfit.
India is every costume designer’s dream. In a country where even the camels and the rickshaws all have shimmering metallic tassels, flower-shaped ornaments, framed photos and mylar streamers, the ladies’ “everyday wear” does not disappoint – bedecked with sequins and borders and colors and patterns. You can have anything sewn to your exact size and specifications in record time.
So we set off to find a tailor. We walk through a tangle of Jodhpur’s old city streets and alleyways, past cows and dogs and goats and shops lined with aluminum cookware, fresh vegetables and fried dough – to find a one-room tailor shop with an older gentleman, balancing a pair of spectacles and a tape measure around his neck.
A mere 24 hours later, I’ve got my two sari-tops in hand – and I can’t wait to finally put all the pieces together for the first time.