The COVID-19 pandemic has become synonymous with lockdown all over the world. There have been many inanimate victims of the pandemic as well but the one that pains me to no end is my woebegone wardrobe. Well, when I say wardrobe, I mean both the receptacle and its contents. My wardrobe consisting of my innumerable six yards has always been a great source of succour. Be it the Venkatagiris or the Chanderis, the Mangalgiris or the Maheshwaris, the ikkats or the Tangails, my wardrobe has it all. And when it comes to sarees, the more the merrier. But ever since the lockdown began, it’s been curtains for my wardrobe.
The lockdown has redefined sartorial preferences phenomenally. Now ‘dressed to kill’ doesn’t mean looking gorgeous because if you are all dressed up and stepping out then you are going to be the harbinger of the deadly virus which could indeed kill you or your loved ones. So, is it all dressed up and nowhere to go? Well, not quite as you could still have an occasional online meeting related to work. But imagine pulling out your crisply starched and ironed Mangalgiri for a half an hour of online glory which doesn’t even give you an opportunity to stand and show off. And then you would have to wash and iron it on your own as there is no help available. So, the cost far outweighs the benefits! As a result, not one of my wonderful sarees has seen the light of day for almost two months now.
There are times when there is a wayward urge to just pull out my favourite saree and wear it for no reason. But then stark reality dawns upon me as the saree is not the best of outfits for all the domestic drudgery. Yes, sweeping, mopping, washing and cleaning would really be harsh on my saree, harsher than it is on poor me. Does this mean that there will be a self-imposed moratorium on buying more sarees as I haven’t worn at least five new ones lying in my cupboard? By no means! Even COVID 19 will not deter a passionate saree lover like me. Though I cannot physically visit and buy sarees anymore, I have not yet been deprived of the innocent joy of looking at the lovely handloom sarees that the various online platforms exhibit and sell. They are a draper’s delight. Knowing fully well that Mumbai is in the red zone, I have, like a moron, even inquired about when an online platform can courier a saree at my place!
Life relies heavily on hope and so as I hope that the lockdown will ease someday and I will get back to office wearing my gorgeous sarees but not (dressed) to kill, with a small undesirable but lifesaving contraption - a mask. Maybe, that too will become a fashion statement soon and everyone will sport designer, matching masks. Till that happens, I shall have to make do with the online world of six yards.
By Anita, Mumbai