Give me a sari any day

New Delhi

Women gathered around India Gate in New Delhi, 2010.

One of my abiding memories of India is the all encompassing riot of color–one’s eyes never had a chance to rest, nor did they want to–which was particularly the case when it came to how women dressed, many decked in wonderful saris of every color and shade imaginable.

Indian women–rich or poor–all seemed to dress with real elegance, boldness and style: not that I’d know what style looks like but it won me over. And then there was, in addition, all the accouterments: the arm bands, the nose rings, the wrist bracelets, the ankle bracelets–I’ve got a particular soft spot for those, I’ll admit, goodness knows why.

It was all very, well, sexy, ultimately. Really feminine. I’m not sure if one is meant to say such a things these days or suggest that being very feminine is a good thing? All I know is that there isn’t much sartorial competition between a woman in Western business attire and a woman in a blaze of an Indian sari.

Talking about fashion reminds me of one of my favorite lines from one of the books in Jan Morris’ trilogy about the British Empire. Apparently, when Mahatma Gandhi visited London sometime in the first half of the 20th century a young boy cried out: “Oi, Gandhi, where’s your trousers.”