Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Mama's Saris

We used to watch one of those home do-over shows on BBC America where the designer and her lads would rework and redecorate several rooms in a home by just using old paint, wood and material that the homeowner happened to have lying around the homestead.

Remarkably, there always seemed to be several new sheets of MDF in the shed but the show was entertaining with results that varied between, "That's not so bad" to "Eeeeewww..."

One aspect of the program that was interesting to me, as a fabric person, was the large number of people that seemed to have sari fabric stashed away just waiting to be draped around a window or over a bed.

Intrigued, one of the entlings and I visited a store in our wonderful metropolis that sells clothing and fabric from India. What an experience!

Long rolls of fabric lined the walls. It was like a glittering, glowing shimmering color wheel. Initially, the best we could manage was, "um, how" We were faced with more patterns and shades of orange to red to yellow than we could take in. The sales woman cheerfully pulled down bolt after bolt and sent the rolls of fabric shooting across the large tables so we could see the amazing designs and hues.

We left with three lengths of color feeling dazzled and elated.

This memory was in my mind as I looked at Pooja Makhijani's new book, Mama's Saris. The little girl in the story is celebrating her seventh birthday and asks to wear one of her mother's saris. Thinking the girl is too young, the mother tries to negotiate (haven't we all done this?) with her daughter, "Why don't you wear your chaniya choli?" Ultimately, she is moved by the strength of her daughter's memories and acknowledges this special occasion by letting her daughter select a sari to wear.

Elena Gomez has caught the glow and shimmer of this elegant clothing in the backgrounds of the illustrations. The fabric fairly swirls off the page as the little girl looks at herself in the mirror for the first time.

Lovely, lovely book.

Pooja Makhijani's website
Mama's Saris teacher guide

I saw this book at TLA at the Little, Brown booth and Pooja kindly sent me a copy.

1 comment:

alexgirl said...

That is so funny, what you were saying about people having old sari fabric just laying around to drape over beds and windows--I have some too, and just a few months ago made it into a curtain. lol!
That book sounds very sweet. I'll definitely check it out. Thanks for the description!