“Lets keep our pretty saris to times when we just have to eat, pray, and love, cause we are tomorrows’ MILs.”

Sharing a comment by Anonymous to ‘The sari is the best way of showing global companies that these are Indian women managers?‘ 

My response in italics. It’s possible that I did not quite understand the comment in some places. 

Anonymous: Firstly lets dig deep into our history and try to figure why sari alone describes indian-ness in women.

IHM: Sari/dhoti describes Indian-ness only for some Indians, and only when women are wearing it. If it was really about Indian-ness they would be asking Indian men to wear dhoti and turban [etc] too.

Anonymous: Could be because it covers the full body, from your head-to-toe blah blah, and dates back right from the time when women did not even have the freedom to go veggie-shopping.

Centuries rolled and saris got “westernized” along with women. Now we have the munnis and the sheelas and their fans who love to show their bodies in their saris n strut it. I do it too.

IHM: The traditional sari covered less and there was no concept of covering from head to toe or of wearing a blouse or petticoat in most parts of India.

Today, sleeveless blouses are seen as modern and revealing, and some ways of draping the saree face criticism for showing too much skin, but women in villages in many parts of India, wear backless blouses, or blouses that are not covered by a ‘pallu’ – that’s their ‘traditional’ dress, so nobody notices. 

So skin showing doesn’t really seem to be the issue, it seems to be more of a fear of women being able to choose what to wear and gradually going ‘out of control’.

Anonymous: My point here is the current sari is in its modern form as well just as the Indian women are. So arent we contradicting ourselves here by saying that saris are traditional.

IHMMy mother is 72 and she (and other women her age and older), have been wearing the current-sari the same way for the past 50 years. There are some who wouldn’t approve of my mother’s sleeveless blouses, but she hasn’t changed (or modernised) it for the past 50 years. 

The saree is worn in different ways by different people in different parts of India  (and generally the wearer has little choice in how it is worn). Since not allowing women choices is a part of our culture, maybe ensuring it is worn in certain ways is seen as the ‘traditional’ thing to do?

Anonymous: Moreover saris are not even conducive to today’s age and climes. so whom are we kidding! Lets keep our pretty saris to times when we just have to eat, pray, and love and certainly not when we have prepare reports and give out presentations. and lets keep it that way cause we are tomorrows’ MILs.  :)

IHM: Are ‘we’ tomorrow’s MILs?  Do you think today’s generation of men and women should see themselves as tomorrow’s Fathers in law and Mothers in law? That’s only possible if everybody gets married and has children, and those daughters and sons get married too…

And why is keeping it that way better for tomorrow’s MILs?  Would you say that the future MILs  control what Indian women wear in future? 

 

22 thoughts on ““Lets keep our pretty saris to times when we just have to eat, pray, and love, cause we are tomorrows’ MILs.”

    • I read it again and still haven’t understood. What has being tomorrows’ MILs have to do with wearing saris? OMG, don’t tell me I won’t be a MIL coz I never wear sari and am not likely to in the future!😉 I hate the damn thing, all five and a half meters of it. Looks good on others and they are welcome to it. If I have worn it, it has been under protest.😐

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  1. I understand more or less where the initial parts of her comments come from.. What i don’t understand is “keep it that way cause we are tomorrows’ MILs”

    So yes, maybe you’re tomorrow’s MILs, and I am tomorrow’s SIL and the day after tomorrow’s FIL.. So what? Just because you are or will be a MIL has got nothing to do with you wearing a saree. You could be of any age but you still can wear what you want. You can be a MIL or SIL or DIL etc. but you are still yourself… You get to choose what you wear and what you don’t… THAT is the beauty of it…

    So if you want to wear a saree, wear a saree but just not because you will be MIL then…

    It’s like IHM stated, why should some one else control what you wear?

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  2. I almost fell off my chair laughing. First of all, what India? Women in traditional settings wear salwar kameez, lehenga, ghagra choli also. Ancient Indian women did not wear cholis, the concept of covering the breasts is a modern one. And why the desperate need to show we are Indian by wearing a sari? And if I wear pants and shirts, kurti pajami or salwar kameez do I abdicate from being a mother in law?

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  3. I’m trying to make sense of the “we are tomorrow’s MIL’s”. I think she was trying to say that by not making the sari an everyday thing, we would pass on the same “freedom” to our “future” DIL’s (freedom from the MIL’s expectation that she’d have to wear the sari 24/7). Hmm, maybe she actually meant it in a nice way…ended up sounding pretty weird, unfortunately.

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    • I agree with rajK. I do think she meant it in a nice way too. The heart was in the right place but execution went a little astray.
      And yes, as future MIL’s (if we end up becoming MIL’s, that is) and a person in general, we have no right to comment on any body’s apparel – however tempting it is to get opinionated about them.

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    • I think she meant wear saris only for nice occasions, and don western wear the rest of the time. I guess she thought that this would make everyone more liberal , en masse, so that the next generation of women see the saree as a ‘special occasion’ garment and would not be coerced into wearing it daily?

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  4. Do MILs only eat, pray, and love?? And wear saree?

    Mine does a lot more than just that! And yes, she wears saree, and salwar kameez and Kurtis with tights. And she doesn’t expect me to wear sarees anymore..

    I love sarees. So would that make me a good MIL? Wait.. I have only one child – a daughter!! Would my wearing a saree make me good towards my jamai (Son in law)!!

    Ok.. I am laughing at my own comment. It is as funny as the original comment!!

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  5. I have been a silent reader of this blog for a long time. This comment I feel is being slightly misunderstood. The comment jokingly says that it is not possible for corporate women to wear a saree, however, when she becomes a MIL( and do nothing but eat/pray/love), she can take out the stock of her pretty sarees and wear them. I do not think she meant anything like forcing her DIL to wear saree, since her future DIL will also have to prepare reports and presentations she won’t be able to do in saree. I know the definition of MIL is regressive, but I think it was just a joke.

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  6. umm….am i the only one to feel that we are reading tooo much between the lines? and jumping to conclusions that THIS is what the author meant?

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  7. I don’t know if it is just me, but I think the comment author was rather flippant about it. It sounds offensive, only if you over analyse and misinterpret it.

    I remember writing this comment in my blog, where a feminist commenter completely misinterpreted it and though talking about her ‘father’s Octavia’ is sexist because it implies she can’t own the car because she is a woman. Sometimes you should see things literally as they are and understand that the author wasn’t trying to direct a French movie.

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  8. a question: if saris are making their presence felt in boardrooms, corporate culture, etc, why is it only the bengali way of draping it? Why not the Gujarati (pallu in the front, Parsi style) or maharashtrian (dhoti look) or the Coorgi (blouse-less, front pallu) manner? I’ve asked this question to people who say sari is the only formal Indian wear… only to be greeted with a glacial stare.

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  9. Pingback: What makes someone find the concept of ghunghat appreciable? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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