is mostly likely ME. I need to finish this post and get the sad one off the top of the page, because despite the ensuing sorrow on my return home I really feel very blessed indeed and strengthened by my recent trip to India. I spent three glorious weeks there with my beloved Friend Greg: two weeks in Mumbai and one week in Shimla (joined by my friends Carla—Filmigeek—and her husband at the very beginning and end of the trip in Mumbai). We even managed to fit in Diwali celebrations in both places!
This particular long-overdue item that I didn’t even realize I needed until now is inspired by (ie can be blamed on) the ever-witty Amrita over at Indiequill. She told me that if I mispronounced Faryal’s name on an upcoming episode of Masala Zindabad, I could play my gori mem card to get out of it.
So naturally I had to make one!
In so many ways it feels like I was gone for a long time, and yet the time in India sped by too. It was a wonderful trip thanks to Raju, who facilitated my movie adventures and is in the midst of making a film which I just can’t wait to see; and my new Bengali “family”—Suhan, her friend Gautam, and their relatives, who all showed me that incredibly warm hospitality that Indians are justly famous for. I made new friends and met old ones; explored more of India’s rich history in Hyderabad, Delhi and Calcutta; and discovered the unspoiled beauty of the Sundarbans forest. And of course one of my fondest dreams came true!
Being as that I brought in the New Year with Abbott & Costello and Lee Van Cleef and Gina Lollobrigida instead of Hindi movies, all I have to offer today is this lovely 1973 saree ad, courtesy of Sharmila and Bombay Dyeing. More soul-stirring synthetics! How I love them.
No, not Shammi, or Shashi, or Vinod, or Dharmendra, or Rajesh, although it is Indian.
I recently acquired a beautiful handmade antique Kashmir shawl, with finely woven pieces sewn together and finished with hand-embroidered gates on all four sides. Indian textiles are just the bomb!
I got an antique sari today. It’s sublimely beautiful: a dusty sky blue, gossamer-fine, sheer silk with real zari woven borders and pallu (the zari has tarnished a bit in some of the folds). The field is plain, but the blue color is so beautiful. The woman I bought it from said her grandmother purchased it in Delhi in the 1940’s.
I consider this the prize of my sari collection. It’s an antique silk Parsi Gara sari made in China, probably around the end of the 19th or early 20th century. On their travels to China, Parsi tradesmen from Gujarat fell in love with traditional Chinese embroidery and began to have saris embroidered there. They brought them back and sold them to wealthy Parsi women. This trade stopped after the Chinese revolution, and there have been no true Parsi Gara saris made since about 1950. There are very few whole saris left, and most of those are family heirlooms. The majority have been cut up and the borders preserved, while the silk body of the sari disintegrated.