Archive for July 9th, 2007

July 9, 2007

The Sariwalli

My sariwalli Melinda is here visiting. I spent some satisfying time last evening pawing through her stash of saris. She specializes in regional handlooms, particularly cotton, and has wonderful taste (you can see her wares at Since she’s captive in my house I also got her to identify some of the older saris I’ve gotten on eBay and elsewhere.

Turns out I have two lovely gold Chanderi saris from the 1950’s (this one is my favorite):


and she identified another of my favorites as a silk Dhaka sari from Bangladesh (or East Pakistan depending on its age):


What fun!

The last thing I need is yet another sari, but I may not be able to resist one of her baby-soft Kanchi cottons.

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July 9, 2007

Bara-Dari (1955)

Since I couldn’t find a single synopsis of this film’s story online, I figure I might as well tell it. So reader beware, because I am giving away practically the entire plot.

The movie starts with a woman visiting her husband in jail. He is a Rajput lord from the town of Ajaygarh named Ranvir, imprisoned by the King because he refuses to pay tax. She pleads with him to compromise with the King for the sake of their unborn child. He says that he will not. Cut to palace, with Ranvir in chains before the King and court. Ranvir gives an impassioned speech about being a Rajput and not bowing to some King even though they were formerly friends, blah blah, and although the King pardons him, he is beheaded by the King’s army commander Karan Singh.

A few months later, Ranvir’s widow gives birth to a son (Ajit) at the same time as the Queen gives birth to Prince Vijay. The Chief Minister of the court consults an astrologer, who reads the Prince’s chart and declares that he must be kept away from the King until he is eight years old. The King agrees but says that the prince must be raised by someone of “equal status” (more Rajput pride) and the CM says that the only woman suitable is Ranvir’s widow. They take the prince to Ranvir’s widow and after some argument she takes him in and raises him with her own son, because:

Ma hai


The boys grow up together as brothers until the prince reaches the age of eight, when the Chief Minister comes and retrieves him and promises that the town of Ajaygarh will no longer be raided or taxed by the King’s army. Tearful goodbyes, Ajit’s friend Gauri comforts him; and segue into Ajit and Gauri ten or fifteen years later singing a song and obviously in love. Of course, their peaceful existence is about to come to an end.

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