It is presumed that a Bengali girl picks up draping sarees while she's still twisting and twirling in her mother's womb. I don't exactly remember when my first tryst with the six yards happened but the magic that it creates locked me in its spell, ever since I had been walking on two legs. In a Bengali household, in the erstwhile years, it was a mandatory costume for all the women in the house - married as well as unmarried ones, especially once they were in their teens. Therefore, I woke up to seeing Grandma, Ma, aunts and older cousins all meticulously draped in crisp cotton sarees. Those were the years when you would witness an abundance of Taant (handloom) sarees. And whatever the background of a Bengali girl be, a Taant saree will an imperative first possession.
The technology of Handloom has been Bengal's greatest gift to the world. There's magic in the weaver's hand. Over the last decade, handloom sarees have hugely evolved and undergone a radical change with respect to quality, designs, colours and style. The weavers of Bengal after going through a lull period in the past, have finally been recognised and given their rightful worth. The Taant from Phulia and Dhonekhali and also the Tangail are a rage among the buyers, not just for the designs but also for their light weight which make them a much sought after option in a tropical country like ours. The silk that ranges from Murshidabadi, Jamdani, Baluchari, Garad, Tussar, Benarasi have been an eternal favourite with all the saree lovers across the globe. The designer sarees such as Kantha stitch and Baatik have been offered to the world by none other than the artisans of Bengal.
In the deluge of inexpensive synthetic sarees, these gems are somehow losing their count. What people fail to understand that a minimum manufacturing cost is attached to these sarees, what with the process of acquiring pure fibre, and the detailed work of art on them by the weavers that sometimes take months per one saree. And hence, the price tag. I am a saree fanatic and it has been aggravated by a mandate that it be the daily costume at my workplace. Well, that's just an excuse folks!!