Before you start looking askance at your six yards of material and wonder anxiously whether you need to cut off some of the wonderful fabric, please don`t get misled by the title of this feature. We are not talking shrinkage in terms of length or width. We are talking about a decline in the sale of one of our most representative garments, the Sari. The question - Is the sari on its last six yards?
Alas! Read the signs, look at offices, look at parties, look at designer shows. Where have all the saris gone? From Kolkatta to Mumbai, from Kochi to Kashmir, women, especially under 35 have not only stopped wearing saris to work but also to parties. "It is so inconvenient", they bemoan.
Casual is in and saris are definitely not casual wear.
Women have taken to driving two wheelers, and wearing a sari is therefore, a cumbersome affair. The bastion of the sari culture - South India too, has fallen. The sari demise is most visible there, as women have been wearing it for hundreds of years.
In fact, in south Indian villages now, it is not uncommon to find the mother in a sari and the daughter of marriageable age in a salwar kameez.
So, who is responsible for the decline in popularity of the sari? Is it the so-convenient salwar kameez? Is it the `cool and casual` western wear? Or, is it the fast life that we are forced to lead where, wrapping six yards of material, however beautiful, is time consuming? There could be many villains to the story. Maybe, even fashion trends are sending out the signal that saris are a thing of the past.
So, have the latest fashions killed the sari? Have we buried it like we have buried so many things in our past? Will the sari die a death with the earlier generation? Or will it be pushed into a niche market as a `costume dress`; more appropriate for weddings and other formal occasions than as daily wear? Will it retain its former glory as India`s pride and joy? The answer ...well...the future holds it.