Woven Paradox: A Spring Saree Story

Woven Paradox: A Spring Saree Story

“I enjoy the saree. I think it’s the sexiest garment ever. It shows you the right amount, it covers the right amount, it’s extremely versatile, it suits every body type, it suits every face.”

Vidya Balan, Award-Winning Bollywood Actress

A saree is a paradox in cloth form. Its versatility as Bollywood actress Vidya Balan so aptly describes, comes from its ability to be what the desired wearer needs it to be. It has the beauty and grace of the culture of India, all within yards of woven cloth, and part of the beauty of both is that they are adaptable to the regions and their people.

The Look

Here we have a Kanjivaram or Kanchipuram saree, traditionally woven in Tamil Nadu, India. The saree is woven from pure mulberry silk thread and paired with zari, fine gold thread.

Kanjivaram / Kanchipuram saree from Polki-Dolki

On the saree spectrum, Kanjivarams are definitely one of my favorites because there is something so beautiful about this particular weaving. The level of grace I feel in these sarees also make it perfect for formal events, in this case my best friend’s Walima. The silk and zari combo brings a shine to the fabric that stands out in person and in pictures, and so with this particular blue, I felt it perfect for a beautiful spring wedding event!

This saree, from our Polki-Dolki collection (coming soon!) features a typical wide border that runs the length of the saree and a heavier pallu, or mundhi – the larger design at the end of the saree. I love the way the weaving features small petals throughout the blue with gold booties or motifs breaking up the color and adding some depth to the design. The gold majority of the pallu helps it stand out when draped over one’s arm, creating a complimentary contrast in the design. I’m a huge fan of the umbi designs on the pallu because they flow well with the floral theme of the saree and the design itself is traditional in essence.

Outfit and makeup by Akiti; hair by Salon Simran

The blouse of traditional sarees are usually adorned with the same border designs and booties so that one may get it made to match the full look. I prefer to customize my blouses to add a bit of a flare to the saree alongside the graceful borders. My mother actually designed this particular blouse by keeping the original saree blouse cloth for the bust area, sleeves, and lower back, but added an embroidered, cutwork design to cover and accentuate the back. The yellow birds add a pop of color as well to make the cutwork stand out and aptly break up the way the gold somewhat blends with my lighter skin tone. We chose mega sleeves because they work well with this fabric, look, and size of the accent borders. The front of the blouse was kept plain so that the beauty of the zari saree border would maintain as it is draped across it.

Custom blouse design by Polki-Dolki

The Accessories

I wanted the saree to be the focal point of the look, so even though it was my best friend’s wedding event, where one typically wears their heaviest outfits and jewelry, I went for more accent accessories than a large jewelry set. For my particular face structure and personality, chand balis have always been a favorite, so here I wore gold chand balis from Harsahaimal Shiamlal Jewellers in Moradabad, India adorned with diamonds, pearls, and semi-precious turquoise stones throughout. The hint of white from the pearls brightens the look, while the size of the stones maintain the delicacy of the outfit so as not to embolden it.

Chand Balis from Harsahaimal Shiamlal Jewellers in Moradabad, India

To continue with the gol (rounded) theme that stems from the floral designs in the saree and now the balis, I added a diamond and gold tikka from The Pink Bazaar. This was a brilliant find at one of their pop-up shops in New York City, and has been my go-to tikka for a variety of my desi wear. The delicate tear drop shape and smaller drops off the edge matched perfectly with the umbi design of the saree’s pallu and the droplets of my earrings.

When I chose this saree, I wanted to ensure I had two key elements in my outfit: maintain the tradition look but accentuate with modernity. To maintain the traditional aspect, I kept my hair in a non-elaborate updo with a low bun, very typical of South Indian looks with sarees (hair by Salon Simran in Dayton, NJ). To add to the modernity, I added synthetic fabric flowers that matched the antique gold and white accents of my look, instead of the usual gajras one would wear with this saree. Finally, to close out the traditional look, I coordinated a 5-inch set of chudiyan that matched my colors as a large set of chudiyan add to the look without overbearing it.

This look is perfect for any formal event, especially if it’s a traditional one like a pooja, wedding, or more conservative occasion. The hint of modernity allows you to align with the traditional with a bit of flare – adding to the beautiful paradox!

My Dream Wedding of a Nightmare Marriage

My Dream Wedding of a Nightmare Marriage

I had been thinking for a while where and how to start this series because how exactly does one write about the dream wedding they had and loved that ended with a traumatically broken marriage of nightmares? I’ll tell you how: by choosing to own every beautiful moment in life because, whether deemed positive or negative, those moments have contributed to bringing one to the current position and place in life.

I have always maintained that mindset along with the belief that everything does in fact happen for a reason. Had I not gone through each experience in my life, I would not tread the world in the manner in which I do now – and I absolutely LOVE where I am and who I am today!
So let’s start with how I came to the conclusion to share this part of my life with y’all. Quite frankly, it’s because I absolutely loved my wedding from dreaming of it to planning for it to finally experiencing it…but I never got to share it. As superficial as that may seem, to me it isn’t superficial at all. I grew up with a photographer for a father who captured every moment of my life whether good or bad, and with an extremely creative & loving mother who found the most beautiful ways to present those moments throughout our home, and not leave them confined to albums, to celebrate those moments as they deserved. I grew up watching slideshows of our lives and walking around a home of our memories, so naturally, I have a tendency to want to share those moments in my life because they are a part of who I am.

Now for some clarification.

Many of the folks closest to me have asked me, as many of you are probably wondering as well, “why do you keep the photos?”, “why don’t you remove/hide them from your social accounts?”, and, the best, “why don’t you put it all behind you as if it didn’t happen and move on?” Well, as I’ve said to them, I now say to you all that I truly believe that by hiding the “bad” parts of our lives we encourage our hearts and minds to pretend as if those moments didn’t exist, which never ends well in the long run. Doing so is the same as simply throwing a sheet over old furniture in an attic – it’s hidden from the world, but still exists in your life, in the back of your mind, and is taking space in your home.

My life has thrown me a TON of curve balls and “bad” experiences, and I spent a good amount of my primitive years pretending none of those things existed beyond the four walls of my family home (I won’t touch on those in this series, but I’ll let y’all into those experiences at some point, promise). Pretending for so long created such a chasm in my life where I didn’t feel like I could truly connect with people because I was hiding such a huge part of me. That’s why around high school I decided I wouldn’t hide that part of my life and when I’m already transparent and unapologetic about who I am, I would do the same with such experiences because they’re a part of me, too. I chose then to face all of life’s experiences head on and own each one because I can’t control or change the life and experiences I’ve been given, but I can control how I choose to live with those experiences. And I choose to work through the experiences and emotions tied to them so that I can be absolutely and genuinely certain with how I think and feel today; not worried that I have underlying emotions waiting to burst through.

And for those worried about how this choice impacts any future relationship or wedding of mine, first of all, thank you for your concern – I appreciate you – and secondly, my experiences have taught me that following your heart and being true to who you are will always bring you the people that are meant to be in your life. When that time comes, my person will embrace me as I am, along with every experience that has shaped me.

What’s to come.

I’m going to share every moment of my wedding that I love and cherish, but without the trauma and divorce that followed. One day when I’m ready, I’ll share my story, but for now I want to share with you an epic event in my life that was the true culmination of my passions. I hope you’ll follow along and join me in accepting this part of me.

Kuch aise pal zindagi ke bhi hain
Jo dusre log tukhraatein hain
Hum un pal ko bhi apnaatein hain
Kyun ki woh humein hum banaatein hain

Translation (adjusted for meaning):
There are such moments in life
That people deny because of strife
Those moments I also accept & take
Because it’s me who they make

– Akiti –