I am the type of person that hates clutter and hoarding stuff. A couple of days ago, while searching for something, I came across a piece of clothing which I had kept from my henna party, nearly 21 years ago.
It was a beautiful pure silk sari that I wore. This one garment held so many memories. It wasn’t the only thing I wore that night but it was the one that was the most special. I can hardly remember the other evening dresses and I didn’t keep a single one except this one.
In Iraqi tradition a bride wears different gowns at her henna party. The henna party is usually a lavish affair with a big guest list. In keeping with tradition, the bride changes into different evening gowns throughout the party and one of the gowns she wears is a sari. I know it sounds weird, Arabs wearing a sari but it’s a long-held tradition.
My sari was the one outfit that holds the most memories for me. Funny how an outfit can be like a treasure trove of memories, conversations and love when in reality it is just a large piece of cloth.
My sari is what my then future husband bought for me. It was his first ever trip to India. In fact the first foreign trip he had taken without his family. He was 19 and went on an adventure to foreign lands, as he tells me. A beautiful silk and gold sari, lavishly embellished with gold sequins all over that caught his eye and that he brought back for me.
It’s the sari that my wonderful grandmother sat down and sewed a beautiful golden top for. My grandmother was very dear to me and she could always tell just by looking at my eyes if there was anything wrong. Her striking looks would always be the talk of any room she entered. For someone from the Middle East, she looked very different. With her porcelain white skin and blue eyes, she turned heads even in her old age. She was the glue that held my whole family together and despite all of this my grandmother gently took measurements and sewed the top without a stitch out of place for my special day. She passed away a few years back but the sari reminded me of her wonderful ways. Her smile, her beautiful blue eyes and her sense of humour.
It’s the sari that one of my best friends from college came to help me put on. Her name was Hema Patel. We somehow became great friends even though we had nothing in common and complete different lifestyles. Here she was with her nights out at Ally Pally (some night club in London) whereas the furthest I was allowed to go was to a relatives house. Somehow, despite our differences we became close friends.
For my sari I needed someone experienced in wearing one. I had no idea how to wrap it properly and Hema was the first person who came to mind. I hadn’t seen Hema for nearly 2 years. We had both moved on to separate universities and had not been able to keep in touch. When I called her, it was like we had never been apart. I guess that’s the sign of a great friendship.
She was delighted to be invited to the henna party and help me to put on my sari. Hema came that night to the party and helped me wear it properly. She expertly folded section by section and made it look amazing. It was exactly how I pictured it to be in my mind and made me feel beautiful.
Sometimes it’s worth holding onto physical things just for the joy and memories they hold. Like holding onto a moment in time. For me my sari embodies my nearest and dearest and the endless folds represent the love I have for them and the love they gave to make my day special.
What have you held on to? Let us know in the comments x
A beautiful recollection of how one item can connect so many pieces of your heart and memories. Really enjoyed reading this.