The magic of the traditional Indian six-yard-fabric saree was extolled in Auckland by a group of enthusiastic saree lovers who had gathered together on a bright sunny, albeit sleepy afternoon of Saturday, January 5, in the central suburb of Remuera.
The event Auckland Saree Speak Meet was propelled by similar global events being held at distant places like Pune, Belagavi, New Delhi, Jakarta and New Jersey, with the same passion of celebrating different styles and forms of sarees and simultaneously empowering those who carry this traditional Indian drape every day with much elegance.
Saree Speak is a closed social media group started by Vini Tandon Keni from Goa in 2016 and had gradually attained immense popularity with its membership increasing to around 100, 000 by the end of 2018.
The group brings together women initially from India and then gradually from different parts of the world who post their saree-clad images and pictures accompanied with brief stories about its kind, texture and origin or any other interesting stories related around the purchase.
This way the social media group has not only managed to bring together women sharing a similar passion for sarees from all around the world on one common platform but also supporting small scale weavers and craftsmen from all over India.
The group has played a significant role in reviving some almost getting extinct weaves like the Kunbi, Gamcha and other Handloom weaves.
The Auckland event was initiated by a saree enthusiast Bavani Suresh, who noted on the Saree Speak social media page that many meets were occurring worldwide, and decided to explore interest in holding a similar event in the city of sails.
Her query was reciprocated by several saree enthusiasts, which culminated in the Auckland Saree Speak Meet organised in close liaison with other saree enthusiasts Bindu Handa and Sasi Indiran.
Bindu Handa, Bavani Suresh event organisers
Initially conceived as a private event whereby encouraging participating women to get to know each other amidst several games and competitions designed to celebrate different kinds of sarees, subsequently prompted women to walk outside on Auckland streets displaying the magic of Indian fabric.
Speaking to The Indian Weekender Bavani Suresh said, “Remuera Road erupted into a wild frenzy of unrestrained colour as the Sakhis trooped out and onto the street, stopping traffic while posing for group shots and videos.”
“The Saree Speak members, who are fondly referred to as Saree Sakhis were excited to participate in the saree draping contest.
“Each group had to drape one of the Bengal Athpourey, Madurai Pinkosu, Kerala Namboothiri, Gujarati style on a group member, amidst much retying and laughter,” Ms Suresh said.
Clearly, the online group is ready to come out of the virtual world and burst the seams of the real world.