Sensuality & The Indian Saree: What Is Old Can Be New Again
What Makes Indian Women Unique
Indian women are the most beautiful in the world. As bizarre as that claim seems to be, it's clearly uncharacteristic coming an Indian, right?
We're enamored by what's elsewhere that we scarcely savor what we have in our own neck of the woods.
Given my upbringing in Bangalore, almost all of us have lived lives that reflect Western values albeit in moderation. It's been a cosmopolitan city for decades now, so foreigners have always been around.
It's pretty safe for women as well because of the way we've been raised whether it is a simple auto rickshaw driver, a security guard, a software engineer or a simple freelance writer as myself.
Of course, women never believe such claims - especially Indian women - given the current trend of being enthralled with all things 'white'. It's also strange that women, who are fair, in general, tend to be worshipped as Goddesses while those darker in skin color, are not perceived as attractive. That's NOT how Indians were, only a few centuries ago.
Blame it on this need to ape the West - you're considered cool. Who doesn't want that, right?
It doesn't matter what it is: be it philosophy, fashion, sports or even business. There's a healthy amount of mimicry that goes on - some good, others totally unnecessary and rather tasteless at time.
But at some point, when an Indian woman wears a saree, you can't help but surmise that no one - and I mean, no one - can wear a garment such as this much like an Indian woman does. Then and now...
The Virtues of the Indian Saree
Well, if you didn't know this, the picture above is of an actress named Celina Jaitley who wears a backless saree - almost virginal - but rather characteristic of the virtues of a saree.
Might I state the obvious here by saying that while it is revealing, it still comes across as elegant and tasteful. Not forgetting that the reason why it is loved is because women from all over the world love the way it feels on their body.
Apart from the whole Indian mysticism surrounding this garment. It's classy, mysterious and a symbol of sensuality - just as most if not all women would like to be perceived.
Somehow, the saree manages to pull that off with ease. Being able to turn a man on without trying too hard. Yet managing to stay within the unspoken norms of chaste behavior.
(Of course, with the way media has changed Indian society, I'm hard-pressed to define that word 'chaste' anymore. We were far more honest about our physical needs as Indians during the time the Kama Sutra was written anyways.)
Only now, we tend to borrow ideas from Western culture but deny the "elephant in the room" considering matters related to censorship, sensuality and libido. It seems pretentious given that we still are the second-most populated country in the world.
But I digress.
Indian History & Liberation - It's Yesterday's News, Really
Speaking of which, I find it disturbing that our culture frowns on that word. You now, the 'S' word. This is especially since all the women carved on both the North and South Indian temples were barely clothed.
We wrote the Kama Sutra, the Tantra form of lovemaking and God knows what else on the subject. Of course, they did not have smartphones in that age, so they used carvings (and hand-written books) as a way to capture the beauty of a woman. Let me reiterate: with little or nothing on.
It was art, and will always remain so. The female figure has always been a source of fascination for men for obvious reasons. There's no harm in admitting that. Anything else is just self-righteous nonsense.
Speaking of which, when a woman wears a saree, it draws attention to not just the usual curves but generally the woman as a whole, and which depends on accessorization. Her back, eyes and legs, in some cases.
I'm pretty sure that this is something that women from other cultures also try to accentuate and succeed in varying degrees.
Indian history showcases how liberated our culture was in a number of ways and yet we have seemingly buried this richness while presenting ourselves to be the proverbial Satya Harishchandra or Satya Savitri. That fake holiness...
Enough. There were freaks then. And there are a number of freaks now - if only hesitant to live their lives openly as they did centuries ago in India. In other words, we were already liberated and which begs the question: How did we regress?
A nation of conservative fools, force-fed a rogue set of values and stories through the history books and that has little or nothing to do with our cultural and most importantly, our sexual past.
Thankfully, the saree continues to live on despite the obvious pretentiousness as we navigate through these double-standards in everyday Indian life.
Of course, there are other types of Indian wear that reveal plenty of skin. It's probably no different from models on the ramps in Milan, Paris, London or New York wearing tight clothes or even going to the extent of leaving nothing to the imagination of their scrutinizing audience.
It was no different in our country's cultural past. So, if we are to grow as a nation out of this immature approach towards the chastity of women, our own physical needs and stop attaching it to morality, we'd probably end up getting the population under control.
For the simple reason, the more you view something as forbidden fruit, the more appealing it becomes.
So, if there's anything that the Indian saree (or any other garments that you've come across) should tell you, it's that Indian women clearly understood what turns a man on. In other words, we were already liberated long before anyone else was. It's time to remember that - the saree stands out as a perfect example of this.
Simply put, it's yesterday's news even if people consider being promiscuous as a Western thing. Well, it's NOT... and that's that!
Yet I stand corrected: Indian women are the most sensuous... and in particular, when wearing a saree. Making any other claim would be preposterous if not biased!