Saturday, 25 January 2014


This was a special week for these Golden Girls. It was the annual presentation of a certain music class that they are part of. It has been quite a busy time for them. The whole week has been a flurry of activity- filled up with rehearsals, re-rehearsals. Back and forth phone calls- sharing notes on how to sing, when to start, when to end, why the notes don't match up.

And since it was the annual presentation, it was also one that required special attire. They all had to wear a navvari saree. A navvari  is a traditional saree, but with nine yards of fabric. The Grandma is no stranger to a saree, but the draping technique of this particular style was not one that she was familiar with. So the Golden Girls put together a draping session to share tips on how to tame the navvari beast! But that still left some bewildered. Quite honestly Grandma confessed to me - What if it came undone?

And then quite last minute she came home with a big bag. One of the younger members of the team, had  ingeniously rented ready-to-wear navvaris! So this seemingly endless length of fabric had now been reduced to simple pant-style garment. All she had to to was climb into it, fasten some loops to keep it secure at the waist and she was good to go! Looking quite traditional, yet so secretively modern!

Now that the saree was figured out, we had to tackle the jewelry. A quick trip to the local village shops and we were able to put together a small collection of Maharashtrian style jewelry -a cord type choker necklace, a beaded nath (nose-ring), some bobby pins, and an amboda (hair piece). Grandma was now all set.

The day of the performance arrived. Since morning there was just talk about the performance. Even the little ones knew something was up, since it didn't just feel like a regular day.

Then it was time to get ready. Grandma wore some make up for the very first time. The navvari was dorned. The amboda was tightly secured. The chandra-bindu  (moon-shaped dot) was placed on her forehead. The transformation was complete.The rest of her friends arrived home too. They fixed each others navvaris. They adjusted each others jewelry. Like excited little children, they admired each other and seeked approval and reassurance that they each looked fine.

Soon they were on their way to the performance. The air was filled with excitement! There were women dressed up in their traditional finery. There were more navvari clad grand-moms. Also some younger women too.The show was very well received. The audience was mostly family members cheering on their own home-grown performers.

The Golden Girls were of course delightful. Our Grandma included! As I watched them, I thought to myself how important this was. To have a community that one could perform for. To be heard and appreciated. To have the support of family and friends. To celebrate the traditional songs of a culture. To share all that excitement with the children.

So as I watched the show along with my family, there was one word that came to my mind. The word was "youthfulness". And while youthfulness is often spoken about the young, today it belonged to the Golden Girls!





  2. The saying is appropriately suited here - Old is gold! Whatever comes new, old still holds the title of being old and experienced! And now you have added title of youthfulness with that - so we should say old is gold and youthful too!

  3. As usual chitti is so energetic she can give the young a complex....good article. lovely photos.

    1. Thanks Balan! Sorry for the delay. Still figuring out about commenting etc etc. You are right about chithi:)


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