Can Saree be questioned?  

We recently watched a video that has gone viral where a saree clad woman was denied entry in a restaurant, on the pretext that   only smart casuals were allowed there. According to them, saree doesn’t come under smart-casual dressing. The lady tweeted about it and raised a very pertinent question, “Is saree not a smart casual dressing?”

Anita Chaudhary

My answer would be: It is! It is smarter over any casual. It is the most appropriate attire to be worn anywhere right from temple to hotel. The lady was looking smart over all those skimpy clad women, we see in restaurants. Moreover, the saree is an integral part of our culture and our national pride too. (Remember Indian Women Hockey Team wore beautiful tri-colour Sarees for formal dinner in Chak De! India)

Yesterday, while watching Ms Malini Awasthi, the Padma Awardee Folk-Singer, expressing concern over it, she said, “One should be free to wear saree at any place, on any occasion, across age groups. Saree is our pride, it looks cool and trendy, besides being traditional and conventional. I wear a saree as everyday wear and, on all occasions, as well. How can you classify or de-classify a saree like that?”

Malini Awasthi

Talking about her recent Kashmir sojourn, she shared, “Few ladies walked up to me in the hotel’s reception, who had recognised me and asked me: Are you here for attending a marriage? I replied: No, I am here for a youth program. But why are you asking? They said, we are watching you in beautiful red Banarsis for the last two days, so we thought, maybe.”

Her viewpoint was: Why to wear Benarsis on occasions only, you can wear it whenever you like, for that enhanced feel and beautiful looks. There is no better way to honour the weavers who have woven these beautiful sarees taking great pains which you have left to rot in the trunks. Why look for an occasion, every day is an occasion for draping a saree. I wear sarees at airports, programs, concerts, talks, morning walks, evening strolls and family functions.”  

Indeed, it let me pondering, why do we need an occasion to wear a saree? We need to create an occasion ourselves and drape the saree, which is crying for our attention in the cupboard or truck. Saree can be as classic and as trendy, as it could be. If you team up with a traditional or Kurti-style blouse, it is traditional, if you opt for halter sleeves or the backless choli, it would look cool.

Saree, also called Sari, is the most famous Indian attire worn by women not only in India but all over the world. It is because of its flexibilitythat it has grabbed attention since time immemorial. A saree makes a woman look elegant, gorgeous and stylish.

It is important how you carry yourself…the swag you display…the attitude you throw. There is a need to take pride while dressed in a saree. However, strong action should be taken on places and people that ‘object women’ to wearing saree and ‘objectify women.’  

The Sari Club has awakened this long-lost love for saree and is consistently curating events for us which give us a chance to wear a saree and put chaar chand to the occasion!  

Let’s fall in love again…kyunki saree hai sada ke liye!     


हिंदी दिवस पर आज अनायास ही पापा के सहयोगी डॉ शेरजंग गर्ग की याद आ गयी. वह भेल (BHEL) में हिंदी अधिकारी थे और जाने माने कवि भी थे. पापा पर उनका विशेष अनुराग था क्यूँकि वह उनकी कविताओं के प्रशंसक रहे हों शायद…

समय ने करवट ली और डॉ गर्ग मेरे सहयोगी बन गए पर वह मुझे हमेशा अपनी बेटी ही मानते रहे.

पहली बार उन्होंने भेल (BHEL)में हिंदी दिवस का आयोजन किया, यह शायद अस्सी के दशक के अंत की बात है. इस आयोजन में मुझे भी शामिल किया गया, जो की मेरे लिए बड़े गौरव की बात थी. इसमें अनिता दी मेरी मार्ग दर्शक बनी और हिंदी हस्ताक्षर की विजेता भी. अनिता दी और नरेश खन्ना जी, शायद आपको याद हो.

इस दिन हिंदी हस्ताक्षर अभियान चलाया गया, सबसे, सब कागज़ों पर हिंदी में हस्ताक्षर करने को कहा गया और सबसे सुन्दर हस्ताक्षर प्रतियोगिता का भी आयोजन किया गया जिसमे सबने बढ़ चढ़कर हिस्सा लिया. सबसे सिर्फ हिंदी में बात करने के लिए कहा गया, जिसका पालन शायद सबने किया हो.

शाम की चाय ऑफिस में किसी समारोह से काम नहीं होती थी, और फिर आज तो हिंदी दिवस समारोह था…तो हिंदी कविता पाठ का आयोजन किया गया. अब सब लोग एक्शन में आ गए, कुछ ने मशहूर कवियों की कविताएं सुनाई, कुछ ने अपनी लिखी और कुछ ने बढ़िया तुक बंदी भी की.

मैंने भी सुनायी और प्रशंसा भी पायी. तब से हिंदी कविता पढ़ना मेरे जीवन का अभिन्न अंग बन गया हो शायद…

हिंदी की सुंदरता पर चार लाइना:

हिंदी भाषा सबसे सुन्दर,

सुन्दर हिंदी का आलेख,

सुन्दर हिंदी में बोल चाल,

सुन्दर इसकी कहावतें

हिंदी दिवस की अनेकों शुभकामनायें

Puppetry (Kathputli):

Waiting in the wings for revival!

Bol ri kathputhli dori kaun sang bandhi,” even kathputli doesn’t know who is the holder of her thread and making her dance to his tunes. She happily dances, making everyone happy. It was very famous in olden tales as it was a music and dance medium to tell the mythological tales from Ramayana and Mahabharata. It also narrated social milieus like dowry system, women’s empowerment, illiteracy, poverty, unemployment, and cleanliness etc.

. This folk-art form originated in Rajasthan some 4000 years ago and has been popular since. The tradition of Kathputli is based on folk tales and stories. Scholars believe that folk tales convey the lifestyle of ancient Rajasthani tribal people and Kathputli art might have originated from present-day Nagaur and surrounding areas.

So how did the term evolve?

Kathputli word is the combination of two Rajasthani language words Kath meaning wood and Putli meaning puppet. Kathputli means a puppet that is made entirely from wood covered with a cotton cloth and tied with a metal wire which acts as a string. Being a string marionette, it is controlled by a single string that passes from the top of the puppet over the puppeteers. Puppeteer show his skill with strings like swordsmanship, dancing, horse riding, juggling, and acrobatics. Animal puppets are also used for the shows like camels and horses but only their necks would be movable.

As a child, I loved watching Kathputli dance and use to finish my homework before time to get ready for watching a puppet show. I loved their costumes, makeup, dancing, music, instruments and folk-tales they narrated. The curious child, that I was, my main attention was on – what was going on behind the curtain? How they were moving their hands bound by a thread? How they were synchronising their hand movements with Kathputli? Once, I told my father that I want to watch a puppet show from the back, sitting with the persons who are playing it. Ahoy! My wish was granted, I was amazed at the skill and the art of moving the hands.

I narrated to all my friends in school, what transpired behind the kathputli dance in Assembly Hall’s puppet show? So, what I saw was that Kathputli was tied with a metal wire which acted as a string. Being a string marionette, it was controlled by a single string that passed from the top of the puppet over the puppeteers. Puppeteer showed his skill with strings like swordsmanship, dancing, horse riding, juggling, and acrobatics. How amazing! Isn’t it.

Puppet Show at Club Mahindra, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

We left Bhopal, so did Puppet Show. I did not get any opportunity to watch a puppet show after that. After several years, when my daughter was a toddler in Kinder Garden, her school organised a puppet show. Now, I was more excited than her, I took leave from the office to accompany her to the venue. What a delightful show it was with kathpulis dancing on the Salman Khan song, “Teri Chunaria Dil le gayi”

I relived my childhood there along with my daughter. Time passed and I had forgotten about it, well almost, till I visited Chowki Dhaani in Jaipur and got to watch Puppet Show again…this was followed by many years later in Udaipur at Club Mahindra Resort, where I enjoyed puppet show after long. Lastly, I got to watch it in Shree Thaal, Jaipur on my last trip in 2019. 

Introduction Puppetry throughout the ages has held an important place in traditional entertainment. It is an ancient art, originated about 3000 years ago. It is the least expensive source of entertainment which imbibes the all-creative expression like painting, sculpture, music, literature, dance and drama etc.1 It has been the most popular form of entertainment for the village people. Almost all types of puppets are found in India. From different parts of the country, they have their own identity. Regional variations of style and theme are reflected in them. The stylized vocabulary of puppetry carries local myths and legends usually with the massage of social awareness, moral values, historical and traditional subjects.

The movement of the puppets on the beats of Dholak with the dialogue delivery creates a well synchronized dramatic atmosphere that mesmerises people across age groups.

Unfortunately, with the onslaught of electronic media into Indian households, the Bhati community of puppeteers are struggling to make two ends meets.

The Government and General Public must make concerted efforts to save this rare art form from fading into oblivion. 

Watch Kathputhli narration and a Kathputli song”

Happy Teacher’s Day All…

Any amount of gratitude is not enough to thank our teachers who gave us invaluable lessons academically, personally and professionally. However, a day marked for them is a sort of reminder, how special teachers are. All of us had many teachers in school, college and corporate life but some special ones leave an imprint on our lives. We keep referring to their lessons time and again…

I was fortunate to have: Anita Roy, V. K. Chopra, J.K.Gupta, Deena Mehta, Harsh Roongta, Balwant Jain, S.S. Hussain and Manju Yagnik…to name a few.

I was the one who always believed that everything has to finish on time, school, college, B-School, P.hd. and never supported the argument that you can learn anything at any age. But how circumstances made me contradict myself is worth sharing.

Cut to the first lockdown, which left me with some more time at home. In a jiffy, I decided to take music classes and followed the search for a music teacher, who can teach me at my age and my histrionics of being a non-singer. I zeroed in on Ms Raina Lahiri, who looked very sweet and pleasant to me, and without checking on anything about her, I enrolled with her. My journey traversing from semi-classical to classical to Bollywood progressed. She is a phenomenal singer, excellent teacher and patient mentor (obviously training students like me) blessed with exemplary knowledge. Her dedication to the craft is worth emulating. Today, whatever, I know w.r.t. to music, I attribute to her. I made friends with youngsters like Dhuni, Sumit, Moumita and seniors like Pushkala Ji, Vidya Ji and Usha Ji.  

Raina Lahiri

Happy Teachers Day Raina Ji and all teachers and students of RMA.

Cut to the second lockdown, my musically inclined niece Anuksha got a new piano for her and when I visited my brother and saw her playing the piano, I was like wow! My brother could sense that I would love to have one. In a few days, to my utter surprise piano landed at my doorstep. I couldn’t be thankful enough for this value-addition in my life.

But, hardly knew the piano, forget to play it. My knowledge was limited to Rajesh Khanna playing it: Agar tum na hote or maine tere liye hi saat rang ke sapne chune…I was like: What to do with this? I am not the one who could learn anything from youtube, coming from old school of learning. For few months, it was adorning my cabinet…till one day I came across piano classes at Sensationz, and without giving any thought, I took a plunge.

Believe me, my life changed forever under Elvis Julius Sir, a teacher par excellence, who could only handle my expertise (read: ignorance) about the instrument. He started teaching and I started learning. Being the eldest in the class, amidst very small children, I felt lost, sometimes dejected but Sir’s positivity motivated me to continue, learn and practice.

Elvis Julius Sir

I marvelled, how children’s nimble fingers moved swiftly on the keyboard, whereas I struggled so much with my rigidity in fingers. To top it all, with my learning abilities as till now I have been known for lecturing at home and in the office.

He patiently taught us notes, chords, songs, melodies and believe me it is quite technical to play the piano. It is nowhere close to what we have seen in movies. All your faculties need to be alert and work in tandem. Many times, I knew I was playing shoddily, but Elvis Sir’s motivation, kept me going, maybe I reach somewhere – Amen!

I made a lovely friend Sumi (La daughter) who is turning out to be an expert player, talented Neha ji and all my kiddo brigade with Anvi, Roshni, Aahana, Parth, Vihaan, Rudraksh…love you all!!

I am blessed to have such teachers and the opportunity which came my way! Learning at this age, no mean task though, when you are so used to lecturing rather taking lectures. This is life!

Yash Chopra: Inundated with undying passion for films!

Breathed Love & Romance in his films

Infused Beauty & Class in his Heroines

“Films have been my only passion in life. I have always been proud of making films and will continue taking pride in all my films. I have never made a movie I have not believed in.” – Yash Chopra, Renowned Film Maker

The same way he believed in his heroines too…he made them look classy, charming, demure, ideal and empowered at the same time. His styling with chiffons, laces, dainty embroidery with flowing aanchals of beautiful sarees with flowing tresses, bindis and bangles, made them look, true DIVAS. Their fan following  zoomed with every YRF release and they became stars overnight.   

To add here, the quintessential Yash Chopra heroine was fierce in her ideals, traditional and optimistic, but a stickler for the opportunity. She was shy but not timid; she was principled but not self-righteous, she was mysterious but not evasive; she was the object of so many of our affections.

Almost all his heroines turned out to be trendsetters in every respect be it their look, styling, aura or acting. They guided the generation of that era…be it Rakhee, Sharmila Tagore, Rekha, Jaya Bhaduri, Sri Devi, Juhi Chawla, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta, Parineeti Chopra, Anushka Sharma or Kajol, they mesmerised the audience under the YRF banner.

Yash Chopra would always remain in our hearts, the way he depicted love and romance in his films, which was unique, pure, ideal and many a time ahead of the times.

He has left behind a legacy of such iconic films that through his stories he will continue to live. The director, who can easily be credited for making several actors into superstars, will always live in the hearts of the moviegoers through his films.

From Sridevi, Kajol to Parineeti Chopra, the Yash Raj banner has launched, nurtured and guided many top A-listers in Bollywood. Yash Chopra is one of the most well-known names in the industry. The director and producer, Yash Chopra, founded his independent production house, Yash Raj Films, in 1971. He has given a breakthrough to several heroines under his banner.

I am a big fan of Yash Chopra films and his heroines for their histrionics in styling, look, beauty and acting, be her Rekha as Chandni in Silsila, Sri Devi as Chandni in Chandni, Juhi Chawla as Kiran or Kajol as Simran in DDLJ. I watched these films over and over and many times copied their sarees, bangles, bindis and overall looks…  

But I was most enamored by Neetu Singh’s looks in Kabhi Kabhie…with short tops, bell-bottoms, frocks and side-flicks. I had those side flocks for long, till one day I was hauled up by school administrator for my flicks. Fond memories of those days…

As a tribute to great Yash Chopra ji, I have chosen Rekha Ji’s look for a song which is very close to my heart.

Undoubtedly, there can’t be any other Yash Chopra.