sareesandstories sareesandstories

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Sumitra Selvaraj  ♦️Saree Aficionado♦️Executive Producer @maxman.studios♦️Host @letstalkmalaysia ♦️Writer #minisareestories ♦️ I review Sarees too, email for collabs!

Despite being a public holiday, the day has been busy and quite exhausting.
I’m looking forward to a quiet evening in with my Favouritest Person and a chance to just unwind.
I have a taping of our late night talk show later this week to think about, and then this weekend I’m away on a day trip to a literary festival in another state.
An essay of mine has been selected to appear in a local anthology, and I’m looking forward to the launch of the book to add to my little collection of published work so far.
It hasn’t been a stellar year for me on the writing front, but certainly a few highlights that have kept me on the straight and narrow.
Next year will be different of course, so I supposed I better take all the downtime I can while I’ve still got it 😜
#sareeoftheday : Seaweed Ajrakh on Chanderi Silk by @aditriloomsandcrafts
#accessoriesoftheday : Agate and Silver neckpiece by @vipra_collection

This is the only other snap I have of my evening Saree from yesterday, hopefully it’ll give you a sense of its intense iridescence. I should have taken a full length photo in natural light but it completely slipped my mind. But that’s ok, I’ll rewear this Saree in the next couple of weeks and take one then to show you the full glory of the dual tone.
This is of course the Mayil Kazhuthu colour, which is literally Tamil for Peacock’s Neck.
This shade was traditionally weaved into Kanjivaram Sarees, but nowadays is found in a variety of other weaves too.
The border too is a specific pattern, Muthu Kattam means Pearl Checks, and refers to the size of the squares on the motifs, and harks back to a time when South India was famed for its pearl industry.
I paired the Saree with a favourite jersey crop top that you’ve seen many times before, I have a handful of these in various colours picked up during a trip to Bangkok a couple of years ago.
I’m not at work today as it’s a public holiday here in Malaysia, but Sashe and I are off to a lunch event so I’ll share another post with you later today with what I’m wearing.
#sareeoftheday : Mayil Kazhuthu Soft Silk from @kancheevaram_weaves_by_zobha
#accessoriesoftheday : Papier-mâché jimkhis from @greenartifact

Ok we might not have got the hands positioned exactly right, but the intent was there 😜
Happy 10th Birthday @leaderonomics!
Thank you for finding a place for my purpose driven man in your purpose driven organisation 😁
I dare say, we both have benefitted from my husband doing the work he loves for a cause and vision that WILL change the way nations progress ❤️
Cheers to the next 10 years, and beyond 🥂
#sareeoftheday : Mayil Kazhuthu Soft Silk from @kancheevaram_weaves_by_zobha

It’s supposed to be a two-Saree day because of a very important dinner event that I have to attend later tonight.
But I’ll be honest, after being in the office at 7am and being on-camera for our Let’s Talk programme, I’m more than a little beat.
I wanted to wear something special tonight, befitting the occasion and that’s not to say that this Saree isn’t special.
I told you the story of how I got it when I first wore it in August of last year to mark a very significant day in my writing career.
And it’s the sort of Saree that I wear very sparingly because of its significance; this morning felt like the right moment as I sent off an email that marks another milestone in my writing journey.
But the longer I wear this Saree, the more I miss my grandmother. The ache of missing her has grown from a tender pang to a smothering attack, and I think it’s time to change out of it into something lighter.
It is possible to love someone too much I think.
Not that there is anything wrong with too much.
Neither is there anything wrong with giving yourself the space to recover and draw deep breaths, so that you may surface with renewed purpose.
And surface, too, with a new supply of love, to dole out as you see fit ❤️
#sareeoftheday : Grey and Garnet Mysore Silk that once belonged to my grandmother 📷 @tusilyamk

This is what my full #weekinsarees looked like.
My to-be-reworn wardrobe is nearly empty and I’m fighting the temptation to break out new weaves.
But I think I shall make an exception tomorrow night as Sashe’s workplace celebrates a rather special milestone.
A two-Saree Monday seems like the best way to kick off a new week 💙

A final outing for my tie and dye beauty before it heads off to the dhobi. My 2 day writing course has been intense and exhausting; the end result is me having to undo a lot of the work done so far.
This isn’t a bad thing.
The newbie writer Sumitra would have crumbled at this prospect. But starting over with better habits and effective tools WILL result in achieving my heart’s desire.
I have a new writing goal for 2019, and as it turns out, it’s not the literary fiction novel that I thought it was going to be.
I know there are superstitions about jinxing your goals by speaking them out loud, but I’m not one for old wives tales.
So I’ll share my goal with you here, tonight, and use this platform as a daily reminder of what I have set out to do.
I want 2019 to be the Year of Sarees and Stories: The Book.
Now that I’ve typed it out I’m tempted to delete it so I’m going to post this before I chicken out.
You now know my intent, I want to compile my writings here into a book and of course add some new, never before read, insights.
I know, and trust, you’ll be alongside me as I work towards seeing my words in print.
Hope your weekend has been brave and kind and fulfilling... because I think mine has been ❤️
#sareeoftheday : Currant and Coal Bandhani Cotton that Amma bought me from Jaipur, earlier this year.

A bookstore really seems like the perfect place to attend a writing class, and I’m totally looking forward to spending this weekend immersed in fixing my manuscript.
The book behind me seems like a tongue in cheek description of my novel writing attempts so far, if you can’t make it out it’s titled The Book of Mistakes 😂
But fix it, I shall! #sareeoftheday : Checked Pollachi Cotton by @thukira_28 in a soothing colour combination which reminds me of Ocean Song and Earl Grey Roses (Swipe left for previous blouse pairing and Saree colour under natural light)

I’m not in the office again today, so this is what my very short work #weekinsarees looked like, as I continue to chip away at my to-be-reworn Sarees.
I’m happy to report that I only have a handful of Sarees left that need to be repeated before debuting some new weaves.
I’m actually getting quite impatient to share the new Sarees with you; 3 out of 5 are handlooms I have not yet written about here, and the remaining two were created by artisanal techniques that you may be familiar with, but certainly could do with revisiting.
So while I hang tight and work through a couple of more repeat Sarees this weekend, I hope that you too have a productive end to the week.
For some reason it doesn’t feel like it, but it is, finally, #friyay 🥂

Amma, there’s no time to twirl... quick, pick a favourite!
I told you on Tuesday, there are no...
But do you love today’s Printed Dashmir Silk most of all?
Or, Amma sayang, do you prefer yesterday’s vintage KanJeevesvaram?
Rascals, the both of you 😐

Today is better than yesterday because:
1. My Favouritest Person will be home from his business trip.
2. It didn’t start with a flat tyre like I had yesterday morning.
3. My Favouritest Person will be home from his business trip.
#sareeoftheday : Printed Kashmir Silk from Amma’s work wardrobe in the 90’s but before that from Atha’s collection in the 80’s 😜
#accessoriesoftheday : Hand blown Murano glass earrings that Amma bought for me from an Italian adventure a couple of years ago

When I think about personal challenges that I’m going through, it’s very easy for me to feel like I’m all alone in facing the world.
Perspective is hard to gain when you’re buried under an avalanche of self-loathing and doubt; seriously, who has the energy to be self-aware in bleak times?
I certainly don’t.
But, I count myself lucky to have a spouse who does his level best to help me find a wedge of positivity, even though I might not seem particularly grateful for his help in the moment. (Know that I am, SO grateful, Favouritest Person ❤️)
And reading messages from those of you who shared your own foggy moments and what you do to seek respite, makes me realise how quietly generous people can be.
I spent this evening in the company of a wonderful woman who helped me through more than she could imagine, just by making me feel less alone in my struggles.
And in the end, it comes down to the fact that we ALL navigate through treacherous waters; our lives are beset with twists and turns that can put a Jeffrey Archer novel to shame.
Divorce, the death of a child, mental illness, financial ruin, accidents... the list goes on.
I don’t know how to handle everything that life throws my way. But I’m willing to try by drawing from the strength of loved ones as well as from the wisdom of others who have endured before me.
I can try.
Can you try too?
You don’t need to think about what the rest of the week holds or how to manage the weekend or the looming prospect of December.
You made it through today, as I did.
So let’s just try the same again, tomorrow. 💙
#sareeoftheday : MS Blue Korvai Kanjivaram, 26 years old.

This morning saw a terribly satisfying resolution to an issue that cropped up a couple of days ago.
Some kind readers here had messaged me to share that they saw my photograph displayed in an art gallery in KL. Only problem was, I had no idea what they were referring to 😂
Someone then sent me a photograph of the exhibition, and sure enough, one of my selfies was there, as clear as day. (Swipe left for the evidence!)
Enquiries with the counter staff netted blank stares, so I turned to social media and wrote a public post on Facebook asking the gallery what they thought they were doing.
This morning I got a very sincere and apologetic call from the gallery manager who explained that they had only discovered the issue when I wrote the FB post, as the reception staff at the gallery had failed to convey the earlier message to them. As it turns out, the exhibition was meant to be a collage of faces representing Malaysia, and the designer who had worked on the exhibition assured the gallery that he had lawfully obtained all the photos.
Evidently, he lied 😐
The designer is also no longer on the gallery’s payroll as his services had been terminated some months back due to performance issues, so they could not even directly take him to task.
But I accepted the gallery’s apology; I trust that they were being sincere and this was just a case of them being let down by a unethical employee.
Despite me accepting their apology and considering the matter closed, they still wanted to make it up to me somehow.
So I am delighted to share that they have offered me use of their gallery for an exhibition of my own!!
It’s very generous of them I must say, and I’m thrilled to bits ❤️
I’m off to day dream about how best to use the space; if you have any ideas let me know in the comments below!
#sareeoftheday : MS Blue (I think) Korvai Kanjivaram, my first ever from my parents to a 15 year old me.

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