My love for the Saree is as old as me. My first Saree model was my mother and I always wanted to dress up like her. When I started travelling for work, I discovered the world of Handloom Sarees. My Saree collection is more than 20 years old. As a professional working on livelihood issues, I travel length and breadth of India. Buying Sarees from every region is the most important agenda of the work-trip after work, I can proudly say that I have almost all major weaves of India. For me, every weaver is an artist, the work of art gets ready in two days or months depending on the type of weave.
I have been running for last three years. When I ran Pinkathon in Delhi with thousands of women last year, it was a surreal experience to see so many of them running together. I promised myself my next Pinkathon will be in our traditional attire “The Saree”. In December 2017, I did 10K at Super Sikh run in saree, after which I realized the barrier was in my mind. The attire didn’t create any difficulty in my run. I draped a Tamil Nadu cotton with a turban tied around my head. Whenever I think of that moment it gives me goosebumps. Since then I have done many runs in a saree. There are many women who would like to run but are not comfortable wearing the running gear, I would like to encourage them and not to use attire as an excuse for doing any physical activity.
Also, through my saree runs, I want to promote handlooms and share the plight of weavers in my posts. In June 2016, I along with two more people set up a Facebook group called The Saree Story (#TheSareeStory). We are a 3900+ member group, the participants are from all over the world, and our aim is to encourage women to wear more and more handloom sarees in order to enhance the income of the weavers.
My most planned and prepared run was at Pinkathon in Bangalore on 18th February this year. It was fantastic to see thousands of people gathered at Kanteerava stadium. From photographers to fellow runners to by-standers everyone clapped and cheered wholeheartedly for my saree run. It was extremely encouraging to see few ladies in sarees as well. Many women walked up to me and shared that they would run in sarees the next time. I am sure more and more women, who are fence sitters and apprehensive to run in sarees or any traditional attire will come forward and make an attempt towards it.
I would like to share some tips which worked for me, I hope you can try them too in your next run in saree J
- I realized natural fabrics like cotton and silk are breathable, therefore, best for running. While running we will feel hot and sticky, breathable fabric helps in circulation of air.
- Always wear a well-fitted t-shirt or a blouse, as it sticks to your body and encourages free movement of hands
- Drape the saree a bit high, I prefer ankle length so that while running you don’t step on it.
- I prefer to wear a petticoat than tights. I tie it a bit high and tuck my Tshirt in so that it gives a good grip to the petticoat while draping the saree
- Till now I have tried only two styles for running, the ulta palla and the seedha palla (Gujarati style). Out of the two Gujarati style is best, it gives lots of room for running.
- I pin my sarees from three places –
- the pleats in the front, I pin them with the petticoat
- the Palla from the top so that while running it stays on the shoulder
- And the last pin is on the left side of the palla, where I stretch it and tuck it in with the petticoat and Saree.
Happy running in sarees!