15 April 2008

Saris and Sorries

Today one of my students gave me a length of sari fabric.  This is a wonderful gift, and the fabric is very beautiful (I'm not able to take a photo of it, but I put a picture of a similar sari here so you can get the idea).  Actually, a number of my students are very good to me in this way:  they e-mail me randomly, or pop in to say hello.  But only this one brings me gifts, and I'm honest enough to say both that I'm touched and that I love it.

Anyway, my student promised to come back on Wednesday and show me how to drape the sari, but I remembered that I own a book that offers similar instructions (this book, incidentally, is Schott's Original Miscellany, which I highly recommend.  It contains all sorts of random but deeply handy information).  So I scurried home with my beautiful silk sari fabric.  As it turned out, Schott's Original Miscellany was slightly confusing, because it gave only a diagram.  By now I was filled with sari-draping fire, so I went on the Net and sorted it all out.  And then there I was in my bedroom, winding and tucking and draping.

Now, I'm kind of short.  And when I looked down at my be-tucked and be-draped (and be-wound) body I discovered that sari material is, perhaps, designed for slightly taller women.  In any case, there were about six inches of fabric pooling around me on the ground.  And it looked so silly, and it was so the story of my life -- everything is always too long -- only transmuted into a material that is so not the story of my life -- I never wear a sari -- that I burst out laughing.  And then I burst into tears.  Because standing there laughing at how even this foreign item demonstrates my size, I suddenly felt (not even realized; it was too fast) the fact that there was no man there to appreciate that, or to show it to, or to enjoy my smallness with me, or to join me intimately in this moment, and that was so painful for me.  And then I thought that laughing and bursting into tears is exactly the sort of thing that a pathetic, sorrow-ridden woman in a movie would do.  And I was ashamed of myself for being such a woman, such a cliche.

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