Lost In London
The first time I manage a wrap with my own sari and am brave enough to wear it out turns out also to be the day there has been a terror attack in London on London Bridge. The city is on high alert and the streets are quiet. Here I am on the London Underground coming out of Oxford Circus tube in a pure white sari. Oh my god, do I look like a suicide bomber! I can’t help thinking. Really hoping I look a bit too trendy for that. Holy moly! There are armed police in the tube station! I just beam big smiles and in a very British way 'Keep Calm and Carry On' trying not to feel too exposed without my western clothes on to blend in.
These few seconds bring up loaded questions for me - “Have I been blending in all my life? - No, that can't be, my life is here and I’m British - well I’m British Asian and maybe its the Asian part I’ve not paid much notice to”. Why would I suddenly describe my usual clothes as ‘western’? Where did that come from? They are just my clothes which I have always worn and have many different influences. Does this then make a sari purely Asian? Possibly, but I feel it can be a drape garment worn by anybody trying something different for the day, that’s what I am doing.” ‘Why do I suddenly feel exposed? I feel I am wearing something that doesn’t get much attention or even respect in this country. I don’t see beautiful examples of people wearing saris outside in the daytime, it all takes place behind closed doors at weddings and private events that I don't go to I suppose. There are areas of London with a high population of asians - even then it’s usually not the younger generation but the grandmas wearing their saris under a heavy coats in the summer with trainers, to be honest it’s not that inspiring for a young lady.”
Photo by Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images. Via Pinterest
Saris and gas masks, 23rd December 1939. A group of Indian women who have volunteered to man the auxiliary ambulance station in Augustus Street, St. Pancras, London, undergoing a gas mask drill at the station.