The big deal with Oprah Winfrey’s sari

What is a sari? It’s about nine yards of fabric that is draped rather artfully around the body and usually you see women in India wearing saris. There are many styles of wearing a sari but the most common one is to tie it around the waist, add some pleats and then throw the drape over a shoulder, baring the midriff.

You can, of course, get your blouse stitched the way you like.  Modern styles dictate a very sexy outlook to most sari blouses but if you like to have some modesty you can style your sari blouse and have the bits and bobs covered that you don’t want on show. That’s how I get my sari blouses made!

I’m not one to wear a sari very often. I find it very complicated and can just about tie a simple style and not trip over the pleats. One thing I pride myself in is that I never use safety pins to hold my sari in place. My cousin sister wears enough pins to set off a metal detector and never goes near magnets when wearing a sari.

So anyway, this week Oprah Winfrey ended up in India and decided to pop over to the Bachchans household for a meet up. The Bachchan family is very popular in Bollywood with Amitabh and Jaya at the head of the family with their son Abhishek, who is also an actor and their daughter in law Aishwariya (nee Rai) who also acts. Recently the Bachchan family was blessed with a new addition who is fondly named as ‘Beti B’ as they STILL haven’t decided on a name for the child two months on.

Oprah has interviewed Aishwariya on her show in the USA and was gifted a sari back then and again this time when Oprah decided to visit her friend, once again she was gifted a sari by Aishwariya that Oprah wore to a function when she went out with the Bachchan family.

What amused me totally was that this made headlines. The fact that Oprah wore a sari was plastered all over the place and everyone seemed to be making a big deal about it. That’s like her coming to Kenya and wearing a ‘kitenge’. SO WHAT? We don’t make it to headlines dressed in our cultural outfits and neither does anyone else. Out of interest perhaps I could deal with a small column with a picture of Oprah in a sari but full-fledged articles on how she was gifted a sari and hung out with the Bachchans made me roll my eyes.

No I’m not being a hater but COME ON! The Bachchans are like any other family receiving a friend in their home and gifting their friend stuff she wouldn’t ordinarily find in her country. Yes I know the argument will come up that they’re a prominent family and Oprah is a huge name throughout the world but this fame only exists within people exposed to media that allows them the platform to be talked about in such light. I’ve been reading a lot of comments on many news sites online that have given their version of the sari story and there seems to be nothing but disgust at deeming this a story worthy of news headlines.

I’d have liked to read more about her visit to the slum dwellers than read about her sari shenanigans but then again, this is totally my opinion on the matter and giving credit where it’s due, Oprah did look gorgeous in the dusky orange sari.



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