Making my fear fuel me…at the IBM Security Summit today

everyday style, fashion

The wonderful Deepali Naair invited me to give a talk at the IBM Security Summit today and the topic was making your fear your fuel.

When I opened my wardrobe to pull out what I would wear, I thought of my topic. I had already pulled out a black lace top and black trousers. Safe, comforting, I always wear black when I have to give a talk, it makes me worry less about my clothes, about inner wear showing through, about stains, I like to think it slims me down a tad for the camera, and trousers are comfort wear. I can move around on stage, I can climb up and down with ease.

Then I stopped myself. What have I always been most terrified about I asked myself, when it came to what I wore when giving a talk. I would do anything to avoid getting into a saree. I’m terrible at draping, can’t fuss about to fold and pleat perfectly, I can never get it perfect at the hem, so it goes up and down like gently bobbing waves, I’m always terrified it will unravel completely when I’m on stage, and that I’ll be standing up there gathering yards of fabric. I’m terrified I will impale myself on those safety pins and die a horrible death from septicemia, basically all the worst case situations I fill my head with.

So today, I wore a saree. I eliminated all my fears one by one. Wore a soft paisley print Satya Paul chiffon filched from my mother in law’s extensive collection, so I could drape it easily. Wore a metallic bronze Zara round t-shirt so I wouldn’t panic about skin show, bra strap show, etc Wore flat Kolhapuri chappals so there was no stress about tripping. Wore the pallu around my neck so it didn’t trail behind me and snag on something, and topple me head first into the stage lights. It was a first. But I think I can conquer this mind block too, what say?

 

Author Harshali Singh decodes her fave looks

everyday style, fashion

If God asks me on judgement day, ‘Name your vice?’

I would unabashedly answer, ‘Buying sarees…’

That is how crazy in love I am with them. They are like a six yard comfort zone. Just wrap yourself around in it …pin …tuck and one is set for the day. I watched my mother wear one, as far back as I can remember so it is pulls at my heartstrings as I do the same.

From a Jeans and shirt kind of girl, marrying into a Sikh family meant the advent of the struggle with the Dupatta. Refusing to rest on my shoulders it chose instead to play truant with my heavy, top side. For several months it flipped and flopped as if taunting my inability to control its willfulness till I would fume and wrap it around my neck…noose like.

It was in my late twenties  that I found my comfort zone. Without feeling awkward, one day I donned the saree and empowered myself. I don’t know whether it was the saree or the confident tilt of my head but I realized that day that the saree was my best friend, never once judging my waxing and waving weight, wrapping me in its embrace with the same enthusiasm each time.

Slowly I found myself in its folds, experimented with fabric with colour with drape. I had found my style. Now the Satya Paul store staff can sense me a mile away. Masaba’s fusion of two distinct and natural fabrics fueled my love for the quirky. I still zealously guard the heavy silks of my trousseau.

Here, I drape a favorite Satya Paul from their Om collection.

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 This sense of understanding what I liked was freeing.

And then Marks and Spencer happened. There was finally a store that carried elegance and sizes that fit this unrepentant foodie who loves her curves. Pet peeve… brands that stalk only Small, Medium and Large sizes. May I just say, even to some of the Indian designers, there are women of this country who can afford to wear you and are above size 12 and equally well dressed. Get real.   

Wearing my M&S Size 14 body con dress proudly, as I walk the cobbled streets of Paris.

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Recently however I discovered the elegance of Indo Western attire. I am of course still in nascent experimental stages, extremely wary of anything that does not ‘fall right’ but I am trying my best to step out of my comfort zone.

This Anita Dongre long Jacket with trousers was what made me come full circle to my troubled relationship with suits.

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As did this traditional Patan Patola in the colour that defines me.

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(Harshali Singh is a New Delhi based Author, former member at the Consumer Forum, an academician, a teacher trainer, a trained Occupational Therapist, an avid reader and a passionate Painter. ‘A Window to her Dreams’, a contemporary Adult fiction was her first novel published by ‘Readomania’ in 2016. It is a series of eight books, called the ‘Haveli Series’. Her second book in this Series ‘The Anatomy of Choice’ has been launched in January 2019. Her poems are part of a woman centric bilingual anthology of poems called ‘She The Shakti’. She has also won the Write India 2018 chapter for the erudite author, Ms Chitra Devakaruni’s prompt. )