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Let's bring a smile to her face.

What is the one activity we women revel in? Okay, let me give you a clue.  It is something that concerns no one but us; not our kids, not our partners, and certainly not our work. Yes. It's our sartorial sense! Which woman on this planet does not enjoy getting all dressed up,  putting on some make-up,  and styling her hair in a way that enhances her beauty and transforms her into Cinderella? We all do, don't we? We may differ in the passion with which we do it, but, we all do find an out-of-the-world happiness in the entire process, don't we?

A festive occasion, a family function, a friend's wedding, or even a girls'  day out gives us a  reason to look forward to indulging ourselves. Some of us go the extra mile and visit a beauty salon and splurge on our grooming in order to stand out from the crowd! We bring out our special occasion-only outfits, borrow from our sisters/moms/friends  all the matching accessories  we can, just to feel special. The feeling deep down is of intense pleasure on seeing our transformation from the daily Plain Janes, isn't it?

Now, here's another activity we women enjoy to the hilt - shopping. How we love to buy the latest designer outfits or sarees just so that we don't appear "oh-so-old fashioned"! How we splurge on those shopping sprees,  hardly pausing to ponder over the lack of space in our filled-to-capacity wardrobes! We love buying stuff on our trips abroad, or during festivals, but how difficult we find it to let go of the clothes that lie in our wardrobes for years on end. Yes, we do give away old clothes we have stopped wearing; clothes which have faded with time and lost their charm. But,  frankly, we do it all in order to make some space for our latest purchase, isn't it?

Now, this is one activity we fear indulging in: pausing to think about those less fortunate ones for whom our luxuries are but a distant dream - a dream that stands no chance of ever turning into a reality, even if for a day? Those less-privileged souls out there, who toil day and night to earn a few pennies only to spend it on their daily bread; for whom some extra income means being able to pay for tomorrow's ration, or buying clothes for their children, or paying for their tuition fees which have been pending since many a month now. Women, for whom their men, their children, and their hungry bellies matter more than the clothes they use to cover themselves.

We, the "privileged" ones have a countless outfits/sarees lying in our wardrobes for years together (thanks to our hoarding), yet we don't find it in our hearts to give those away to someone who would love to own something that could bring a sparkle to their eyes. We preserve some in memory of those who gifted us those sarees, wishing we wore them someday, but how often do we, really? How often do we even bring them out of the wardrobes to look at and feel the warmth and love that's attached to them? Rarely, isn't it?  Why don't we hold on to that beautiful memory instead and give away the garment to someone needy? Wouldn't the person who gifted us be happier if someone wore it instead of it lying in the wardrobe, untouched for years on end?

This "giving away something that's still beautiful, to someone who could use is to feel beautiful" was the thought behind a new venture Vibhushita that my friend Priya Pullur has begun working on.  It's a noble deed that really does not require you to do much, except collect all those sarees that you haven't worn in years, but which still have a shine in them. Pair them up with their respective blouses, petticoats and accessories (purses etc, if you have any), enclose them neatly in pouches and gift these to those underprivileged women in your vicinity, or even your domestic help, for whom buying such sarees is unimaginable, and bring a smile to their faces. That's all! Easy, no?

Doesn't she, who owns no more than a couple of cheap, faded sarees ever pine for one saree that could make her happy, even if for a day? Doesn't she have the right to feel like the queen that you feel when you doll up? And, I promise you, she will maintain your old saree like a precious jewel, a family heirloom to be kept safe and regarded with respect and awe; to be draped to feel like a queen, for every occasion she thinks is special. I promise, that the smile you will see on her face will be a smile worth a million bucks; a smile that will make you feel on top of the world! A smile that will be the best gift for you, ever!

Do visit the site; it's just a  beginning. A humble beginning for a noble cause that sure can do with a little bit of contribution from us all! And,  also do go rummaging through your wardrobes. I am sure you will find those sarees that you haven't worn in a long time, but which could definitely bring some cheer to a needy soul. A gentle reminder, though - make sure it's all in a good condition. We don't want to break an innocent heart, do we? And, as we say that charity begins at home, I am going to bring out all of my MIL's beautiful sarees that haven't been brought out of their bags since the past two years now and donate those to someone who will cherish them much more. I am sure my MIL will feel happy; she used to do it herself - give away her lovely sarees to women who asked if she could spare a decent one!

Do think about it. It does take a lot of emotional strength to give away something that's dear to you, but therein lies your benevolence.

May God bless you!


  1. This is a very good initiative Shilpa. Your friend started something which is going to be helpful for many less fortunate ones. I also try to donate all my clothes which are in good condition. Only if people understand and be little more kind.

  2. Lovely lovely thought Shilpa!! I am proud to say that I do it often! I find joy in giving away good stuff that I may no longer want it.

    And it baffles me to think how hard it is for some people to give things away. Hope more and more people find joy in doing this.

  3. This is such a fabulous idea. I have w hole trunk full of saris which I will never ever wear. Will look up the site for sure.

  4. This was beautiful - how I wish I could be there with you. Thank you for reminding us of what is important

  5. Just wonderful my friend:-) and true- a smile is the best gift - both ways... always ... inspriring

  6. This is a wonderful initiative---I wish I had sarees to do this!

  7. Gorgeous initiative Shilpa. I just gave out one of my never worn sarees to my daily help who has been with me for donkey years now! I keep giving her other stuff (yes to make space in my wardrobe but also because its something I cant wear anymore and will be new for someone else) but a saree has been a first for me!

    Theme: Peregrination Chronicles (travel)
    G is for Grape Stomping in Bangalore #atozchallenge


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