When Mondays Meant Saris

Musings / Monday, June 26th, 2023

When Mondays meant saris…

My first job after graduating was as a teacher at Jain International Residential School.

There were many other firsts:

It was my first time as a teacher. Studying a paper called ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ can in no way prepare you to meet a bunch of raucous 5th graders.

It was the first time I would be away from home. 24 is not the time to realize that you don’t even know how to make Maggi.

It was the first time I had to wear saris for work. Every day.

I had hastily taken one lesson from my adopted sister on the art of wearing a sari before setting off.

It wasn’t enough.

Which is why I would wake up at 5 am to get ready for the dining hall at 7 am. 2 hours. That’s how long it took to figure out the pleats and wraps and all that came with wearing a sari.

I would then stutter along, hoping the sari would stay in place, while trying desperately to look dignified and authoritative to students who knew more swear words than I did.

It was the most idiotic I had ever been in my professional life.

Thankfully, you had to only wear a sari for the morning classes. Come afternoon, I was free to wear “Indian kurtas.” The relief. 💃

I left the school after just 10 months. Was it the saris? Was it the repressive atmosphere in the school, where every action was questioned? Or just a friend urging me to travel with her? I don’t know.

I would teach for another 3 years in China, this time wearing jeans, before I gave up teaching altogether.

Almost 15 years later, in 2016, I went back to the school. (What was I doing with this hairstyle?)

Ironically with a student who is now one of my dearest friends. (𝘖𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘵𝘦 & 𝘣𝘭𝘶𝘦)

This time, I wore corduroys and smiled at the flow of memory.

𝗜 𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗮𝗿𝗶𝘀 – 𝘁𝘂𝗰𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝘄𝗮𝘆, 𝘄𝗿𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗻𝗮𝗽𝗵𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗲 𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘀, 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗰𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗮 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗜 𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗱, 𝗳𝗮𝗶𝗹𝗲𝗱, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝘆𝘄𝗮𝘆…

Ah, Mondays.

One Reply to “When Mondays Meant Saris”

  1. Thanks for the look back at grooming and dress work requirements. Now that you have me thinking of the things I do not miss from those times, here are a few of mine:
    Being in the Navy and being told what to wear 24/7.
    Shaving my face every morning, first down then up.
    In civilian life, wearing a different suit, crisply starched shirt, and tie every day.
    Waking up early every weekday morning and and most weekend mornings too.
    With retirement, these minor annoyances are finally behind me. I envy today’s digital gypsies who have discovered how to live their own lives and make money at the same time.

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