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    Ally and Anju Photos, stills

    A LOVELY thing has been happening on my Facebook timeline: women in colourful sarees are posting pictures, with little stories attached to each, every day; some I know, others I dona��t, all hashtagged #100sareepact. And I was curious.

    Ally and Anju

    Ita��s only Day 5 of the #100sareepact when I meet its creators, perfumier Ally Matthan and filmmaker Anju Maudgal Kadam for their first official interview (both wearing beautiful sarees). By now the #100sareepact is a mini movement.
    The idea popped up during a casual chat between the two, nudged along by Anjua��s friend Kusum Rohra. a�?We have dozens of sarees, most of which we dona��t wear,a�? says Ally. So why not air and wear them? Pick out a hundred sarees for the rest of the year a�� perhaps wear one every three days. Sarees they own a�� not necessarily new ones. Then post a photo dressed in the saree on Facebook, with a small introduction. Simple.
    They didna��t realise it would
    catch on quicker than fire. As they posted, friends thrilled at the idea, joined in. And the saree stories poured forth.
    One woman posted a photo in the first saree she bought. A corporate wore her saree on a construction site, a third shared stories of sarees worn to college. A fourth posted from hospital. A friend in the US decided to dust off her saree collection and join in, as did another in Japan. Sarees from husbands, mothers, besties, mothers-in-law. A blogger in the US invited them to post their saree story on her website. a�?Social media amplifies the message, “says Anju.
    Both Ally and Anju are clear this isna��t commercial or self-promotional in any way. Nor do they pitch themselves as a�?saree expertsa��. a�?What started as a small idea to wear sarees we already have has become a medium bringing people together, many of them strangers.a�? Men too are chipping in, applauding the endeavour. The sarees, along with the myriad women wearing them, have become stars.
    Ita��s not just about airing sarees now. Both Ally and Anju have realised the richness of storytelling that has also opened up in the process: new friends, happy tales, acknowledging our Indian heritage in ways that cuts across class, culture and age. a�?We see already the stories touching othersa�� lives,a�? says Anju, as people across timelines comment excitedly on new posts.
    On the anvil is a blog on the #100sareepact journey, an archival site featuring all the stories they will gather over the next months; events too. Both say theya��re only catalysts a�� ita��s not about them but the growing community of women and their beautiful sarees they are discovering daily. Anju and Ally recount a few a�� sad, poignant, happy, inspiring.
    If the first five days are anything to judge by, there will be a deluge to come as the days unfold and posts multiply. a�?I love opening my Facebook page now,a�? says Anju, a�?My timeline is so beautiful.a�?

    m firstimpressionbangalore@gmail.com

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