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Little Avani, overcome with an insatiable desire to explore her mother’s dazzling array of saris, pulls all of them from the cupboard and spreads them on the floor in a tangled heap. When her mother peeps inside the room, Avani’s heart skips a beat. Would she get punished for her transgression? Would she get a rollicking from her Mum?
Zenia Wadhwani in an appealingly illustrated picture book, weaves a heartwarming story that is all about nostalgia and precious moments that instill not just curiosity, but also the beginnings of culture in a little girl. After catching Avani in the act of strewing her precious saris all over the floor, her mother sits next to the child and explains not just the technical intricacies associated with each sari, but also the lingering memories attached to them.
A dazzling Kanchipuram silk saree procured in joyous times shares shelf space with a sombre and prosaic counterpart that has a seeped and melancholic history emanating from the partition of India and Pakistan.
“Once Upon a Sari” – Not just a passing story.
(Once Upon a Sari is published by Penguin Random House, Canada, Tundra Books, and will be available on sale beginning 7 May 2024. )
(Thank You Net Galley for the Advance Review Copy)