One of the most visibly significant things about Assamese attire is its two piece garment for ladies. While almost the entire country prescribes a long 6-9m cloth as saree for the women folk, traditionally, women in Assam wear a skirt-like lower part “mekhela” and drape over it with a “sador”. Currently, the idea of wearing a two piece saree over a frustratingly long one has appealed to the masses, igniting a noticeable popularity for the Mekhela Sador.
Assamese brides adorn one of the most beautiful albeit costliest silk, muga silk, especially pat muga which has a distinctive off-white shine while also being known for its quality and durability. Not many years ago every single bride prided herself in owning a fabric as stunning as a pat muga mekhela sador with the popular red motifs. The garment has been passed on as family heirloom for generations and each recipient had taken a great deal of care to keep it as good as new: as luck would have had it, the silk only improves its sheen with every careful wash.
Pat muga today has created its own distinct identity as a representation of the Assamese culture. The kind of rush that it generates for an authentic fabric rather than the low quality replica that is easily available in markets is a testament to the growing consciousness and appreciation of the consumers for the traditional garment.
It would thus be a mistake to consider the popularity of pat muga as an evanescent ‘moment’; the durability of its popularity is cemented by the unconsciousness need to own one in a lifetime. Occasions come and go, but an Assamese wardrobe shall always be ornamented by a muga set of mekhela sador. So much has this fascination grown that the muga fabric has easily seeped into other forms of attires a simple kurti, a mainstream lehenga suit or even the newest favourite, crop tops (as can also be seen in Srishti Handlooms collection as well).
Nothing sets the stage for the muga silk to gain the spotlight even more vibrantly as the Bihu season does. The current fad with cotton, cotton silk or other types of cloth, and their bright colours with contrasting motifs, do attract a lot of women. All sorts of innovative sador designs make their way into the market: Yet none steals the show the way a muga mekhela sador does.
Summers and Spring call in for fabrics that not only are vibrant but can be worn and handled in days of unwelcome, intense heat. In that regard, cotton mekhela sador of solid colours with intricate embroidery near the ends are a favourite ‘casual’ wear (As casual as a mekhela sador can get) for all women. Quite understandably, a muga mekhela sador can be difficult to handle at all times due to its dense quality.
Keeping this in mind, young girls mix and match different draping materials to go with a common muga sador, or possibly a mekhela and blouse combination with a different draping sador. It goes without saying that muga can easily blend well with any colour while also maintaining its uniqueness. A bright green sador blended with a muga mekhela and blouse, or a muga sador blended with a tangerine blouse and mekhela are the usual, unfaultable choices that does a lot of the elegance quota of the one wearing.
In a nutshell, what makes a simple mekhela sador so convenient and preferred for any warranted occasions is the ability and pace to experiment with it. Nobody is too young or too old to wear it, and frankly, no one needs a special excuse to flaunt it either. Yet the beauty of Bohag month coupled with the air of festivity and cheery environment adds to the glamour of bringing out the gorgeous attire out. Bihu, especially Rongaali Bihu, has served a special purpose to test the myriad of possibilities to make the entire get up of an average Assamese woman interesting. The sombre appeal of your classic assamese attire never fails to make its mark.