More than any thing else, our trip to the Raw Mango studio, which recently opened up to customers and where designer Sanjay Garg cooks up his gorgeous saris, is a feast for the palate: here, we sample not only the sharp green of a kacchi kayri but also a range of saturated hues, all of which we can almost taste: bright pink is tart and cooling, brown is crumbly sweet, white is rich and buttery and coats our mouths.
We Bought a Zoo
Even though Raw Mango is available at Good Earth, it’s a very limited stock, so we suggest you take an appointment and drive out to Sanjay’s Chattarpur studio where you’ll be treated to cupboard-fulls of loot. Among these is his new line made with Benarasi fabrics, a change from Raw Mango’s almost exclusive focus on Chanderi silks in the past. And although the fabrics used might be traditional, these are not your mother’s wedding saris: cut from bright pop colours, they feature a menagerie of modern motifs, including swallows, crows and tiny cows, a fierce red-and-gold tiger with its paw raised.
Pay special attention to a magenta sari strewn with green and yellow and gold lotus flowers, embossed so you can almost pick them off the fabric; and a banyan tree pattern on softer pink for the sister of the bride. But we’re here as bachelorettes and swing towards buttery silk cottons, muddy grey with silver gold crows, vivid cherry with adorable blue and gold sparrows, and a hot pink, cow stamped dupatta we imagine wearing over a little black dress to a fancy dinner. Sanjay does lehengas on order and customised motifs as well, but only in bulk: so if you’d like a set of dupattas to give away at your wedding, he’s your guy.
It’s easy to write a story about Sanjay, who’s life plays out like the plot of a Great Indian Novel: a boy from the village, he moved to a big city for college, took on some extra work to pay for a foreign education and stumbled upon a weaver’s collective that would keep him close to his roots. Add to that the bowls of jasmine that are scattered through the room we are seated in, brass water tumblers and a golden cow on a bright pink sari, and you have the next Booker winner.
The prize itself might be a little ways off, but at least we know what we’re going to wear to the award ceremony.
Getting there: Angoori Bedi, Farm No. 3, Road AA, Ansal Villa, Satbadi, Chattarpur (by appointment), call 65026437 or visit the website here. Rs 22,000 for Chanderi silk sari with banyan print.