A Discourse on the Saree Fetish

By Amitava Sen

Why do we buy things?
Some for immediate consumption, like food, which we need for survival or mere delight of palate.
We buy theatre tickets, for enjoyment and entertainment.
Or, books and arts, to meet our intellectual needs.
We spend money on investment, with expectation for a return in cash or kind.
Also, for long term uses, like houses for shelter. The range of items like homes and cars are not always based on a minimum need; often times they exceed the rational limit. But their uses remain utilitarian nevertheless.
Amongst many others, clothing is an important area we spend our money on, so that we maintain a societal decorum and do not bare us to the world; and for sartorial splendor, of course.
Generally, we acquire thing to meet some kind of needs or perceived needs, material, physical or intellectual.
But there are a few items we get out of sheer obsession of the moments with complete disregard for need or return on investment and we make irrational judgment about the value of the acquisition. Consider for example, saree-buying frenzy of an India born women in our Bengalee community.
A mirror view is satisfying, but principally nice attire helps us look good in others’ eyes. At least that is a reasonable assumption. But observing some Bengalee women here, saree possession seems to have crossed the threshold of reasonableness; it looks like an uncontrollable mania. Continue reading