The home town

Thaavani (Half Saree)

I insisted on wearing thaavani, you know, I insisted. It was not my parents, but I asked for it. It is my upbringing that is, I come from such a family of very good people, that the moment I felt the lumps (paatti told me that this is not a disease but normal lumps girls get at this age), I decided that I will wear thaavani. I am not the kind of girl who wears all those tops with frills to cover lumps, I am not from that kind of family. I insisted that I wanted to cover my lumps, properly, not using frilled tops. I have not attained major yet, you know, I don't know what it is, but people say that that is one of the criteria for changing to thaavani. Everyone in my class were surprised to see me in thaavani. They all commented that I am too small, not even attained major yet. That makes me feel very proud of myself. See, what a good girl I am. I even wear the thaavani by bringing all the layers inbetween the lumps to make the area flat so that the lumps do not show. Yes, I make it flat. It will be a shame if they protrude and show. That will be a shame. These lumps are shame for me. That is why I make them flat by bringing all the layers of thaavani inbetween them to fill the gap there. You should also cover from both the sides. If the thaavani slipped a little, it is a shame. Real shame

I insisted on wearing thaavani you know. I am from a good family and I am a good girl. I am not one of those who wears those frilled tops. I am very cultured. I am very proud of myself. Checked if the flat-thaavani stays flat and covered both the sides well, real well. Good. I smile.

26 Responses to “Thaavani (Half Saree)”

  1. # Blogger sudha

    i thought dhavani was sexy .......my mom discourages me from wearing a saree even now :))  

  2. # Blogger neha vish

    Brilliant post Prema. It brings back so many memories of the struggles with growing up. The notion that biological maturity has anything to do with mental maturity..  

  3. # Blogger Premalatha


    I wish I could post my picture in that thaavani. it is a lovely b/w photo with my cousin sister. She was all stylish, I was all not-stylish. I was so proud of not doing stylish things those days. it was just pinning the thaavani with safety pin, and wearing it neatly by folding them neatly. that is all it was. The photo is in kombai with chithi, if she has not destroyed it yet. :(  

  4. # Blogger Michelle

    Hey prema

    how about explaining thaavani for a foreigner! :)  

  5. # Blogger Premalatha

    It is an half saree, just the front part of a saree that covers the chest (breasts) and just a little that goes around the back. the followin gimage is for full saree, i will post if i find a picci of a half saree.


  6. # Blogger Michelle

    Thanks prema

    I haven't been near a saree since 1987 when a friend showed me how to do the pleats. You know, the old Scottish kilts were similar. You pleated a big piece of material by hand and then took the end up over the shoulder. Only they wore it with a belt. I must see if I can find pictures of old kilts.  

  7. # Blogger Michelle

    Yaay! :)

    here you go - how to fold a real kilt, not like these modern ones made like a skirt.


  8. # Blogger phantom363

    the disappearance of the thavani from the sartorial library of the southern belle, is the biggest loss to the grace and elegance of the tamil girl. :(

    my sister wore it. my girl cousins wore it. my chithi wore it. chances are that my mom wore it. :)

    the thavani signified a budding woman, not quite formed, stressing more on the bud, than on the end flower. :) there was a freshness of beauty when a previously pavadai clad girl emerged into a thavani wearing lass. :)

    in a recent issue of dinakaran, there was a picture of school girls writing some sort of exam in one of those huge halls that we all are familiar with. it was a digital pix, and of the hundred or so girls pictured, there was only one thavani. :(

    pity :(

    the replacement of the thavani by salwar/kameez or jeans/tops may be a matter of convenience. :)

    but the loss of elegance, grace and something of a 'tamil essence' invokes pangs of something lost. :(

    ahhh! but this only an old male fogey's lament :( who cares ? :(  

  9. # Blogger Premalatha

    In the western they have changed styles from their Victorian edwardian to hippies style and to the current one. The old style comes back in fashion after some time. Fashion is seen as fashion here. When you attach cultural value to it, it makes it complicated.
    There are two types of changes.
    1) girls who want to catch up with other cool girls 2)girls who want to come out of their suppression. Both the kind will not go back to thaavani.
    Sad. Thavani will go. Same thing happened to the traditional style of saree tieing. It is not there anymore.

    I would say it is fault of the city people. :)  

  10. # Anonymous Anonymous

    hi,perma,my name is sadytha my i wore a half sareer one but i looked bad in it,but i tried a wearing a saree and i looked good in it,why is this?  

  11. # Anonymous Anonymous

    hi,my name is tina
    i love wearing half saree and i looked just like trisha when she wore one in the movie something something unakum enakum  

  12. # Anonymous Anonymous

    wow this brought back memories for me too sad ones. My mom was so mean to me while growing up as was my sister. I used to be the baby of the house and my mom and sister laughed at my budding breasts. I used to pray every night that they disappeared, All thru growing up i was so ashamed of my breasts . I think a girl should be allowed to grow up understanding that each development physically is one of beauty. I still cry when i think how ashamed my mother made me feeling during my first period, I hid it from her as she described it as nasty. Even after that whenever i got a period i stained my skirt or something she told eveyone in the family and they called me dirty and laughed. Due to this in my early thirties i still have horribly period and pms. I hope every mother nurtures her daughter better and loves her more and teaches her that puberty is a wonderful thing as i dont want any girl child to suffer like i did.  

  13. # Anonymous Ganesh

    It is very sad that the spectacular tradition of Half-saree
    that is unique to south india is going away.I belelive the biggest mistake was it was replcing the pavadai-thavani with suridhar as a school dress.
    Now most of the growing ups do not know even how is it.
    My-self having been visted many plcaes in india and other countries
    when I came back that was the dress that captured my imagination.
    If I think of most authentic beauties on earth,My childhood memories of neighbours and school mates in half saree comes to my mind.They just simply look like angels in it.

    For me it is the ultimate dress....
    For Michale:-

    This is a link of latest tamil movie where you can find the actress in half-saree.........

  14. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Hi Premalatha:
    Delightful story about Half Saree! It was featured at Saree Dreams (http://www.SareeDreams.com)  

  15. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Nice Story


    Shanmuga Sundaram

  16. # Anonymous Nanban

    Thaavani enbathu,

    Netraya Ninaivugalai

    Intraya Thagaval parimattramai

    Naalaya Kalvettugalai

    Maaarividumo ini,

    Kalvettugalenum karayamal irukkatum enbathuve en vizhaivu.


  17. # Blogger rt r

    Absolutely lovely post :-)
    The language struck a chord...  

  18. # Anonymous CT

    Hey, its amazing, how you have not yet attained "major" in your words, but are so careful about your dressing. Iam 28, and I think its impossible to hide our lumps everyday. Its feminine thing, and as long as the whole dress looks decent, I think its okay not to waer a thavani but a western dresses. Its very dificult to wear a saree or a thavani whole day and do travelling or physical work. Thats why salwars replaced our sarees, but sarees are very sexy, so theres no way of covering our breasts fully..:) ;) actually sad..the boys get to note it all the time...its best to dress modest..  

  19. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Churidhar is preferable to dhavani for the following reason: When a girl starts to wear Dhawani she is confronted with this question: "Why so soon? You have nothing there yet". Or if she delays wearing Dhawani, "Please wear a Dhawani soon. Your breasts are attracting lot of attention". But when a girl wears a churidhar she always has a dupatta irrespective of age.  

  20. # Anonymous yuvalakshmi

    thavani is a traditional dress of tamilnadu which makes the pretty girls to look more and more pretty........................................................... it also makes the girls to look like goddess mahalakshmi ...............  

  21. # Anonymous saree point

    Whether its Bollywood saree, Tollywood saree or sexy saree. All photos can be found at once place, called saree point. This website gives you latest saree photos and saree news. This Sari website has been divided into 3 parts. One gives latest Sari information and photos while the second section provides Bollywood saree information. While the third section have Sari Model photos and information.sari

  22. # Blogger Abhishek

    Dear prema and all others "WHO IS WEARING THAAVANI THESE DAYS.......?" Not even 10...
    I am also from tamil nadu but i had seen only them in films and stories what my mom told...
    I have got a nice idea to PROMOTE THAVANI...
    Can you all help me
    If any one of you know any one from big dress makers like LEVIS/LEE/MEGAMART/WEEKENDER/Naidu Hall/Charg Din etc ask them to study the "LOOKS, PASSION AND STYLE AND SEX APPEAL/ sex quotient in their point of view" and promote this as a good stlyish product
    Girls not only in tamilnadu but all over the world will FALL in LOVE with it...

  23. # Anonymous sari

    Great knowledge you have given to me
    thank you
    sarees salwar kameez saree designer sarees salwar kameez kurti kids ware copier dealer in Mumbai http://www.dishaexports.net

  24. # Anonymous Yvonne

    Hi there, its quite surprising for me to come across this post. I live in Asia. I wore half saree in my wedding..Its not my tradition to wear saree but my parents are from India. I just adore Indian attire. Salwar kameez to sarees. Each of these accentuates any woman's beauty. Its dramatic for me to choose half saree as my wedding attire but i made a fashion statement which has made half saree popular in my community. About the "lumps" I feel it is totally ridiculous. A woman should be proud of her feminine side of being. There is nothing to be embarrassed about budding bosoms, it is a symbol of beauty. Half saree or salwar kameez should not be worn to hide your "embarrassment" it is silly..It should be worn as an attire which accentuates a woman's beauty.  

  25. # Anonymous Kadir

    Brilliant post!!! Nowadays Thavani was completely plundered by Nighties and Slawar-Kamez  

  26. # Blogger Abhishek

    ya as said by kadhir, not only nighties n salwars but shorths & t-shirts, even in temples... oh god.. help us!!!! :-)  

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