Defying conventions and stereotypes of age, several older women saree influencers have become overnight viral sensations on the internet in recent times.
From weightlifting to dancing to running businesses, these older women believe and prove their beautifully draped traditional sarees don’t come in the way of achieving dreams. If anything, their nine yards fuel their aspirations along with both comfort and style.
Even as more and more younger persons opt for the saree, shattering its image as an ‘older women’s dress’, the role of our nanis and dadis in ensuring its continued relevance is unparalleled. After all, for so many of us, weren’t they the ones who helped us drape our first sarees?
Like our grandmothers who flitted about their daily chores in sarees with ease, these viral older women sensations left social media enraptured with their skills, all while draped in their best attire.
Here are some older women saree influencers to know:
1. Weightlifter Dadi
Kiran Bai at 83 is pulling off fitness stunts with weights that those of us thrice lesser in age couldn’t even fathom doing. After an injury left her inactive about the house – stalling her daily chores, her mode of staying fit – she turned to dumbbells and weights with help from her grandson. And now she can deadlift with ease! Here’s her story.
“I’m reminded of those good old days when I was fearless and active,” she says.
2. Bowling Grandma
Jaws collectively dropped on the internet when this grandma bowled a clean strike at the alley in her saree. The redeeming moment however came when after her fantastic throw, she turned around and wrung her hands as if the game was much ado about nothing. That was it? her manner seemed to say.
After she went viral, Twitter’s bowling grandma thanked all her fans from her grandson’s account.
— Sudarshan Krishnamurthy (@sudkrish) May 17, 2021
3. Warrior Aaji
Among the earliest pandemic lockdown viral sensations, Pune’s Shanta Balu Pawar stunned netizens countrywide by juggling sticks on the street in her saree, like a total boss. The 85-year-old, fondly known as ‘Warrior Aaji‘, revealed she had been doing martial arts since the age of eight and used her skills as livelihood for the family.
In a turnaround for her, actor Sonu Sood helped Pawar set up her own martial arts and self defence academy.
4. Mrs Verma
Mrs Verma is an Instagram favourite, swirling and twirling and grooving to trends along with her youth contemporaries. She’s “playing it cool after 70s” with her husband, Mr Verma, a steady pair in her adventures and her biggest cheerleader.
Her account sees a mix of influencer fashion and dance videos, as she gracefully enjoys as much in a saree as she does in a pencil skirt and heels. A perfect combination of “classy and sassy.”
5. Entrepreneur Gujjuben
Gujjuben Urmila Jamnadas Asher is in her late 70s, a family matriarch holding everyone together with her “mom-made” Gujarati snack business and an undying spirit. Her ‘Gujjuben na Nasta’ began during the lockdown and has bolstered into a well-loved, household name across Maharashtra.
Working hard, working fast – Gujjuben does it all in her saree, spreading smiles and filling hungry stomachs.
6. Usha Soman
Fitness runs in the family here. Usha Soman is in her 80s and she treks, works out and runs like it’s a piece of cake (probably a healthy, no-fat, diet one). She’s the mother of the super athletic Milind Soman, but is an icon of fitness by herself too. The actor often shares visuals of his mother either running marathons barefoot in a saree or doing an effortless plank in one.
Last year, Soman became the oldest woman to complete the Sandakphu Trek. Read about it here.
Views expressed are the author’s own.