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STUNNING SILKS



Chandhini: timeless charm.

THE AMBIENCE of Chandhini Collections attracts you. Maybe the word store is a little demeaning as, for the Sridhars, selling saris is more than just a profession, but a beautiful tradition kept alive by the vivacious Vidya Sridhar.

It is hard not to marvel at the old-fashioned portico, antique furniture, and even more antique artefacts that adorn the walls. In fact, a painting made of multi-coloured silk thread beckons you with an old world charm that is hard to resist. "It was made by my artisans fifty years ago," mentions S.S. Chandrashekar, father-in-law of Vidya, proudly. His store, Poornima Silk House on K.G. Road was shut down late last year.

Vidya, a graduate in Nutrition and Dietetics from Trichy began selling saris at home in September 2001, marking the beginning of her new career. "The best part about working from home has been that our clients enjoy dropping by and chatting with us and then, incidentally they do pick up our saris," she laughs. "My father-in-law shares an excellent rapport with them, entertains them, and often draws them into interesting conversation. He is really a wonderful marketing man," she remarks.

"I want to offer silk saris to my clients, with unique borders and in rare combinations. While we focus on keeping the tradition intact, our sari is truly contemporary," she states. "Silks are timeless and suit women of all ages," she reveals. I cannot help but agree as she displays a stunning vintage sari with a flourish.

Tradition seems to be a way of life at the Sridhar household, as one can spot ancient lamps and paintings everywhere. "My husband, who is a chartered accountant assists me in every possible way. He takes care of the finance, administration, and not to forget the heavy travel involved," explains Vidya. A homemaker and mother of two, accolades kept pouring in for her saris at a friend's daughter's wedding last year.

Mr. Chandrashekar has a picture of the late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, donning one of his saris. "Well, Pupul Jayakar picked up one of our saris at the Cottage Emporium in Delhi, as our store was a supplier," explained son, Sridhar. "My mother-in-law owned an enviable collection," claims Vidya who has done all her research on old saris.

"My father-in-law is there to guide us all the time, correcting me when I make a mistake," says Vidya. Pointing out to an exceptional piece, designed on the lines of a traditional dhoti-white with borders in red and green, she says: "If you have an idea in mind, we will try our best to make it possible." They also house eye-catching polycot saris and of course, cottons.

"When our clients feel happy then it most certainly is a high, the fatigue simply vanishes," confesses Vidya, who believes that honesty is the best policy. It is in fact, her credo. While she admits that she harbours no specific plans for the future, she admits that they want to do the patriarch proud.

Their cottons fall in the range of Rs. 285 to Rs 2,000 and the silk cotton saris are available at Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 3,500. The polycot saris fall in the range of Rs. 350 and Rs.1,500 and the cotton saris with silk borders are priced between Rs. 1,700 and Rs. 2,500. And finally, their pure silk saris are available at Rs. 3,000 and above. The store even has a benefit scheme for interested shoppers. For details, contact Chandhini Collections at 162, 11th Cross, 8th Main, Malleswaram or call 3349271

HARIPRIYA SRINIVASAN

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