Handloom Love: Neetu Singh's Madhurya Connection and Cultural Threads

 “It’s funny, but my love for the orange-and-black Kanjeevaram that actress Kangana Ranaut wore for her ‘Thalaivi’ film release was so instant that I decided a similar combo of colors from Madhurya is what I am going to wear for my brother’s wedding,” says Neetu Singh, Strategic Project Leader at a pharmaceutical company in New York.

neetu kanchipuram

Born and raised in Arunachal Pradesh, Neetu Singh’s father was a Government employee working there. Although Neetu belongs to Banaras in Uttar Pradesh, she did her engineering from Aurangabad in Maharashtra. “Currently I am working as a Strategic Project leader/Director at a Pharmaceutical Company and live in New York city after my stint in London for one of my projects,” says Neetu when we caught her buying her favorite silks in Madhurya.  Ask her what more are her interests and pat comes the reply “Flying planes!”  

neetu kanchipuram

Roots in Banaras

Did Neetu have a fascination for handmade crafts and handloom while growing up?

“Though I was raised in Arunachal Pradesh, my roots are from Banaras, so this was a  big reason to love handloom, as I have had a deep appreciation for anything handmade. Banarasi silks, close to my heart, is not just beautiful, it showcases our culture and tradition of North India. This explains my love for hand loom,” says Neetu.

Neetu’s mother also loved Indian hand looms.  “I have weaves from all over the country. Since we have Arunachal Pradesh background, we are familiar with Moonga Silk in Assam, Katgi sari from Orissa and Paithani from Maharashtra. My mother and me love collecting these rare heritage loom creations. We are proud to be showcasing our rare weaves to the world,” says Neetu cherishing the fact that every traditional event she attends in New York has her wearing Indian hand loom designs. 

The Madhurya connect….

Neetu is known to be following Madhurya collections for the past few years. “The first time I got hooked was when I saw the orange and black Kangana Ranaut sari, which I loved. Although you may find it funny, I took a vow that whenever my brother gets married, I am going to buy this Kanjeevaram that Kangana wore for her ‘Thalaivi’ film release, and wear it at his wedding. That’s when this love for Madhurya connection got stronger. Even for my friends’ weddings, I wanted  Kanjeevarams from Madhurya!” says Neetu, adding that the label’s varied, simple-yet-classy collection inspires any creative mind.

 Neetu finally did buy a strikingly similar sari and wore it for her brother’s wedding! 

“An orange sari with black border - a combo I craved to wear!  And I wore it for my brother’s baraat; I also bought a black sari with a pink border for the reception. And for my mother I picked a pink sari with a narrow border with zari as it suited her height. And the picture was complete with my sister getting a yellow-orangish weave! So satisfying it was,” she says.

Neetu considers the balance in colors and zari and the contrasts worked out by Madhurya designers, to be appealing. “Believe me, whenever I wear a Madhurya silk, people specifically ask me where I bought the sari from. So for me, it became a dream to wear a Madhurya. I am talking more about Kanjeevarams here, as that’s what I liked more at Madhurya. The borders are unique and elegant, yet stylish.” she adds.neetu wedding


Appreciating handmade culture and Madhurya’s support to rural education

As  Neetu Singh is from Banaras, it’s easy for her to realize the protracted hand weaving process on the loom, as she has witnessed Banaras weave from close quarters in the lanes and by-lanes of the heritage city. It’s difficult for anyone to imagine this laborious, grueling, back-breaking process as it is a creative process that needs imagination. 

Says Neetu, “It’s an art passed on from generations of weavers. It takes a lot of time, Herculean effort and I am a big supporter of these artisans involved in the art. I have seen them weaving tirelessly on the loom, their aesthetics are like any famous artist in the country. I hear their eyes don’t have a great life because they work so closely with those threads, so for me frequently witnessing the art take shape on the loom in Banaras, it’s not a surprise that people in large numbers have stopped doing the same. It’s unfortunate that weavers feel rickshaw pulling gets them more money! What is the future of this whole art, if people don’t encourage them and buy? This is where the thought that Madhurya is supporting these weavers in their journey to weave something beautiful and preserve traditions is something so endearing! This is where I think Indians living anywhere in the world should try to buy Indian weaves and handicraft and bring awareness. Madhurya also supports girl’s education which is so amazing. So basically, you are getting a beautiful sari from Madhurya and in return you know your paying for the right cause. It helps us give back to society.”



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