Rida reckoner

Behind the massive beautiful structure of Raudat Tahera, the mausoleum of the 51st religious head of the Dawoodi Bohras is tucked in a street with boutiques that display colourful fabrics. For someone who isn’t aware of the way of the community’s dressing, these intricately embroidered and appliquéd pieces are bound to pique one’s curiosity.

Dawoodi Bohra women seen during a mass marriage ceremony in Mumbai in 2004. pic/AFP

The Rida, worn by Dawoodi Bohra women stands out for its unique style and appeal. For the uninitiated, it comprises of a ghagra or a skirt with a cape-like covering for the head known as the Pardi. But it is the variety of colours and embellishments used on the Rida that sets it apart from the
black burqa.

We spotted several Rida boutiques on our way to the Bohri Mohalla for some Ramzan feasting and took a peek. “Younger women opt for trendy options with pockets to keep their mobile phones. Heavier embroidered ones are used for weddings or special occasions,” says Murtaza Bhanwadwala of Alif Boutique and Tailors. Most of the embroidery on Ridas is done in Mumbai while some fabrics are sourced from Surat. These boutiques also stock three-piece garments worn by men that comprise a kurta worn under the Saaya, which is a longer kurta with a pyjama. Children wear a delightful-looking apparel called the Jablaiza.

For those who like to jazz it up a notch Royal Touch, a store that stocks a wide variety of laces, appliqué motifs and fabric flowers will help customise the Rida.

Royal Touch stocks borders and laces that work for saris too, other than Ridas. Pics/Dhara Vora

This 40-year-old enterprise, which earlier had a store in Pydhonie has now been operating on this street for two-and-a-half years. Run by the husband-wife duo, Abizar and Fatema Rajkotwala, the store is a treasure trove of borders, laces in a variety of colours and cute patches for kids apparel. “We never follow any particular trends as women love to mix and match. Nowadays, several women also opt for a spray of flowers and leaves on their Ridas as a change from typical border designs,” informs Fatema. Like border design stores in Bhuleshwar that sell borders by the length of a sari, Royal Touch sells it by the yard. One Rida needs five.

At Royal Touch, Rukaiya Manzil, ground floor, Raudat Tahera Street.
Call 23465952

At Alif, below Saifee Masjid, Raudat Tahera Street.
Call 23450838 

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