68/100. A repeat of saree 67. An immediate repeat. And with very good reason.

Rituparna, my friend whose home we spent Pujo at this year, loves colours that are as vibrant as she is. Very artistic herself, she is drawn to the beautiful art of Batik with its alpana-like designs. I knew I wanted a batik in a bright colour for her Pujo gift and also knew where to get it from. But, somehow, between this and that, I got so delayed with my Pujo shopping that there was a risk of not finding that perfect saree.

Pretty sarees there are aplenty, but I am a little compulsive that way. When I gift a saree – or for that matter anything – it has to make perfect sense to me in weird ways that are entirely my own. So, I went off to Satrangee, my go-to place for original handloom sarees, one day after office, hoping to find the perfect saree but prepared to settle for a pretty one.

Satrangee itself is a pretty special entity – they are wholesalers of exquisite handloom sarees, fabrics and readymade ethnics from all over India. It is only if you know them personally that you get the privilege of buying one of their sarees directly.

And I have that privilege because Sumita, the lady of the house, is one of my son’s favourite persons. As beautiful as she is graceful, Sumita will feature in the pact soon enough and I will talk about her more then. For the purposes of this story, she is my passkey to this handloom heaven.

And this day also, I found ‘the’ saree. Not only was the colour a vibrant rani, the designs a delicate floral Alpana pattern, but it was also a twin of the one I had bought a few months back, just a different colour.

Cheesy as it sounds, I wanted twin sarees for us and I wanted to wear them together. Rituparna and I are both only children. I remember a conversation way back when we were sixteen about how we both looked longingly at siblings who wore matching clothes. Over the years, we had lost touch and then found each other again. The connection again was instant. And it brought home, again, that we all have sisters who are not blood. And we all have friends who are family.

This is us, sitting down in her pretty backyard, trying to smile at the camera between bouts of telling my son to just stand still and take one non-blurry photograph.

And, here we are With our matching sarees. And matching belly laughs. Matching mummy tummies as well which we try our bestest to hide. This time, she won the ongoing fight as to who will hide behind the other. So, you cannot see enough of my beautiful friend. But she is there. She has my back. As I have hers. Always. 😊

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