69/100. Holidays over and it was back to working at real life again. We came back from Pune to find the weather had changed – a slight nip in the early morning and late evenings and very breezy days. My summer sarees really do have to go back into storage, but I keep delaying it one saree at a time.

In Bengal, the first day back at work is usually Bijoya day – it’s mostly wishing each other well for the year ahead and then getting down to swapping Pujo stories – who saw the most pandals, the most happening beautiful idols,, which one who liked most and of course, the Pujo fashion on display. Usually, everyone comes to work wearing new clothes. I was not really in the best of moods – a low-grade agitation was a burr in my heart – I definitely did not want to wear a new saree, so I wore a saree that had always made me feel festive.

This mauve and white feather-soft cotton saree from Bangladesh is a gaamchha – a length of checked fabric traditionally woven in both the Bengals, Odisha and Bihar as a drying cloth or towel (gamchha comes from ‘ga mochha’ which translates as drying the body). The gamccha weave became glamourised, chiefly thanks to the vision and efforts of Bangladeshi designer, Bibi Russell about ten odd years ago.

This saree was picked up by my mom on a visit to the other Bengal about six years ago for 600 Bangladeshi rupees – about 440 Indian rupees. It is quite simply, a simple stunner. The checks are smart while the mauve border and water stripes of gold add a little quiet zing to it.

As I was getting my pact photographs taken in the office backyard by the ever-patient Upasana, my eyes fell on a plant which I hadn’t seen flowering before. The small flowers – with their creamy colour and one single purple speckled petal, seemed to be of the wild lily family because of their shape and the stamen placement. Beautiful it was and matched my saree perfectly. And it mellowed my mood completely. The magic of nature. Again. ?

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