A couple of months before we got married, I spent a week with my in-laws in Delhi during Navratri. I was unprepared for the number of parties I would be invited too, and the few “good” clothes I had packed got aired long before the visit got over. My mother-in-law was agonizing over what I could wear to the 25th Anniversary Party of her friend, when I piped up, “I have an extra black blouse. Maybe I can borrow one of your sarees.” The mother of two boys, she was unaccustomed to her wardrobe being raided, and promptly broke out into tears- I was mortified for a few minutes, till I could make out that she was crying with happiness because of the readiness with which I had made myself at home!
I fell in love with this black handloom saree, with off-white threadwork, and didn’t realize that she hadn’t worn it herself. When I found out, I offered to pick something else, but she would have none of it. She insisted I drape the saree, and even lent me her favourite strand of pearls to go with it.
When she passed away, and my father told me to pick whatever I wanted from her wardrobe, I immediately reached for this saree. Not only is it beautiful, I have beautiful memories associated with it. Memories of how easy it is to get your mother-in-law on your side- just treat her as you would your own mother, and she can’t help but treat you as a daughter.