Day 91. Chance. That wonderful occasion. A chance meeting. A chance victory. A chance holiday. A chance glimpse of the rainbow. Cloudy with a chance of meatballs! This is my chance sari. A sari I got by chance, to be precise. That doesn’t make it any less precious. Rather, all the more special. For, it’s not every day that you have luck by chance! My Mami (aunt) Madhumoni Dasgupta bought this tie-and-dye sari on a recent holiday to Rajasthan. She got a similar pink one for my mother and a salwar suit piece for me. But a couple of months ago, she gave me this sari too. I was surprised and she explained that back from the holiday, she realised she has an almost identical sari and so she thought of me. Now that’s chance indeed! For, such a mistake would seem quite unlikely for Mami. Now, if it would be my mother, it could happen any time of course. There was this one time that Mami wanted to buy Ma a sari and took her along to Odissi. Together they shortlisted two saris and then Mami asked Ma to take her pick. After much deliberation, Ma settled for a rust one with red border. When she showed me the sari on returning home, I couldn’t believe myself. She had an identical one in her wardrobe! When my Mami heard this the next day, she went back and exchanged it for a maroon one with blue border. My other mother, too, has a similar feat to her credit. One Puja, her sister showed her an array of saris to choose from as a gift. She picked one and came home, happy with her choice. But I had to play spoilsport once again! She had a tangail that was its twin. So, again the sari was exchanged! But for my Mami to follow in their footsteps is quite a surprise. Her loss and my gain. My gain isn’t, of course, restricted to the six yards. The bright orange bandhani brought back for me a flood of my memories of my own vacation to Rajasthan with my parents and my grandmother. To Chittaur and its stories of princes and princesses and the guide’s constant pointers to shooting spots of Saat Paake Badha, much to my grandmother’s delight. To Udaipur and its beautiful lake, the hotel with a magnificent view and my poses in a hired ghagra-choli and a matka. To Jaipur and the lavish thalis we gorged on. To our visits to Sanganeri shops and a blue pottery factory from where we brought home gifts and souvenirs. And to the icing on the cake, when the holiday ended with a stopover in Bombay to meet my dear Dada. But all the bright and happy moments from the holiday turned into a bit of a blot the very night we returned home. As my parents got busy unpacking and settling down, I too decided to do my bit by taking my clothes out of the suitcase and putting them in the laundry. So far so good till my eyes fell on the bright and beautiful ghagra choli that my parents had bought me. And suddenly I had an, er, brainwave! When I had tried it out at the shop, it had seemed a tad too big but the shop owner had assured that it would shrink on washing and be a perfect fit. So, I decided to surprise my parents by being helpful. I made my way to the bathroom, filled a bucket with water and soaked the brand new clothes in it. First went the ghagra with magenta and yellow panels, then the matching choli and finally the bright yellow dupatta. Work accomplished, I walked out triumphant. My pride was unfortunately shortlived. Minutes later, I heard what seemed like a shriek from my mother. I rushed to find her standing at the bathroom door, staring at something. My eyes followed hers to the bucket where the water by then had turned pink. It was early Holi! My mother rushed to take the ghagra-choli from the bucket, all the while scolding me for my foolish act. One look at the dupatta and I realised what I had done. It was full of pink patches, like unintended tie-and-dye. The colours in the ghagra and choli had bled too but the prints somehow camouflaged the massacre. The dupatta was, however, a disaster. It had to be dyed into a deep mehndi green and every time I wore it, I felt like crying but had none to blame. I had lost my chance.
This one’s for my friend, colleague and a diligent follower of my sari posts, Nilanjana, who had requested me to write about a sari I got by chance. I searched my wardrobe and kept wondering which one it could be till I got this sari, by chance. Hope you like it Nilanjana

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