The soft dewy shade of pink is a hue that I opt for on days I feel calm, complacent, and at peace with myself and my surroundings.It is the shade you see on the skin or inside of young red onions , or ” P(n)eaaj-khushi rong” as a famous Bengali novelist Buddhadev Guha once wrote.
The day I first boarded the British Airways flight twenty years ago to begin a new chapter of my life, i selected pink. A beautiful pink and white combination of paisleys on Murshidabad silk. It was a gift from my father-in-law as he bade a teary farewell to his only son and “bahu”. He loved my love for good sarees and “Bangali” style of dressing up.
His health had been failing him, as his chronic asthma attacks increased, but before we left for USA, he took me to Howrah stores, famous for their good quality sarees, and gifted me with that beautiful saree.
Although everyone suggested I travel in Salwar suits , I opted for that pink-white silk. I wore it with a pink blouse and a single string of pearls,all the way to New York.
That was the last time I saw my father-in-law. He left us one-and- half years later, all the while waiting for me to come visit him (which I was to attend my sister-in-law’s wedding). The saree is in my wardrobe – glowing as always with his blessings and love.
Summer of 2012: my father wanted to send me a saree for my birthday. He got this light soft pink tussar silk with Parsee embroidery (in the picture) and sent it from Kolkata via a friend. Right after that he was diagnosed with lung cancer. ..and just like that, he left us too..a couple of days after his 70th birthday.
He was waiting, eagerly, for me to come visit him with my girls in December.
Do I think pink was inauspicious? Absolutely not. To me, it has now become the symbol of unconditional, unlimited love of fathers for their daughters. It also softly whispers , ” I am waiting for you ” like that famous song by Hemant Mukherjee (Kumar) and Srabanti Majumder ” Aai khuku aai”. This is an imaginary conversation between a young woman and her departed father, both reminiscing the times spent together playing, singing, laughing and even crying together.
This one is to all fathers of daughters.