Day 53. Once upon a time there lived a woman who was scared of travelling alone in a taxi. This is a story of how she overcame the fear for the sake of love.
Like, all mothers, she loved her children – her two sons and their wives – very much. One day, she heard one of her daughters (yes she calls them her daughters, not daughters-in-law) say that she did not have any zari border tangail. She immediately made up her mind to set that right. The daughter’s birthday was approaching, so she would gift her one. The daughter liked black, so the mother decided that it would have to be a black tangail with zari border.
Yes, that was another thing about her. She always dreamt of the sari she wanted to buy, even before stepping into a shop. Maybe she had seen the colour somewhere, or liked the texture. And she would conjure vivid images so that the picture of the sari would be etched in her mind. But this would also create a problem. Often, when she went to a shop, the saris in front of her eyes would fall short of expectation, as they wouldn’t match the one in her mind’s eye.
So, those shopping with her had got used to visiting shop after shop for that perfect sari. And if anyone made the mistake of rushing her or if she felt guilty of inconveniencing others and rushed herself, she would end up bringing one home that she would either have to exchange later or give away to someone. But on those occasions, when the sari matched that elusive image, a bright smile would light up her face. Let me tell you another secret, next day, she would drape the sari and look at herself in the mirror, admiring the fall, feeling its soft touch on her skin, caressing it. It was a small pleasure she enjoyed.
But to come back to her daughter’s sari. The black tangail with zari border. As soon as she had made up her mind, she called up her friend – her daughter’s mother – and the two fixed up a shopping date. Both would buy birthday gifts for their daughter and then have a cup of coffee somewhere, maybe a dosa or some chaat or phuchka.
Shop after shop they went looking for that black tangail with zari border but it was nowhere in sight. Tired and disappointed, she settled for one. Back home, as soon as she had taken a second look at it, she knew she would have to change it.
Embarrassed to ask anyone to accompany her a second time, she set off on her own. And surprise of surprises, she hailed a cab. She knew she had to return home quick. For, she hadn’t even said at home where she was going and any undue delay would cause her husband to worry. It was before she had a mobile.
Her heart in her mouth, tension her co-passenger on the ride, off she went. She couldn’t exchange the sari as she didn’t like any of the other saris at the shop. So she bought another one from another shop. A bottle green tangail with red zari border. It wasn’t exactly what she had in mind but as close to it as she could get. Her heart a little lighter, she hailed another cab and returned home. It’s only then that she told the others where she had been.
Then came her birthday. Yes, the mother’s. Oh, didn’t I tell you she shared her birthday with her daughter? The sari was gifted along with the story. The return gift: a smile that warmed her heart.
The accessories…red and maroon beaded neckpiece and earrings the mother had gifted the daughter on one anniversary.
PS: It’s rainy and muddy today but I was brave enough to wear a sari. After all, working on a Sunday demands one, and a bright and happy one.
Bonus: My father-in-law has started noticing too! He asks me “koto number”?

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