A full circle existence…
November 24, 2006
Dear Little One,
I am so happy today as I was able to detect the same excitement and vibrancy in your voice as it had last year. My little one was not able to decide, was in dilemma—whether to go to the party or not? So after much cajoling when I was able to convince you for the need for socializing, another million dollar questioned baffled your little mind, “Ma it says that we have to dress in formals!” Another pretext you had for not attending the party. But like a crusader, I was able to convince you that it is not a big problem. And there was suddenly an excitement in you, excited like a small girl off to her first date! Even I started to feel so young, once again. We planned like two young girls the dress that you would like to wear for your formal party. Once we decided that it would be a Saree, I went to open my trunk that held all those beautiful Sarees in various hues and settled for two—one black with simmering silver work and another white again with silver thread work! It was fun—walking rather running from my trunk to my computer where you were online and we would discuss about various Sarees. Is it so strange that of all colours we settled for these two? And more when we finally selected the black one! Though you were not there with me but I could feel your presence around me especially when I opened the trunk. When I opened the trunk it revealed not only the various hues of the cloths that it held safely but many memories, too, that it held for me. Last year, the same time probably, when I would open the trunk, somehow as if on a cue, mysteriously, both of you would appear as if from nowhere to peep, from behind my silhouette, inside the trunk. It was an exercise that we all enjoyed. Though I would tell you not disturb me and let me find whatever I wanted to find in my trunk but inwardly would be waiting for you to come and give me company! I would pretend to be angry!J
It is an experience that only mothers and daughters can have though at times your younger brother, too, would be a party to all the fun that we had.I missed both of you so much today when I had to open the trunk and see all that held all by myself. It held memories of my recent past and that of my not-so-distant past. I really keep on juggling between my role as a mother and as a daughter these days and somehow both the roles overshadow each other at some points of time. And herein lies the carrying over of the tradition.So, it was my Ma’s trunk that was like “Pitaara” of so many things. Even today I can see myself bending over, from my Ma’s back, to peep inside the trunk. The satin Pettycoats and blouses with old-fashioned designs, silk Sarees that she had folded inside muslin cloth, opened new dreams in my eyes. Dreams when I, too, would have such grand clothes in my possession! There were few prized possessions of my Ma that she held securely tied in a bundle and would not let us even touch them .It was a securely held secret of hers. Once when someone came and I along with my sister had a chance to have a glance of what it held—we were astonished! Can you guess? It had letters that your Nana had written when posted outside Shimla! I could not believe it! How could he write such letters to my Ma? And I understood why she kept it hidden from our prying eyes? Those days it was a shock to us it would be shocking to present day kids if their parents don’t display their love for each other! J Times have really changed!Then there was another object that held my curiosity. It was my Ma’s treasure box. The antique brass box that she kept her jewellery in! Bank locker, though not unheard of, were not much common. So she kept all her jewellery in that box. I loved to se all it contained. The nose ring was a piece-a-detour! I would wish to put that on my nose and watch my face in the mirror but Ma would scold me for that. Sometimes when she would be in good mood, she would, on hr own, put that nose ring beside my nose and with love watch me! I could understand all the feelings that must have overwhelmed her heart, when I had a daughter of my own! Do you remember the nose ring that your Nani gave to your elder sister on her marriage; it is the same nose ring. Ma wanted to have it remade in a new design but I just loved it the way it was—with a peacock design on it. A very old design as it was what my Ma got at the time of her marriage! A tradition continues.
The Ma’s Nose ring…
I had thought that my Ma has forgotten all about the times when I would irritate her by peeping inside her trunk and its paraphernalia, but it was not so. Last year, she asked me to come with her and opened the trunk. These days I never go after her the way I used to during my childhood, so it was surprising for me and rejuvenating s well. Bringing out the antique brass ornament box, she said, “Keep it, this is for you!” Watching the look of happiness on my face she continues, “I know how much you loved it!” Mothers don’t forget as daughters; too, don’t forget anything that transpires between them, howsoever small.Watching the silk and satin Sarees, some heavy some delicate and elegant, I thought of you and how would you look in each of these the way my Ma watched putting her nose-ring on my nose! May you carry on the tradition! I plan to give e you a trunk where you, too, can keep all that you feel is precious for you, materials as well as memories, good and sweet.