Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Amma Buys Me a Saree

I was looking through some old photographs and saw one of me in a saree which took my mind to the day my mother and I went to the newly opened Parthas to buy it.

I am not one of those who pull out all the sarees in a shop before I choose one. If I find one I like, I stop looking for more "selection', and make the purchase immediately.

On that day, amma and I went straight to the cotton saree section. A youngish sales boy was at the counter. He pulled out one stack of sarees and I immediately found what I was looking for. It was a beige coloured plain saree with a lovely temple sculpture figures on the border in dark maroon. Usually, amma is the one who takes the initiative to close the deal, but this time, she just stood there, her eyes fixed on the saree. Perplexed, I turned to the sales boy and asked him to bill it and pack it. Then I felt amma's gentle hand on my arm. I turned to her and was startled to see that she had bent over with her face close to the saree and was squinting down at it. Alarmed, I asked her

'What is it, amma? What's wrong?"

She looked up, gave me a strange grin and said,

"I forgot to take my glasses"

"But surely you can see the saree without them" said I, more alarmed than ever. Oh God! Could something have happened to her vision - something I had failed to notice?

Suddenly, she straightened up, looked at the sales boy, pointed to the silk section and asked him to bring some sarees from there. My heart leapt - she was going to surprise me with a silk saree, I thought.

As soon as salesboy started walking towards the silk section, amma grabbed my arm, lowered her voice, and in a conspiratorial tone urged me.

"Moley, this saree you've selected. See if those women on the border are wearing clothes. You said they are temple sculptures, didnt you? Quick! Before he comes back"

Eighteen years after that incident, amma and I were sitting on the veranda of her house when a house to house saree vendor came in with his wares. I was about to send him away when amma called him in. It was the 21st of December, I remember, and she asked me to take a saree. It was to be her Christmas gift to me. After the vendor left, I reminded her about the way she tried censoring my saree years back. Tears of merriment running down her face, she denied ever having done it.

She didnt live to see another Christmas after that. I have maintained her last gift to me in perfect condition - wear it once in a way and relive those moments.


  1. Gee. When it started I thought I will comment about my own Sari experiences, but now left with no words to say.

  2. cris, would be interesting-ur saree experiences - do comment or post a blog

  3. touching story...
    I was thinking would have loved to seen a photo of that sari. guess it's etched quite nicely in your mind - as any beautiful, unforgettable sari would be!!

  4. Hi!
    I travelled with a friend of yours and she recommended that I try your blog out. I must say, I am impressed! A beautiful, personal, affirmative blog.

    Will be back for more!

  5. LOL!!! I think this is an epidemic. My mom also had this habit of scrutinizing temple design sarees for any trace of a 'Khajuraho'! :))

  6. @ silverine
    and i thought there was none like my mom!
    @ all
    'touching', 'affirmative' - feel-good terms--

  7. The ending was so touching........ I would love to see Amma's Xmas gift to you and the pic of the temple design sari.

    It's so hard to picture Amma as conservative!!!!!!

  8. i want to see that saree too

  9. Its strange how a normal common thing in our lives can acquire such value over a period of time. Would've loved to see that saree.

  10. It's a sweet piece. Either you don't usually wear sarees or there were special memories connected to these two's traditional for the outgoing class of my school to wear sarees to their farewell party. The first time I ever wore one :) Memorable.

  11. Really nice blog. In sweet style.


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