Everything seemed to be happening in an eerie fashion. The songs sung by the sun rejoiced withered trees. Poets inked their pen to praise the joyous breeze. Pianos were cleaned, and the cacophonies were played – and it was no unnatural, for artists are prone to waiting for the arrival of spring.
When everyone fancied rain, how could she withstand longing for the storm, for easiness was never her cup of tea?
She was neither a young lady nor an old woman. She was more like the sunset — you see it and grieve for the departure of the cascading sun, but it never departs – it just hides to light another world.
Is it not strange that we all are searching something, but we have no idea what and where it is?
She was also an adjective; apart from being a noun.
Image courtesy- https://goo.gl/8HBK8l and http://www.qasmiajewellers.com/
That day, she battled more with her inner demons than the demons reside outside. Her room had turned into a pyramid of old clothes — some torn, while some had stains of the Vermillion. She desperately searched for the green sari she had kept safe for years. She recalled the day when she had seen her daughter as a bride – wearing a beautiful smile – and who hasn’t visited her for four years.
The thing which made her restless wasn’t just the betrayal of her daughter but the arrangement of clothes and a handful amount of money which would make her stand tall. It was the marriage of her neighbour’s daughter where she was occasionally remembered – whether it is to prepare pickles or the delivery of twins, they would say that she’s magic in her hands, and she would look after pickles even after being allergic to chillies.
She actively wished for that green saree and the bangles she had bought for her but never worn. After taking out everything which was drifting in her almirah, she finally found the saree in an old brown bag. She desperately took it out and in her surprise, the bangles came out too. Setting it in front of her, she removed the stains of dust from its blouse while the bangles were still odd. She tried her best to make it wearable and save her reputation which she was unsure if existed. In addition to it, she took a handful amount of money and put it in the bag. Suddenly, the sound of footsteps alarmed her senses. She quickly hid the money in her petticoat and tried to look involved in an important work.
"Is my lunch ready?" A man asked who had entered in a hurry. He inspected the room and learned that his wife was stealing glances.
"Five minutes," she said.
He waited for a while before leaving the room and said, "You won't ever get their love. Rich people are selfish. They know how to take favours, but not to be grateful to them."
"Niharika belongs to a well-reputed family. They count me in their family members and ask for my advice before taking any important decision."
"Who are you lying to?"
Before she could answer, he shut the door at her face. She sighed and started putting back things in her cupboard. She had now something to offer. She clutched notes and realised till how long she was saving it.
"Had it been my daughter, I'd have done even more than that – in fact, Niharika is no less than my daughter," she told herself.
No one knew whether it was his words or the nervousness of the occasion which made her morbid. In no mood of handling thoughts, she rushed into the kitchen and put a frying pan on the stove.
~ ~ ~
The air was suffocating for her. Amidst women wearing heavy makeup and loaded with jewellery, she felt a melancholic unfamiliarity as if she didn't belong to the crowd. Women were filling their plates with Paneer as if they were trying to make the best use of 101 rupees. Her eyes searched for Niharika.
Even after feeling inferior of carrying a less expensive gift: an old saree, rusty bangles and money which couldn't bring flowers, she greeted everyone with a smile.
As per her old habit of helping everyone, she started giving tips to waiters and told them how food is directly connected to the heart; hence shall be served in the most hostile manner. She felt someone shaking her saree. It was a six-year-old girl, which made her overwhelmed.
"Have you seen Niharika masi?" The girl asked.
"I've not seen her, but I guess we both can find her together," she said and bent down to kiss her.
The girl, then told her, she saw her in the changing room. She held her finger and began to run to the room. She almost fell as the outcome of her feeble legs. The little girl laughed, and they both hurried into the room, collapsed.
"What's wrong with you Akansha? I'd told you to wait outside the room," Niharika blurted as she made another attempt to put bangles on her wrist.
"Don't scold my child," she said. "You look flawless. You remind me of my daughter."
"You're an experienced woman, and I'm surprised to see such behaviour from you. I hope you're not unaware of the nervousness of the bride," Niharika's mother came in between.
"Where have you been? I know, you're doing everything on your own. Now tell me, what to do?" She said and ignored her question.
Niharika and her mother didn't say anything. She was now on the losing side. She pretended to settle her saree to hide her anxiety, but she was poor at it.
"I've grown up fussy by age," she said. "I'll wait outside to see you dazzling Abhishek."
~ ~ ~
"I've told you to take my measures carefully," Niharika said to her mother. Having spent half an hour in putting the bangles on her wrist, she was annoyed. Niharika was obsessed with bangles. From a tender age, she never left her wrists bare. She was choosy as well as possessive about the colour and shape.
Her mother tried to fit them, but she knew they wouldn't. Suddenly, a bag caught her attention. Niharika became angrier as she found her mother being involved with an old brown bag.
"Mumma, they're more important things to do instead of peeking into random gifts," she commented. Her mother was still anticipating the bag and averted her apparent anger.
Niharika moved toward her mother to see what made her numb and found red bangles in the hands of her mother. They both sighed in relief as those bangles easily came on her wrist. Beautiful, they both rejoiced.
~ ~ ~
No one was able to move his gaze, as Niharika walked in the corridor. Unmarried women envied her elegant dress, while some girls imagined themselves that way. Everyone saw her like a rainbow which appeared without the rain; and among all, there was someone whose eyes were fixed on her bangles. How could she not, for it was her Golden Bangles.