A piece of silk,
Parineeta at first couldn't make out
What that elderly woman said to her,in a language alien.
It sounded like a mixture of Hindi and Nepali and she being definitely a 'bong' with working knowledge in Hindi, English and a bit of Bengali, was at a confounded state.
'What is she saying?'
She asked the teenaged girl who stood by the woman,at the shop at the market. The girl with marks of frostbites on her face, smiled.
'She's my granny...and she says that she wants to gift you a piece of cloth...'
'But why? Why dear?'
Parineeta asked, amused as she was.
The girl asked her granny something, in their own dialect. The granny smacked her own forehead twice and blurted something out.
Parineeta stood, waiting to know with suppressed eagerness, what transpired between the elderly woman and her granddaughter.
The girl smiled at her.
Parineeta was getting impatient.
'Well she claims that she knows you by heart, for she had taken care of you, nursed you, nurtured you, like a big tree takes care of a little one... She had been your nanny. She knew your mother. She was by her side after she gave birth to you. Then your father, mother and you moved away. Your father got a posting to another place... But you see, now that you've come again to our place, on your sojourn, and the Lord had made a plan to make you meet her, she recognised you, even after so many years...'
The girl took a heave of a breath, saying all these at one go. She seemed to be elated , as if she knew Parineeta too!
Parineeta was dumbstruck.
She thought she heard a flute somewhere being played. It might be a local boy playing it. The tune suddenly appeared very much known to Parineeta. Suddenly the place appeared to be so well known. She felt the gentle murmur of leaves, she felt the air of spring in her heart.
The world it seemed so beautiful.
'Where's that piece of cloth?'
The elderly woman brought out a silk garment. It had the color of leaves and pollen grains.
Parineeta took it in her trembling hands.
She kissed the old woman's wrinkled cheeks.
'But how can I take it, without paying you ?'
Parineeta asked, tears choking her words almost.
'You can never pay for it...can you?'
The teenaged girl asked her.
'No! Dear me! I never can!'
Parineeta said, and smiled as she held both the elderly woman and her granddaughter in her warm embrace.