Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Value of Things

When I entered tenth standard, my grandmother had a nice Reshime Langa stiched just for me, made of the finest quality of silk, and it was gifted to me with all love and care. One Langa for me, and one for my cousin, Rukmini, the growing girls in the family, and we would look just like little princesses if we wore it, she said. I bought the fine silk dress home, resolving to wear it every time there was some special occasion in the family. But special occasions were rare, and the quaint little dress found it’s place among the disused cloths at the back of my clumsy cupboard. If by chance, I glanced at the piece of that dress peeking from the cupboard, I would say, “Next time, when I attend a marriage, I’m sure I’ll wear that dress…” But somehow, my gorgeous glittering Ghagra overruled that humble silk dress, and I never really used it more than a couple of times. I felt awkward to wear it because I thought I had outgrown the age of satin frocks and Langas, and wearing such a dress to receptions and parties seemed inappropriate. Like the end of all sad tales, the Reshime Langa was pushed to the background, and soon, I completely forgot about it….but when I cleaned my cupboard (That happens once in a blue moon), I was reminded of that silk dress, and I would guiltily stare at it, and think to myself, “Lakshmi! Your grandmother so lovingly presented that dress to you, and you never wear it…”

Well, recently, I happened to clean my cupboard, and as I sat, neatly folding my cloths, the colourful silk dress landed softly on my lap. I could ignore it no longer, so I decided to try to wear it. But it was so tight, that I almost choked. I had grown up, and the langa did not fit me anymore…but I don’t know why, I could’nt give that dress away. But I fought a battle with myself, and thought I had no use of that silk Langa anymore, and finally, I asked my mother to give it away. It still looked disused and brand new, and to give away that dress was a real pain, because I was haunted by guilt that I never really used it, and my grandma would be upset if she came to know. My mother gave the dress away to a local servant, and the woman happily rushed home, saying that the dress would fit her granddaughter perfectly. I felt I had done the wrong thing by giving away my cloths like that, because after I donated it, I realized it’s value.

Later, my mother told me that the woman had returned, her face alight with happiness, to thank my mother for giving her that dress.
“ My granddaughter loves it! She looks like an angel in that dress, and we celebrated so much. I dressed her in that Reshime Langa for the festival, and also plaited her hair with Moggina Jade, and we had her photograph taken at the studios.” I am sure the woman will frame that photograph and safely preserve it….for her, a silk dress was a rare treat. I then realized that the woman respected the silk dress more than I ever had, and I realized she valued it more than anything. I smiled, and my guilt disappeared. I had just gifted happiness to somebody else. Isn’t it so sad, that we don’t realize the value of things, all that god had given us, until we are deprived of it? I now think it was better I gave away my dress, to someone else who needed it, and I feel comfort at the thought that a little girl somewhere is extremely happy, all because of my silk Langa.


Dr (Lt.Col.) Y.N.I. said...

Beautifully written! You have a bright future Lakshmi. Keep it up!!