REPOSTING "Mehndi (Henna)" for craz...
Find a Conversation
|Fri, 11-16-2001 - 7:46am|
REPOSTING "Mehndi (Henna)" for craziestguru
Shawls of a myriad of colors hung from the ceiling, the hooks, the hangers. They were on the shelves, stacked up neatly, one upon another, waiting quietly to be picked, waiting excitedly to touch the fragrance of the wild, unbridled wind and fly away with it. Waiting patiently to wrap themselves loosely around their owner’s shy, unexposed necks. Waiting.
Even the brightest rainbow would have paled in comparison with the colors in the dupatta shop. Where one ended and another began was almost impossible to tell; it was as though each existed because the others were there, as though their lives were woven with their sister’s. Each color throbbed with life, with an existence of its own. Each had its story to tell, it’s own song to sing and Tanvi longed to hear it.
She picked up the red colored dupatta.
"In me in the power to transform
In me is the hatred to conform.
In me is the destruction that will lift you high;
Use me wisely, Mistress, lest you die."
The last word reverberated in the room. She shuddered and dropped the shawl, its promise still bittersweet in her unsuspecting ears. She looked around. Did they hear it as well? The color had so much…power in it.
She touched a brown dupatta hanging from one of the many hooks. It was so soft, so smooth. The lifted it close to her face and rubbed it against her cheek. Oh, how it reminded her of Ami-Jaan.
"It is my power a child to birth
It is my power, I am of the Earth
Use me well, and you live ages long
This is my power, Mistress, hear my song."
Yes, I hear you. I hear you, color of the Earth. She felt strangely comforted. Tanvi let go of the shawl reluctantly, as if she were letting go of a lifeline. The song was beautiful, and she could almost hear it accompanied by a soft flute in the background, lifting her higher and higher with each note.
Her eyes caught onto one particular black shawl on a shelf. She tugged it out of its place in the shelf and opened it from its folded state. The dupatta had small shiny silver flecks on it like a starry night in winter.
"My power lives in your heart
When your spirit screams never to part
When your existence is shadowed by one,
Use me, Mistress, your job will be done."
She looked at the shawl and was queerly reminded of herself. Quietly, Tanvi folded the dupatta over her arm and walked over to the old woman at the front of the store. Rabia and Nandini were talking excitedly over a double shaded dupatta. They didn’t notice her.
The woman in front of the stall. That is what customers see as they enter, ducking under plastic-green mango leaves strung at the door for luck: a bent woman with skin the color of old sand, behind a glass counter holding sweets out of their childhood. It seemed right that she had been there always, knowing what they longed for without uttering a single word.
Tanvi handed the black dupatta to her. The old lady smiled. ‘My dear spirited color, you have finally been picked. I was wondering just when.’ The lady looked at Tanvi. ‘She sang to you?’ Tanvi nodded. ‘Ah, she tells me the same.’ The woman looked closely at Tanvi and nodded as if her suspicions had been confirmed. ‘You are the first,’ she said. ‘And the first is the most powerful.’