Weaving a tale – A short story


The rain beat down mercilessly; it had been pouring the whole week. Flashes of lightning captured snapshots of a group of people standing in the pouring rain, with the Banyan tree under which they stood offering only some semblance of cover.

But even louder than the noise of the falling rain was the loud pounding in Devan’s head, as he was berated and belittled by his community.

Devan stood with a bent head, as he heard things that seared through his heart.

Devan, and all the people who stood there that night, belonged to one of the oldest weaving communities in the country. Their history dated back to hundreds of years; they had been weavers for kings, queens, princes and princesses, and now in 1975, they wove for society’s elite. Their weaving techniques were a closely guarded secret, passed on from generation to generation.  They married only within the community, to protect their craft.

Devan’s daughter, Chella, had done the unthinkable. She had chosen her husband from outside the community; an act that the community considered treacherous; and one that could threaten the very fabric of their existence.

Chella had been forced to leave the village, and had been banned from ever entering it.

Devan’s wife had died when Chella was 9 years old. From then on, Devan had been both mother and father to the girl.

The people threatened to ostracize Devan if he attempted to revive ties with his daughter.

A broken father stood, facing his fellow-men, as his heart broke into a hundred pieces, as he thought about his daughter. He had not been given any time to talk to Chella, or tell her anything. The news had spread like wild fire in the small village and even the pouring rain couldn’t put out the fire.

It was a long night.

The sun rose the next day, and slowly life limped back to normal. Devan missed his daughter and ached to talk to her. The village has only one phone and that was in the Headman’s house. He resigned himself to his fate.

In their community, there was a practice that each time a girl got married, her father would weave the bridal saree, with motifs of all the things that the girl liked.

As Devan went about his chores, an idea took shape in his head. After his usual quota of weaving everyday, he started weaving a bridal saree for his daughter – every warp, every weft, woven with love and the agony of separation.

In a few weeks his gift was ready. On his next day off, he met a very old friend of his from a neighbouring village and sought his help in passing on the gift to his daughter. The friend swore his secrecy and took the saree with him.

Devan hoped and prayed that his daughter would be happy to receive the gift.

The friend made it to the small town and located Chella’s house. New bride though she was, the girl looked unhappy and sad. She perked up when she saw her Dad’s friend.

She cried for her father and his plight. She was happy that he was not mad at her and thrilled with the saree.

After her Dad’s friend left, she opened the saree and cried, as she saw each motif that her father had woven into it – from sunflowers to butterflies, lollipops and colourful ribbons, bits of her life leaped out at her. As she studied it, her trained weaver’s eye saw that there was a written message woven into the saree.

It read, “Chella, my dear. I love you and bless you with every happiness in your life. Have a good life. I bear no anger towards you. Believe in your dreams. You have made the right choice. I love you. Blessings – Papa.”

The burden of having chosen an untrodden path slowly fell away from Chella’s shoulders.

She smiled – a wide, beautiful and confident smile.

Spooked..


Last night, my children wanted me to sit with them till they went to sleep.  As they relaxed and stretched in their bed, we talked about silly things and shared a couple of jokes. Slowly they dropped off. I had stretched out ..and unbeknownst to myself, I fell asleep in the kids room too!

My husband had gone to sleep early, as he had a headache.

I did not realize that I was fast asleep, until I was woken up by the ringing of a phone.  It took me a while to get my bearings in the room, I moved my hand over the side table and found the phone.It was not mine.

I was still floating in layers of sleep. Finally, some sane corner of my brain figured that it was my husband’s phone. He uses a different brand of phone from mine, and my sleepy head was trying to switch off the annoying alarm.

My eyes were only partially open till then. When I finally looked properly, my heart nearly popped out of my rib cage. It was past midnight and it was a call. The shocking part was that the call was coming-in from our own landline.

Needless to say, I was spooked. My brain was alert with fear, but unable to think coherently. I rushed out of the kids’ bedroom to find that all the lights in the house were switched on!

I called out to my husband in fear. He replied that he was in the living room and asked me if I had seen his mobile? He had tried to locate it using the landline, thinking that it may have gone between the sofa cushions as it usually does.

I felt weak and silly and stupid. I can laugh about it now. But last night…….

Whatta misadventure….


I just spoke to my mom. She sounded really stressed. The reason ? Read on…..

Last weekend, my mom received a call from her neighbour, who lives in the flat directly below hers. She told my mom that she could hear the utility area tap running. This area is an open to sky area, used for washing.  My mom rushed to see, and saw the water gushing out.  She quickly closed the tap, and worried if she’d somehow forgotten to close it earlier in the day.  A couple of days later, the neighbour called again, with the same message.

My mom was totally spooked. What could it be? She kept up a constant vigil, but it did not happen again for a few days.

During her evening walk in the condominium, she came to know that many homes had had similar problems – of running taps. The building’s maintenance and security staff, alongwith the residents, was on a mission.

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Image courtesy – http://www.pinterest.com

And, in a couple of days, they found that a monkey had entered the condo, and was cooling itself by opening taps, to beat the oppressive summer heat. A few residents also had the pleasure of the monkey’s company in their homes – they missed some fruit from their dining tables.

My mom is relieved that it was only a monkey, and nothing paranormal. The tap has now been secured with a rope.