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.

A Bride’s Journal


Journal entry #1

The  date for my wedding has been fixed. In two months, I will move to my husband’s house.

Sid is a nice guy, in as much as I could glean from the three meetings we have had.  After all we have known each other only for the last week, five days to be precise.

Am I freaking out? You bet I am.

Journal entry #2

My parents and brother (who has no choice) have had their thoughts programmed to only one word, you guessed right, my wedding. The intensity overwhelms me….my two aunts are visiting us next week. Should I take on an extra project so I can come home late from work? Worth pursuing.

Journal entry #3

Not sure if the term ‘arranged marriage’ talks about the craziness involved in the arrangements. Flowers, catering, shopping for my trousseau, jewelry, invitations, menu choices, make up, hair dos, I am unable to leave the house without my parents thrusting a few samples of ‘this or that’ for me to choose from.

Journal entry #4

Today, Sid called me at work to ask if we could have lunch together.

Was I excited?  Yes, a  bit…hmmmm….actually,  a lot!!!

Journal entry #5

The lunch was good…yeah more than good. He has a great sense of humour. We captured our first selfie. We kinda look nice together. He gave me a chocolate…

Journal entry #6

The craziness at home continues….things seem to get finalized one moment…and new checklists are being made the very next.

Today we went shopping for my trousseau (read my family of four, plus my four aunts and their spouses, my two cousins, a brood of nieces and nephews) plus Sid’s family, his two cousins, three aunts and their spouses.  Thankfully pets were not allowed in the shops.

Observation #1
30 odd people screaming their choices is embarrassing

Observation #2
Getting a reservation for so many people in a restaurant is a challenge at such short notice……

Journal entry #7

The bride, that’s me, is ready with her sarees and jewellery.  Sid & I call each other frequently – the family indulges me….Once we get off the phone we are on chat mode on our phones. We are both doing a crash course on understanding each other after all….

Journal entry #8

Did I tell you that in India it is not only the couple that marries, even the families marry? So I am now being introduced to Sid’s  first cousins, second cousins, great uncles thrice removed, to the aunt who is a great singer, to the aunt who is a style icon and to the uncle who was just two steps away from making it to the Indian cricket team, among others

Sid has also met my great grand mom, my third cousin who happens to be related to Sid’s family, my  first cousins, the three bad boys of our family, the talented singer aunt, the dancing sensation aunt, the rangoli cousin and the chef-in-the-making aunt.

Our families have outdone each other….huge resource pools of talent!!!

Journal entry #9

Sid and I sneak away for a midnight drive and an icecream. ‘Twas wonderful.

5 more days to go…

Journal entry #10

We are married. I get to show off my new dresses at the many family lunches (on both sides) that we are invited to almost every day.

We are on an eating orgy here. I applaud and over eat at his cousins’, he does the same for dinners on my side. We are extravagant in our compliments….everyone is happy.

Journal entry #11

We are back from our magical honeymoon.

Entering the phase called ‘digitally yours’… repeatedly looking at the wedding albums, uploading videos and pics & enjoying all the gifts.

Journal entry #12

The calm is restored…it is just the two of us now…starting our life together, bit by bit. Planning the move to our own apartment

Fully focused on transforming the apartment into ‘home’.

Journal entry #13

We had our first guests over for dinner. Received two invites in return. Our social life starts….

Journal entry #14

We had our first argument….I was right, of course…!  We are well & truly married.