Red was always your color. Anything red in the vicinity and there you would pick it up instantly irrespective of the fact that most of the times you really didn’t need it. You always said that red is royal and majestic and I know that in reality you tried making up for your shyness and introvert nature by wearing red.
Remember, how irritated I would feel on unlocking our almirah. Fond of lighter shades and soft colors, I always thought that red was loud and embarrassing. I disapproved of any color that was bright and red topped the list. You would never leave an opportunity to pull my leg saying that you were sure that I would never develop any sense of color.
Years passed by. When I started earning, I would always find an excuse to buy red sarees for you. I knew that you still loved the color though you would always rebuke me saying that you had grown too old for bright colors.
I was getting married and like always, I insisted on buying a red saree for you. You pestered me to buy you an off white and red combination saree. You said that the society would mock you for trying to look half your age in an all red get up. I tried reasoning but gave in eventually. You still stole the show in that red and white saree. I realized that red in any form suited you.
That cursed night when they rushed you to the hospital, you were wearing red. That moment it became synonymous with the danger that lurking around. The next morning when they brought your dead body home, women of the neighborhood draped you up in a pink saree for your funeral. I was still miles away pleading at different airlines counter at the airport trying to get onto any flight that could bring me back home,back to you. They said that the body had started decomposing and I had no option but to agree to him doing the final rites. I forgot to ask him if they had changed you in your favorite red saree.
I remember how much you avoided mountains because the uphill ride made you nauseated and dizzy. But you confessed to loving the hills. You would turn up being the most excited among us on seeing the clouds kiss the mountain.
Years later, I hated red, detested mountains after you were gone. They reminded me of you and I was still coming to terms with the fact that however much I crave, I could never feel the softness of your skin or kiss wrinkles of your hand again.
It’s going to be six years now and strangely, my wardrobe has more red than yours. Last few years, I have learnt to love and appreciate the color just like you did. I open your almirah every year on Durga Puja to wear your sarees, mostly your choicest red ones. They still smell of naphthalene balls and you.
I am about to reach the mountains today. This was an unexpected sudden assignment. In a week, the fateful day arrives. Every day I wish that I could wipe out 12 Nov from the calendar forever. I wish I could turn back time and change the events. The resort staff unlocks the room to keep my belongings. He is taking me through a guided tour of the facilities. His words fall deaf on me. I stand outside the room stunned. The beautiful red room with red glass panes furnished with red curtains has a red carpet covering the red floor. The glass windows open to the gorgeous sight of sun kissed mountains- just the sight that would have made you the happiest in a surrounding you would have loved. What an incredibly unique way to let me know that you are still around me, Ma.
Disclaimer – The above piece is part real and part fiction.
P. S. – Feature picture courtesy – Not on map.