“Goodness! Could you be anymore clumsy?” she snatched a piece of tissue paper from the holder and started to dab hurriedly at the stain that she knew was going to set into her beloved silk sari.
Aargh! Her sari...ruined by her husband’s inattentiveness.
Her Husband - always annoying, always clumsy, and always forgetful.
Could he not see why she was decked up in her favorite sari, even if it was years old? Could he not smell the cooking in their sparse, little kitchen, even if it weren’t as decadent as it used to be? Could he not see why she had been beaming since morning, even if…
“Oh, who am I kidding? He doesn’t see it. He’s forgotten. Just like he’s forgotten to smile, to love, to appreciate ever since we lost it all”, she muttered with a feeling as she recalled those long-standing debts that had snatched everything away from them – their home, their savings, their goodwill, their happiness. It was all about work and work, and paying off the bills and those odious debts now. There was no time for love or laughter.
She was late for school already, and this stain meant that she would be even more late. She was surely going to miss the school-bus. Then she would have to take an auto-rickshaw, an expense they could do without. Maybe he could drop her off on his way to work, but then his scooter was out for repairs too. Oh, god! More delays!
She hurriedly went into their bedroom and started rummaging angrily in their sparse cupboard for a change of clothes. Everything would need to be ironed first. Another 5 minutes worth of delay.
Suddenly she was spun around playfully and a carefully packaged box was placed in her hands by her beaming husband.
She looked at him confused. Could it be he remembers after all? She tore at the paper hurriedly, in childlike anticipation, only to find a beautiful Benarasi Sari wrapped up neatly in the box.
“Happy Anniversary, dearest! You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you? Ha, ha! I surprised you!” Her Husband sang out and snatched her in his arms. She couldn’t make up her mind whether she wanted to laugh at his impishness or cry at his thoughtfulness. She decided she didn’t want to look silly crying so she made a playful jab at him, “But why did you have to spill chai on my favorite sari?”
“Oh God, I was sick and tired of watching you wear it at every occasion. And don’t lie, it wasn’t your favorite.. just the best one you were left with.” He shrugged, trying to make light of it but he knew why the once happy-shopper, his wife, would now carefully dress only in clothes darned over and over again.
She was touched. He could see afterall, he wasn't immune to her pain, when she thought him blind to it. She stammered with emotion, “I’m sorry, I didn’t get you anything…”
“But you already have… you stuck by my side when times were hard. You stood strong when I was weak. You gave me hope when there was none. If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t still be fighting. You’ve given me the greatest gift – hope! And you give me hope each day of my life. I couldn't ask for anything more.”
They embraced, each ensconced in the other’s arms. Each rich in their love for one another. The gift of a stain had restored their faith in their love.