(Photo by Kristina Paukshtite from Pexels)
Mala waited anxiously to see if the dress would fit her. She had fallen for it the moment she saw it. It was a pretty lacy ensemble with pink and white floral prints embossed all over it. She knew from the moment she saw the dress that it belonged to Kavyaa. She knew her daughter would need to put on some weight to get into the dress perfectly, but Mala would wait. She knew that as soon as the doctors removed the tubes and the pipes from her baby, Kavyaa would grow into the lovely flower that she was and Mala wanted to be ready for that day. So without another thought she had snatched it from the shelf and walked up to the counter before anyone could take it.
Everyday since then she had lovingly caressed the dress safely perched on the top shelf of her wardrobe wrapped in a soft tissue to keep it protected against moulds and fungus. The day the Doctors asked them to take Kavyaa home, Mala was overjoyed. She had always known the doctors were no good. No matter how much they tried they would not be able to inject love into her little bud, could they? And love was all she needed then.
However, Phaneesh wanted them to try and she let him have his way. So when they sent her back, Mala knew her baby would finally be okay. She knew she would soon be able to sit and eat and say the one word that Mala had been yearning to hear ever since she had been born – ‘Ma’!
The dress, however, was still lying wrapped up, yet to find its real owner.
Finally that morning, before she had handed it to Phaneesh, Mala had shaken it out of its folds, smoothening each of its creases and was happy to see it looking as good as new. She knew it would look just perfect on her. She had wanted to come to help him make her wear it but then she also had to get her things ready. Phaneesh assured her that he could manage.
“Besides, Reva would be there too” he had said. Reva, Phaneesh’s sister would be accompanying them. So Mala stayed back and waited.
It seemed an indefinitely long time before she heard Minoti, her long time maid announce, “They are here!”
Mala felt her heart skip a beat. Was she really here? Had Phaneesh managed with the dress? Did it fit her? How would she look? A thousand thoughts raced through her mind as she waited.
Reva was the first to enter. “Mala!” she said her voice drenched in guilt, “did you have to do it?”
Mala ignored her sister-in-law’s pleas and looked past her. “Stop it Reva. Let me get to her first. Where is she?” Before either could get a word in, a whirlwind entered the room and jumped on Mala with a squeal “Mami! I am here! This is such a wonderful dress. Thank you so much.”
For a few minutes, Mala could not see for the exasperating tears that blurred her vision. She had forbidden them to come ever since the morning Kavyaa left her. They had been obedient since then. However, Katha, the tornado had broken that condition and now they were raining down in full force.
“Stop! Stop! Please Stop!” she pleaded with the irksome tears “Let me look at her atleast!” Finally, they obliged and Mala was able to take a good look at Katha, her niece, her lifeline, her reason to be alive.
As Katha twirled and twisted showing off the lovely flairs the dress made, Mala was overjoyed at how well it fitted her. Both Katha and Kavyaa were born in the same month and year. So she had known they would be of the same height and weight had they grown up together and was happy her estimates had proved to be correct. The dress had gone to its true owner. If not Kavyaa, then Katha it will be. Mala knew her daughters would never fail her. Even if one did take her life force away while slipping into perpetual slumber, she knew the other would breathe life back into her. As Katha clasped her hands around Mala’s neck, she knew the dress had truly come alive again. It had finally adorned its owner.