“Do you want to see your gift now or tomorrow?” He asks almost shyly.
“Now of course!” I beam, happiness brimming from me at the sight of my dear Saathi. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.
Digging through his suitcase, he lifts a rectangular box with its trademark logo. Almost grabbing it from him, I slit the tape and open the box to the dull sheen of silk against the mellow glow of the overhead lamp. Dark green with a simple border. I fall in love. With the saree. With the man who bought it for me.
I rub the thin silk between my fingers and hold the saree against me. He nods, eyes alight in approval. The rest of the evening speeds past catching up and tidying the contents of the now open suitcase. Just as sleep overcomes me, I reach out to him and whisper. “I’ve missed you.”
I wake to the shrieks of Ammu and Pattu as they discover their ‘dada’ is back. The routines that have been hard to get through each morning for the past three weeks are over in a blink of an eye. Mid morning, sated from a heavy breakfast of dosai and chutney, I pull the saree from its box in the privacy of my closet and hold it against my cheek. I am not all that sentimental I tell myself. But it is hard to ignore the first ever gift from the husband selected and bought for entirely by himself. We have exchanged gifts over the years but mostly it has been pointing out exactly what I wanted and getting it.
Like flowers. Sarees hold a symbolic place in my head. I hardly wear one. When I do, I love the feel of silk against my skin. I love the feeling of getting dressed up. Of picking gold and diamonds to go with it. Of being appreciated. Sentiments voiced rarely and to great effect.
I put the silk away and walk downstairs to the family that demands attention. Perhaps, the best way I can reciprocate is by bestowing the gift of attention. Of being there wholly. In the moment.