“You can take whatever you want.” was her unbridled reply, always.
Whether it was the Traditional Day at college or work or a wedding or some family function at A’s, I loved to borrow some of Mom’s exclusive sarees and jewellery to wear for them. She always got exasperated since I chose colours which she thought don’t go with my complexion and designs that are too big for my short stature. I ended up taking whatever she suggested, every time.
For the ones who don’t know, my Mom was one of the most well-dressed women around who knew her silks, chiffons, georgettes and cottons, of which she had an enviable collection. Same goes with jewellery. While she was partial to gold, she did have quite a few lovely diamond trinkets to adorn her when she wanted to go minimal. She was a living embodiment of grace and carried herself beautifully. Whenever she entered a room there were hushed whispers amongst women about how gorgeous she was.
She was a queen, but queens too have their quirks right? While she never refused to lend her beloved belongings to me (she would lend to others depending on her mood), she always made sure to sermon me about how valuable they were and how it was my personal responsibility to return them to her once their job was done; clean and undamaged.
This whole lecturing thing annoyed me no end back then. I wasn’t a child to be treated like one, after all! However, with her gone, her whole wardrobe is at my disposal now and I’m spoilt for choice. I don’t need to worry about removing the creases and meticulously folding the sarees or making sure that her stuff doesn’t fall down in a heap every time the cupboard is opened.
Yet for some reason, although I’m her princess, her possessions remain forbidden territory for me. I feel that, in spirit, she resides within them and wouldn’t want anyone, even me, to take them for granted. Her love for and attachment to them are possibly beyond my understanding.