THE DESIRE OF HAVING A DRESSING TABLE

Life is quite unpredictable and one has no idea what’s next. The only thing that is certain about life is its uncertainty. Still, life brings so many beautiful and sweet memories to us. Today I am going to share one such sweet memory with you.

This picture reminds me of an incident when I was still in school. I was studying in the 9th standard. During that time my Dadi (grandmother) was alive and I remember she was quite old. Her face had numerous wrinkles and freckles. She was told that she faced quite difficulties while walking. She had a wooden trunk and also a shabby looking box made up of tin. She used to keep them locked and kept her things into it. Upon being asked what’s inside them, she used to say that she keeps her lovable possessions. At times, when she opened her trunk and box I had a few opportunities to see what’s inside them.

One day when I was done with my lunch and was heading towards our drawing-room, my eyes caught her attention. I peeped inside her room. She was sitting on her bed and her trunk was wide open. She was holding a mirror in her hand and was looking into it. Since her bed was near the window of her room that opened in the passage leading to the living room, I could clearly see how she was looking into the mirror. The mirror was quite old-fashioned and had several dark spots on it. It seemed that somebody deliberately sprinkled some dark colors in the mirror. Still, my Dadi was looking into it. She tucked her loose strands behind her left ear and was observing her wrinkles and freckles. She adjusted her large specs and touched her cheeks. I wanted to ask her why she was looking into such an old mirror in which her face isn’t clearly visible. But then I saw a small teardrop rolling down her cheek and I stopped myself from interrupting her. After some 15 minutes, she carefully covered the mirror in a cloth and tucked it inside the trunk.

I couldn’t stop myself and therefore, one day I asked her about that mirror. She said, “I was seeing how old I have grown. When your grandfather was alive, I used to put kohl into my eyes, tie my hair, put bindi, and look myself into the mirror. I used to ensure if I am looking well. But when your grandfather passed away, I never felt like doing any such thing. After all, he wasn’t there to admire that kohl, a nice bun, bindi, and jhumka.”

“That mirror was a gift from your grandfather. I never had a dressing table and I always wished to have one. I often asked your grandfather to bring one for me,” she said further while taking a deep breath.

“One day he came home and handed me a packet. I opened it and saw a mirror in it. He said, ‘I can’t afford a dressing table for you but you can consider this as your dressing mirror. Place it on your wooden trunk and then you can sit down and get ready.’ This is why I have been keeping this mirror for all these years. I used to keep it on my wooden trunk along with my comb, sindoor, bindi, hairpins, and oils. Though I never had a conventional dressing table, your grandfather somehow fulfilled my dream of getting ready in front of a dressing table by giving this mirror and suggesting to put it on the trunk.”

I don’t know what happened to that mirror after she passed away. But that trunk still stays in her room. The trunk now has her comb, two old sarees and a part of the wooden frame of that old mirror. It stays there unused but full of memories that my grandmother cherished till her death.

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