Pakhi, my wife was from a small town near our city of Calcutta. It was just a few days after our marriage, and, we were setting out to a relative’s house. It was a part of the usual invitation which normally follows the marriage ceremony. She took a quick
bath, wore a saree and it was then that we realised that there was no Sindoor-Pot! ( Every married Bengali woman prefers to apply a streak of vermillion or sindoor to the parting of her hair. This vermillion or sindoor is kept in a special pot). Very shyly she asked whether my mother would have any sindoor-pot ! It was a legitimate query as on those days, putting on sindoor for Christian women were not very common. But my mother used to always put on sindoor, every day after bath. I assured her that my mother had one and I brought the sindoor-pot for Pakhi for that day.
It was then I realised that for Pakhi putting on sindoor was very important, and, that she does not have any sindoor-pot. I assured her that I would buy her a sindur-pot.
I was on touring job then ( and even now, of course the number of tours is less now for obvious reason) and on return from a trip I brought for her a nice sindoor-pot. I picked
it up from Hyderabad near Charminar.
During the next tour I asked her what I should bring for her ! She just smiled and said “You bring whatever you think best”. When I returned from this trip I opened a small packet and asked her “Guess what gift I brought for you?”
She said “ You show me what it is”. Lo behold…. it was a sindoor pot ! We both burst into a loud laughter !
Thereafter for several years, it almost became a ritual to bring a sindoor-pot from various parts of the land of varied designs, until our children were big enoughto do a bit of leg-pulling for this blunt gift idea !
Pix: Srichandra V