'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 10 July 2015

KBR Short Story: Ritu's New Sari

by Tania Nallathamby

Ritu was impatient with excitement.

“C’mon Mamma! I want to get to the bazaar early so I don’t miss out on anything”.

Ritu’s arangetram was on Saturday and her palms felt itchy at the thought of dancing on stage in front of all her family and friends.  As if she wasn’t already nervous enough, Ritu had no idea what she was going to wear. Arangetrams were a big deal and Mamma had promised Ritu an afternoon at the bazaar.

The sari stalls were adorned with metres and metres of beautiful fabric. Silk, cotton, georgette and chiffon saris were on display everywhere. They were draped on mannequins, hung pleated, from low beams and were folded on shelves in neat stacks.

Ritu chose a shop with a large collection of purple saris. They were individually wrapped in shiny clear plastic to keep the dust out. She ran her fingers down the pile and was awed at all the different shades of her favourite colour.  Choosing was going to be hard.

 “Can I have a look at this one please?” Ritu asked the man behind the counter.

He deftly pulled the sari from the middle of the stack in one quick move, leaving the rest of the saris still neatly folded. Taking it out of its plastic cover, he opened out the sari.

The colour reminded her of the ripe, plump mulberries that grew in Ammama’s garden, their deep colour staining her fingertips as she squashed them into her mouth. It was a beautiful shade of purple but Ritu didn’t like the mango shaped designs on the pallu and she shook her head quickly.

“This one please”, she asked, as her eyes were drawn to an eggplant coloured sari with small silver embellishments. She didn’t like Mamma’s eggplant curry but she liked the colour.

“Ritu, this colour does not do justice to your complexion”, Mamma said, her brow furrowing.

“How about this one?” asked the man. He spread out a dazzling amethyst sari on the counter top. The jewels caught the light and made dancing patterns on the walls.

Ritu crinkled her nose. Too busy. Too heavy, she worried.

She took a closer look. Three quarters of the way down on the third shelf, her attention was drawn to an electric purple sari.  She wandered why she had not picked it out before.

“Take a look mahal. 100 % pure silk. Simple pallu with some beautiful work on the border.”

“I think I like this one Mamma”.

The man unfolded the whole 8 metres of the sari so that Ritu could admire it.

“Look how eye catching this shade is”, Ritu marveled.

“Yes, it is a very shocking purple”, Mamma laughed. “You are sure to stand out in this sari Ritu. “

Ritu felt the rising butterflies in her tummy as she left the bazaar, imagining the wild applause as she thrilled her audiences dancing in her new purple sari.

Born in Sri Lanka, raised in Africa (Zambia), Papua New Guinea and the Maldives, Tania Nallathamby now happily lives in Melbourne with her family. She is a Laboratory Scientist with a passion for children’s fiction! She can be contacted attania.nallathamby(AT)bigpond(DOT)com

KBR Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’—and to delight our KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and entries are due in the 25th of each month. Find out more here.