Shades of truth

“That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet”, wrote Shakespeare. True. But if a rose were to be described by Gita, it would not only look more gorgeous, but one would even appear to smell sweeter than the other. Gita is one of my satsang friends. I use the word satsang, not in the popular sense of a spiritual get together but in its literal meaning of ‘good company’. Gita is one of those friends whose company has a positive, uplifting influence.

For this lady has a unique capacity to open her heart to, and appreciate even the most mundane of things; and you can tell from her face that she is not faking it and that the words come from the heart. A well informed person, she is also never lazy or niggardly with her words. Her praises are so liberally embroidered with the pretty adjectives and appropriate metaphors that the listener always parts with a smile, convinced that he or she has something or is in some wayspecial. Like I did.

I had given the new saree to the tailor for sealing the edges and fixing the falls. A whole lot of sarees were stacked up on the shelf and with no slip or sample cloth to identify mine, I scanned the pile for mine. “Don’t worry,” he said, “tell me what colour it was and I will find it.”

That was the difficult part because my saree wasn’t of any common shade. “Yellow, brown, green,… it is a mix” I said. He got the ‘aha’ look on his face “I know. It is sort of fresh cow-dung colour, right?” he said. I nodded my head in embarrassment. The chiffon saree weighed heavily in my bag. Huge regret welled up over the choice of colour. “I should have taken the pink one,” I told myself, “that would have been a safe bet.”

I met Gita on the way and on an impulse, sought a second opinion. One look at the saree and she went into raptures. “Wow! Such a rare shade,” she said. I mumbled something about the colour being not very bright. “It is olive drab!” she said, “And olive drab is not expected to be bright. It is such a refined and dignified colour!” I smiled lamely even as I made a mental note of the colour’s name. “Wear some gold and drape the saree and you would look stunning like a panchaloha sculpture from a temple.”

A weak voice from within raised doubts about the curves but I brutally suppressed it. The saree would take care of all that and work its magic, I told myself. Gita would know. She had such good taste! And how foolish of me to have got upset over the tailor’s remarks! He was after all too coarse to appreciate such sophisticated stuff. I dropped the saree gently back into the bag and pulled myself up majestically and trotted my way home.

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