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A quarter for coral

That night, I was repeating my search and peered into the small purse I had checked at least three times before. Lo! I spot a side zip, which I had somehow missed previously.
Last Updated 01 March 2024, 20:03 IST

I was getting ready for a wedding the next day and wanted to wear my coral chain. But where was the confounded thing? It was not in its designated pouch or in the cupboard. A little disturbed, I searched for it in all the likely places but could not find it.

The wedding and its subsequent excitement meant that the next two days passed in a blur, and I did not think of the missing piece. But soon after, I resumed my search feverishly. I was thorough and methodical. I emptied the jewellery cases and looked into each drawer, handbag, and purse. I tried to recall when I had worn it last. It looked like the last time I wore it was months ago. Had I lost it back then without even realising it? Had it been stolen? I was panicking, more so because it was my mangalasutra and the best corals had been hand-picked by my husband all those years ago.

I shared my anxiety with my cousins on WhatsApp. “You will get it in the most unlikely place!” They consoled me. Two more days went by, with every waking minute a reminder of the missing chain. It was then that my ever-positive cousin suggested, “Keep a 4-anna coin in front of God’s photo. Pray to naakaane amma. It always works.” This was greeted with, “Where will she find a 4-anna coin? Why only that? Can she Google Pay?” by the others in the group. All the chatter was silenced with a stern “This is not a matter of logic. You should just have faith.” So the desperate me hunted for a 4-anna coin and kept it promptly in front of Ganesha.

No luck for two more days. A neighbour who heard my story suggested that I beseech Koragajja. “A quarter measure of liquor is all you need to offer.” I baulked at this. That night, I was repeating my search and peered into the small purse I had checked at least three times before. Lo! I spot a side zip, which I had somehow missed previously. I gingerly felt the unmistakable touch of coral, and with a prayer in my heart, I zipped it open to find my missing chain! My shout of joy woke every family member up. Messages were quickly sent, despite the late hour. The very next day, the precious 4-anna coin was deposited in a hundi.

A friend who heard this story asked, “Can naakaane amma find my memory?” Another asked with a straight face, “Don’t you know I am Koragajja?” Propitiate me!” Jokes apart, I am convinced that it was collective prayer that worked.

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(Published 01 March 2024, 20:03 IST)

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