Satvika Jain

When Ma Drapes a Saree

When Ma drapes a saree,
she starts with hair dripping down her back,
darkening the swoop of her blouse, in temporality.
Her hair, cool, not fragrant, unadorned with flowers,
and I press my face into the soft drizzle.
She holds the corner of the stiff cotton,
and I envelop her waist, going in circles,
like some backwards dance, and repeat, twice, for
you can’t let a woman unravel like a blooming flower,
so she tucks the loose ends in.
The pleating, is when I don’t speak,
and as I hold the light gold borders, folding as they
touch the floor, and as Ma folds
the softening cotton, she tells me, this is the saree
your Dadi gave me, last Diwali.
In one final sweeping move, the last two metres
go over her shoulder, sculpted like Durga’s arms
and her eyes wander to a trunk
on the cupboard, too high, stacked over two more,
where another saree lies, silk, and that is the one
my Nani gave to her, last Diwali.

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