I unfold it as I stand on the crimson
living room carpet, my back to the mirror
wall and my eyes fixated on the object.
My grandmother is in the kitchen – good – and I
look left and right and wrap the mint crocheted blanket around my waist twice, leaving a tail, and tucking the rest into the top of my pants.
It’s marshmallowy against my skin – I flip
the pallu over my shoulder and lift a bit of the mint sari I have just made
as my grandmother comes out of the
kitchen lifting a fold of her sari as she walks,
her chudiyan clanging.
She smells of the same nice scent – a scent I could never explain,
But I used to wear Passion by Elizabeth Taylor in
eighth grade – .5 fl oz spritzed on my wrists,
spritzed onto my blanket because it smelled
nostalgic and I did not know why.
My grandmother gave me the blanket before
I was born; I am thirteen and see that some of the fairy holes have been stretched
from the days I made tents and
there’s pink and purple and blue strands of yarn tied in knots at the corners so
I could secure the blanket to the backs of chairs.
I would try and try again to untie them when I was six but now I just hope they won’t wear out and
I dislike washing my blanket because it becomes
sandpapery and dePassioned so I love and cradle it daily like Nimbus, my cat, so its coldness and resistance is tamed into a fluffy sun –
and then I spray and spray the perfume until it smells as if it had been wearing
gajre on its slender wrists in a Desi wedding.
The only way I can keep calm is if I have
the blanket folded neatly and pressed against my trembling face, tight
in my embrace and I remember Long Island and family barbecues and I
especially remember eighth grade when I was thirteen and made my very
first friends in six years and I would wear makeup to Desi get-togethers and I
wore Passion those days for the first time and I
recalled Karachi weddings, Bihar weddings, Patna weddings and especially New York
weddings and my cousin said to me
“For some reason – I don’t think it’s a bad thing – but you smell like Ammi”
and I smiled and raised an eyebrow because this strangely made sense and I liked that and maybe that’s why I love my gajre-blanket so much.
My grandmother has been telling me for nine years to throw away my blanket;
she’ll get me a new one but this possession is older than me, an extension of me,
oxidized like the Statue of Liberty and my skin remains coffee copper, and it watches –
watches over me and it was there for me when I was seven and camped indoors and ate invisible food or when I was eight and I was the Queen of Purple Stone and I needed a very special cape
over my shoulders.
I am writing this and feeling hot and cold
simultaneously, the fairy-holed blanket works just fine and I am overcome with nostalgia.
When I was five I said “Look Ammi, I look like you!” And I pulled up my skirt, not because
I would trip on it if I walked, but
because that is how my grandmother did it.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.