Crocheted Mint Memories This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

July 29, 2016

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 work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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