The Stained Scarf

Cool, gushing autumn wind, engulfed the car, sending a sharp chill down the spine. “Narayan Ji, could you please roll the windows up”, appealed Priyanka, tugging her silk scarf tight around the neck. Fondly feeling the silk fabric and admiring its vibrant peacock colours, Priyanka cherished her mom’s favourite belonging. The soft, comforting feel, enveloped Priyanka in her mother’s embrace. It had been ten years since Mrs Khanna left the world, but Priyanka felt her mom’s presence till date, through her belongings.

Staring blankly at the briskly changing scenery, Priyanka was lost in recollecting her childhood with her mom. Walking gracefully across the school corridor she saw, Mrs Khanna, in a silk saree, teamed with a matching cardigan and her signature scarf tied around her neck. Mrs Khanna was undoubtedly the best English teacher at the girls’ convent school. Charming and extremely creative, she was also a talented poetess with several of her poems published in an acclaimed Anthology called ‘Secret Voices’. Priyanka fondly remembered, how angry and upset her mom had been once at the sight of chocolate stains on her favourite scarf.

“Priyanka Baby, should we stop by for some gas on the way? “asked Narayan Ji, pulling Priyanka out of her reverie. Soft eyed, elderly Narayan Ji had faithfully served the family as the driver from the time Priyanka was a schoolgirl till now when she worked as a Chemistry Professor at the University of Sciences.

Priyanka glanced at the book peeping from her bag. It was none other but her mom’s pride, ‘Secret Voices’. Mom often said, “Art is in your genes and will always follow you”. How true it was, as today Priyanka had planned to read her mom’s ‘WATER’ poem to her students, during the chemistry lesson. Something deep within, called her to orient her students, the future scientists and engineers to appreciate the softer and abstract angle of elements. Today she planned to read them the poem and let them discover that water is alive and has a memory. This unique personalization to the regular lessons made her the favourite teacher, much like her mom.

Screech… the car abruptly halted as Narayan Ji slammed the brake pedal forcefully. “What happened?” blurted Priyanka. Charged with urgency, he alighted and rushed to the front wheel. There was a stray dog, lying hurt. It had suddenly jumped from the sidewalk. Bleeding profusely, he whimpered and closed his eyes. Picking him up, Narayan Ji called for a cloth to bandage his bleeding leg. Shocked at the sight of blood, Priyanka nervously tied the scarf around his leg. The bleeding reduced as they sped towards the nearest medical centre. Priyanka affectionately stroked his head and now noticed the blood-stained scarf. Overwhelmed by emotions and moist eyes, she smiled reassured, that this time around, her mom would not be upset with her for spoiling her prized scarf. She could see her mom beaming with pride, seeing her scarf stained with empathy and love.
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Aradhna Shukla

Solace is my companion best,
Exploring within is like a fest,
As I sit in silence, thoughts emerge,
I seamlessly stitch them with words diverge.
My passion is new, but talent is old ,
As many a time, magic with words I unfold.

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