Seetha waves from afar.
Shouts “Meena, Meena”.
She sports a [i]manjal pai[/i] ( yellow cloth bag).
I wave back. Happy to see her in her usual attire,
saree messed up, her blouse ill-fitting, her hair carelessly
tied, she is all smiles. It is her smile that defeats
all her shortcomings.
I walk towards her.
I see the words hand printed on the bag.
Harini weds Hari.
in bold red letters.
On the rear side of the bag, I find
folded hands in green
a symbol of Namaskar
Mr. and Mrs.Hariharan
Mr. and Mrs.Narayanan.
Manjal pai stitched
out of yellow long cloth
delivers an enjoyable
pack of information being
an encyclopaedia in the run.
Her bag is full to the brim.
From it, her glasses edge out, her purse bulges,
her bunch of keys rattles, her dog-eared diary
peers out, her fountain pen leaks, her spare
saree pops out. She shoves it deep inside.
Affluence has not deterred her
from using the traditional bag.
She has not taken to modernity.
Ladies of her stature walk stylishly
with Louis Vuitton, Gucci handbags.
She goes with her manjal pai
attends conferences, conventions, and weddings.
It is a multipurpose bag cheap,
useful, and environmental friendly.
Once it wears out she would use it to wipe
her furniture. Would throw out when it is in rags.
Allow Seetha to talk about it,
she would go nonstop.
She is a born orator
Whenever you catch a glimpse of manjal pai
feel assured that Seetha is somewhere around.