Teachers all around me…

Teachers all around me…

The trait of creeping up from behind, touching my shoulder and vanishing into the past to become memory—some weeks have perfected this art. I have been touched by an expert this time. Its Friday today, and this blog post has been meandering through my mind since Sunday. I need to put this down, before another expert week flies past!
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This week was about pulling out some almost-finished-projects from the innards of my craft cupboard, and altering or completing them into something useful. These blue crochet covers have been sulking inside packets for the past (ahem, hold your breath) ELEVEN years. They had been made in the Omani desert and have sulked through Kolkata, Sambalpur, Lucknow and Delhi. Today, they cover these stools and look quite dotty and happy! And yes, that quirky red cushion got some much needed tucking and pinning too. And I am a very satisfied soul.

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The satisfied soul looks out of her kitchen window and clicks this crispy cold summer day version of the horse-chestnut trees outside, and wonders if Nature feels equally satisfied when she views her bare winter trees turning into gorgeous green canopies for the summer. Being outdoors, being close to the cycles of Nature and being able to align one’s life to those cycles is something which few can perfect. I found an example of such a person in this obituary published in our scaled down, hill version of the Times of India.

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It was the loving flow of words put into lucid prose, which caught my eye .I have never met this person..I searched the name on Google and found a book he had written in his younger days.. Someone close to him, someone who cared deeply for him, someone who has used the gift of writing to bring him alive to casual readers of a National newspaper, was by his side when he took his last breath. I can almost see the cats, the mandarin tree outside the window, the gathering of loved ones and I can almost feel the gentle breeze which would have taken his soul to meet his Gods. Sri Nandan Prasad, you have touched me without ever meeting me.

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And with these thoughts, I opened a book which has been gifted by a dear sister. A knitting book published in 1947, bought by her mother in Shillong, and now, being used in another part of the Himalayas. The pattern treasury is being searched for the right pattern to put in a baby’s layette. A precious baby will be entering the world soon, and the excited grandmother-to-be has planned some lovely knitwear to be knit up for the joyous occasion. Yellow baby wool, bamboo needles, ancient books—they will all team up to make a pretty present for a new soul entering our world.

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The booties are ready now. And I am going to begin the coat today. Before that, I will celebrate Baisakhi, the festival of spring, of the New Year, of new beginnings. I will eat the customary Kumaoni feast, prepared by Hema’s family—potato curry, ajwain-and- masala puris, and a sweet barfi to end it all.

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Simple food, simple joys and a simple understanding of the Great Mystery of Life…that’s what the hills are teaching me, while I teach myself the craft of knitting baby layettes.

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