At the Naga stall, at the Annual Shilp Mela, there was this girl assisting her mother ( I presume). Normally, friends and I refer to Nagas (and other North-East Indians) as “Chinks”, going by Dilli lingo. But I wont do that for her. No. This girl was pretty, petite, dainty, and what eyes! Not flashily dressed or anything; just a simple pair of jeans, and a no-show grey sweat shirt. But, the elegance...!Now, “Chinks” are normally pretty trendy (markedly fashion abreast), and smart; but there are only a limited minority who manage to find and hold the attention of the North Indian male (unless in males you want to count the “Girl is girl” lech). This one would be found very high on this minority list.
She and her mother had a hard-dried-and-painted-flowers stall at the Mela. The flowers were attractive as she, varnished in dry, shiny hues of gold, silver, and often a whole variety of shades. But there was one on them that stood out, just like she from the other Chinks. It was a dry-painted four-petalled crimson, with a deep red stalk and a gold lining at the edges of the (wafer-like) petals.“How much for this one?”, I asked.“Ten rupees.”, she replied smiling the most angelic smile any girl could smile.“Ten for one?!
That’s too expensive.” Smile or no smile, I care for my wallet!“You can have this one for five”, she said, mesmerisingly, pointing to a tender-looking off-white, papery flower, with a burnt-brown centre.“How long will that stay alright?”, I asked guided by the scepticism that the flowers’ apparent fragility filled me with.“That would depend upon you, how you can handle it.”, she said, in a statement more deep than I think she meant it to be. I took five of those from her. As I handed her the money, she gave me the balance, in no hurry, as though she was allowing me the time to ponder.
“Depends upon how you can handle…”.
“The Mela is on for another two weeks, isn’t it?”, I asked.
She smiled, and nodded.