I like old bedsheets. They are soft. They have an undying finesse in their fibres which conveniently becomes a cool berth on hot summer days and a heated bunk on nippy nights. The old bedsheets have gotten used to Amma’s repeated scrubbing and thrashing in the wash. They have softened. The coarse fabric has tempered down to a comfortable and snug cloth.
They have lived with us and they have learnt the golden rule of a middle class family like ours, ie. adjustment. They have shrunken after the wash and hence fit in anywhere, from Aaji’s pushtaini chest to the rusted almirah. They comply to our middle class household and don’t throw tantrums while being put on beds. They meekly get pressed under the bulky, poorly sewn mattress too, despite their shrinking. They don’t throw issues, like not fitting on the bed or being too flowy for the bed.
They know stories also. They have soaked buckets of tears over the years. They know my sadness of not getting the aeroplane toy I wanted when I was 7. Apart from Amma, only they know about Reena’s sobs from the night when she was greeted by a woman’s monthly demon friend for the first time. They have been there for Amma on lonely dopehris when me and Reena were off to school and Baba was at the Duwanji’s. They have tolerated the numerous creases and wrinkles that Baba’s feeble body has caused on nights when his illness would not allow him to sleep. They have faded, like the good old times and also like the bad days. They have lightened in colour, like the memories of a family picnic some 2-3 years ago. They are prepared for the worst, like Amma…
They know one day they will be given to Sudha Tai in exchange for new utensils. But they don’t get upset over their fate. They know they are old and faded but they are not worn out, just like Sudha Tai’s courage. They know they can harbour new dreams and stories. They know they will adjust on Sudha Tai’s small and creaky chowki also. They will be Sudha Tai’s partner in hard times. They will invite her for a peaceful sleep but will take her rejection positively too. Sigh. Wish her husband could learn this trait from them. They haven’t got used to Amma’s huge bed that was the highlight of her dowry. They are humble like that, actually just like Baba.
They have a lot in them, those old bedsheets.
I like them.