What Object Do You Cherish and Why? #CBF16 #blogging

A month back, I got involved with the Cherished Blogfest once again. I was very honest in my last Cherished post, one year ago, and I’m going to lay myself bare and take the #nofilters approach this time as well.

So, the Cherished blogfest: along with Dan Antion, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat, Cheryl Pennington and Kate Powell, I invite you to talk about an object you cherish, and why, in about 500 words.

Dan has done most of the hosting work this time round—I’ve merely coasted along.  I’m struggling with a crucial deadline, so my visiting will all happen sporadically—but I WILL visit the entire list some time in the next two weeks. I’ll comment on as many posts as I can over the weekend.

My cherished object this year is a daisy embroidered on a piece of cloth, and this is its story.

Cherished Blogfest MemoriesAfter my father-in-law passed on, my mother-in-law spiralled down into depression.

She stayed with my husband and me for two months, and during those months I realized how a more than forty-year-old marriage can meld you with another person: she had no one to feed, take care of, or scold, she said. Yes, she had children, but it wasn’t the same. They didn’t need her as much as her husband did. Theirs was a love marriage in a time in India when such a thing was almost unheard-of — marriages were arranged by parents. Theirs was fixed by their parents, too, but they chose each other first!

I asked her about her most favourite pastime before she got married, and pat came the reply: embroidery. She’d won competitions, covered all the surfaces of her parents’ home with her crochet work, been the envy of all her neighbors. I took her to an embroidery shop, and watched her transform. I’d always admired her childlike wonder, and enthusiasm for life — but for the first time, I saw passion.

She embroidered a series of handkerchiefs for her son, with his initials. Then she made me this daisy. I asked her to sign it, but instead of writing her name, she wrote mine, and “Love, Ma.” We moved homes, and the daisy disappeared. What can I say. I’m careless and stupid.

In 2013, I was the first to reach her after a snakebite. I slapped her all the way to the hospital to keep her conscious, but could not bring her back. One evening she was all girlish laughter. Two days later, just a body they burnt at the pyre.

It is traditional for Indian daughters-in-law to inherit a piece of jewelry from their mothers in law– something that’s been in the family for at least a generation. She never had the opportunity to give me a token, and I thought I’d lost the one she had given me. That daisy.

This year at a time I was down in the dumps with my book and my writing, I found that daisy in one of the boxes, folded inside a plastic cover. In it, her passion, her ability to make new beginnings, her steadfast refusal to give in to loss and adversity.

I tend not to cherish objects, but this daisy holds that first moment we met, when she held my chin and said, so pretty. That time she massaged my head when my insufferable wedding hairstyle and the pins gave me a migraine. All those hours we chatted over recipes on international calls. When she jumped with me on a Malaysian beach, her saree at her knee. The way our home smelled when she cooked, all fennel and cinnamon and cumin and fenugreek. How she scolded me when I was foolish. Her patience. When she said I should wear what I felt comfortable in, her neighbors be damned. The way she danced, yes danced, hands up in the air, when I visited her in the middle of a family crisis– one of her daughters very, very ill at the time. When she let me get her hair colored. When I got to tie it in a knot using one of my clips. That first time I coerced her, a woman used to wearing sarees all her life, into a sleeping gown: her cheeky grin from behind the door, and then her twirl, her helpless giggles.

So much of her laughter, so many of her tears.

I don’t know where people go when they leave us, none of us do. But I sense my Ma with me in that daisy, and in these lines I write to tell you its story.


 Cherished BlogfestAre you taking part in the Cherished Blogfest? If you are, this weekend (29-31 July) please post about your cherished object, and visit others on this POST LINKY LIST (This is only for the posts, not signing up) Share on all social media with the hashtag #CBF16. If you haven’t signed up yet, you still can, the Cherished Blogfest MAIN LINKY LIST  remains open. What is an object you cherish? What sort of memories does it bring back? Would you like to write about this object?

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I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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  1. G Angela

    Beautiful and inspiring, it was lovely tribute and authentic self disclosure of your life, appreciate you for sharing.

  2. hilarycustancegreen

    Deeply touching, Damyanti. I was ironing some rarely-used embroidered table cloths this evening and asking my husband if it was my mum-in-law’s embroidery. I bet it was.

  3. dennyho

    I believe this daisy might be more precious than any of her jewelry as she created it by hand just for you. Willl you hand this down to someone one day? A thoughtful family tribute Damyanti.

  4. annwritesthings

    Sounds like a cherished piece of embroydery can become the spark of inspiration you need to get you writing again. Thanks for describing that lovely piece in great detail.

  5. navasolanature

    This really captures the spirit of your mother in law and as I guess so does the daisy.mcertainly an object to be cherished! Sorry to hear about some of the negativity that seems to be unleashed at the moment.

  6. sumandray

    Enjoyed reading a part of the story of your life. It was for sure an emotional journey and I too believe that at the end one should only remember the happy moments and cherish those while trashing the rest. Cheers!

    • Damyanti Biswas

      Thanks for the comment. I couldn’t visit back because there was no way to find you from your gravatar.

  7. InkingOutLoud

    That was incredibly touching and your words were so gripping and full of emotions. I guess all the readers felt it too! Thank you for sharing this part of you. Yep, cherish the daisy!

  8. marianallen

    I remember when you lost your mother-in-law — such a terrible shock. I’m so glad you found your daisy! What a precious treasure packed full of memories! Thank you so much for sharing. ~hugs~

  9. jmathur

    Very touching Damayanti Ji. May her soul rest in peace and may the daisy keep you always smiling.

  10. dgkaye

    D, what a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. How blessed you were to have such a wonderful ‘Ma’ and that you found that embroidered cloth with the daisy when serendipity thought it was a good time for it to appear. <3

  11. dNambiar

    Beautiful story, Damayanti. We can see why you cherish that piece of embroidery.
    Your Ma sounds like a very beautiful person. 🙂

    Have a great week.

  12. J.Gi Federizo

    I said in my first Cherished post that most of us would probably be posting family-related ones because they are what we really normally cherish a lot. But I am glad you posted this touching kind-of tribute to your mother-in-law. She was family, too, after all. And it says a lot about your relationship.

    I am very glad you found that daisy. RIP to her. Sounds like she was a lovely lady.

  13. Rachna

    That was so beautiful, Damyanti. It made me tear up. Such a lovely relationship you shared with your mil. I am so glad that you found this daisy again. Thank you for sharing this!

  14. J.R.Bee

    Beautiful memories. Am glad you found your daisy and hope the sweet memories continue to sooth you every time you see it.

  15. Rekha @ Dew Drops

    So good to know about your relationship with your mother-in-law, because mostly this is one relationship which is often sour. It takes both the people to make any relationship work. So I guess you both have worked well to make it work. Cheers!

  16. Kassie22

    Ahh, you definitely made me tear up with this beautiful story of your mother-in-law and a truly wonderful object, one that holds so much warmth and a part of your memories. This was truly transporting–Thank you so much for sharing <3

  17. miladyronel

    I’m glad you found the daisy. And though your Ma is no longer with you, the memories of her are always vivid when you see what she left you. *hug*

  18. hilarymb

    Hi Damyanti – what a wonderful story … and I’m so pleased you found your daisy and then here – you can have those brief synopses of memories … that laughter and guffaws with your mother-in-law … your Ma – your thoughts bring back my mother to me … emotional ties and her change in being in the embroidery shop … wonderful telling – for us to relate to … thank you so much – cheers Hilary

  19. sanchthewriter

    This is such a beautifully written piece Damyanti. The vivid images, the sense of smell and place, the emotions that tug at the heart. Just amazing. Much love xx

  20. Modern Gypsy

    My heart is full as I reach the end of the post – what a treasured square of cloth…it holds her passion, love for life, caring and nurturing within its folds and the weave of the thread. Beautiful…

  21. Shailaja V

    I am sitting here, tears glistening as I read this, Damyanti. I can tell why this is so cherished. What a beautiful, heartfelt memory of a clearly amazing woman and how opportune that you found it again. Many hugs to you.

  22. Rajlakshmi

    I loved how you formed relationship with your mother in law and how fondly you remember her. It’s so beautiful read about her passion and the one gift that she left you. Very touching post.

  23. pjlazos

    A beautiful story, Damyanti. Your mother-in-law sounds like a she was a wonderful person and the daisy is a perfect token, better than jewelry, I think. Thanks for posting your lovely tribute.

  24. sharricharan

    That was absolutely beautiful! Thank you so very much for sharing your special story. 🙂

  25. joannesisco

    OMG – such a touching story!! You had such a special relationship with your mother-in-law and obviously a deep respect and affection for her. It comes through in your words bright and clear <3

  26. Candy

    This post is so touching. It brought tears to my eyes. She sounds like she was a special woman. And you are special for cherishing her.

  27. ccyager

    What a beautiful post! And the daisy is so lovely. I know people think it’s a corny thing to say, but it’s true that people do live on in our hearts and memories.

  28. bikerchick57

    Damyanti, your post is beautiful and made me smile. I’m glad that the daisy made it back to you, even though it was under very sad circumstances. You have such lovely memories of your mother-in-law, I can understand why the handkerchief is your cherished item.

  29. Paul

    I can certainly see why this embroidered daisy would mean so much to you. Thanks for sharing this object and the moving story behind it.

  30. Mariah

    One of the most touching things I’ve read in a long time. Your writing here and elsewhere is so masterful and insightful, it seems effortless. Thank you for sharing and inspiring others to do so!

  31. pathbreakingwriter

    A very touching human story. No doubt when people we love pass away it shatters us completely. I still miss my mother and it reflects in my blogs at times. My mother was good at embroidery as well, although she never got enough time to sit down and focus on it. It might sound funny, but at one point in time when I got bored during summer vacations, I took up embroidery at home, but I wasn’t good at it.

  32. cleemckenzie

    It’s the artifacts they leave us that we must cherish the most. A very touching story and one I can relate to. We’re cultures and miles apart, but we’ve shared a very human experience.

  33. Norm 2.0

    A beautiful tribute and such a moving story. Thank you for sharing this.
    I do say that the idea of getting her to think about pastimes she enjoyed before she was married is a technique I’ll need to try with my mom. She has been drifting somewhat since my dad passed on a few years ago and we just can’t seem to get her to do anything.

  34. Dan Antion

    This is such a sweet story Damyanti. I am very happy that you found the daisy and that you chose to share this story with us.

  35. Shilpa Garg

    This is such a beautiful and heartwarming story of the love and bond you shared with your mother-in-law. This post just made my heart go mushy!

  36. Sharon Bonin-Pratt

    Damyanti, This is a story full of love and acceptance. You are so lucky to have had your mother-in-law in your life, and she was lucky to have had you. Now we are lucky as well to meet this extraordinary woman. Thank you for letting us see this very special part of your life.

  37. wgr56

    Very beautifully written, Damyanti. As you said, you have indeed laid yourself bare, but the best writing comes from the heart, as does this.

  38. Shilpa Gupte

    My eyes welled up, Damayanti! That was such a touching post!
    There are some special people whom we meet during the course of our journey here, who touch us with their warmth and make a place for themselves in our heart. And, when they are no more, all we are left with are their memories which bring a smile to our faces and happiness into our lives.

  39. A J

    Your love for her shone through the words you’ve written in this post. From now on, whenever I see an embroidered red and bright yellow daisy, I’ll remember this post. Lovely.

  40. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

    You brought her to life again in this story – I felt as if I knew her too, and was sad when I read that she was gone from this earth. Beautifully done!

    Several of my neighbors are brilliant and charming grad students/post docs who traveled from India to study here, including a couple who recently moved into my building whose parents arranged their marriage. It seems from their behavior that they are learning to love each other.

    Another was a bit of a “playboy” while he was here, who confided in me about his challenges with American girls. His best friend was a woman from his village who was promised to another – a beautiful girl who fell in love with my puppy because she missed her own. Both have since returned to India to arranged marriages.

    Several others have secured jobs here in America and have moved away. I feel privileged to have gotten to know them all, even a little; I have learned so much about India in my conversations with them. (American education is limited in certain ways, unfortunately – we learn so little that matters about so much of the world.)

    The daisy caught my attention – it had a special meaning for me when I went away from home for the first time — and again when I was introduced to a “Lazy Daisy” in extremely unusual circumstances I haven’t thought about in years. Your post brought it all rushing back. Thank you.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

  41. Inderpreet

    That is such a heartfelt post. I love embroidery but don’t do it now. Too much reading to do. Thinking of picking it up again, it is so calming.
    I loved this post, brought tears to my eyes. God bless. Yes, she is with you, they always are a part of us. 🙂

  42. Parul Thakur

    Your post brought tears, Damyanti. I could see so many people there. My Nani, Dadi and Mums on both sides. Love is such a thing. When people are no more – these objects come back to life and the love seems so real. Hugs!

  43. RamyaRao

    Such a heart warming story behind such a beautiful thing. This story reminds me of the bond between my mum and Granny . Some relationships are etched forever and things like this bring back memories.

  44. Emily

    I love this! It’s so heartfelt, and reminds me of my grandma a little. I can’t wait to post to my item tomorrow!

  45. sharonhughson

    My grandmother also had a passion for embroidery. I cherish the pillow slips, towels and quiilt squares she made for me. Thanks for sharing your Ma with us. I’m sure she’s dancing (maybe even trying to get Gram to swing with her) wherever she’s at.

  46. Sha'Tara

    Heart warming, if also heart-wrenching story. So well written, I felt transported into that rather large bit of your life. Thanks so much for sharing.

  47. Debbie D.

    Such a lovely tribute to your Ma. I’m glad you found the daisy again! This is one of my favourite blogfests. Thanks for introducing me to it. Hope all goes well with your deadline!

  48. dweezer19

    So precious. A beloved cherished object, but a mere reflection of the one who inspired its importance for you. Thank you for the beautiful story.

  49. simonfalk28

    Beautiful and touching Damyanti. No wonder so many other bloggers and followers cherish your posts. Thanks for continuing to inspire us. 😀

  50. agmoye

    I just posted my Cherished object today, it is not as touching to my heart as your story but the best I could come up with today. Great post.