The winter is upon us, and all the woollens are out. Amongst these, is one precious scarf.
Before I turned into an obnoxious and stubborn teenager, we wore sweaters knitted by my eldest aunt. Knitting, and crochet were like second nature to her. I used to admire her skills. It seemed almost magical, the things she could create with wool.
So when our crafts teacher asked us to bring wool and knitting needles to school, I was excited. I envisioned myself becoming very proficient in knitting. I was already imagining showing off!
I carefully followed instructions, and ensured I did a neat job of making the loops. After a couple of classes, we were told to finish it off at home, at our own convenience.
Little did I know, that it would turn out to be quite a disaster.
Under the watchful eyes of my mother and grandmother, I continued my knitting. My grandmother demonstrated a different type of loop. And so we decided to add a little design, alternating between different types of loops.
It wasn’t long, before I forgot about the design, and then it was just a mess of randomly placed loops. It didn’t bother me, though. I was knitting for the first time.
Twenty-two loops, is what I started with, and after a few rows, it somehow became twenty-eight. That was also fine by me. I was just a child. I allowed myself to goof-up.
Then one day, my mother pointed out that I had missed a loop. Before I knew it, she removed all the loops that I had knitted with my little hands.
Although I had to start from scratch, we no longer had the problem of mismatched styles and varying number of loops. All seemed to be well again.
And then I missed another loop. The loops were removed, and like the ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’, I began again. It seemed like I had entered a vicious cycle – one that continued for a long, really long time. I knitted, missed a loop, and then started all over again.
Days turned into months. I soldiered on for as long as I could. It was obvious that knitting was not something I could possibly do, and my persistence only made the wool weaker. It had been abused long enough. It was now much thinner, and was begging for mercy.
I abandoned my project, and my mother decided to finish what I had started. Needless to say, she went further than I had. But she did not complete it. She probably still hoped that I would complete it. It was shelved, and soon forgotten altogether.
* * *
Several Years Later
We relocated, and came to live next door to a joint family. Four generations shared one apartment. Biji, as they all called her, was the eldest member of the house, a great grandmother. She took a liking to us, and we took a liking for her as well. My father’s mother had passed away only a few years before we moved, and the void that was left in the house, seemed to be filled by biji. It seemed like our grandmother had come back to us.
One winter afternoon, we saw biji sitting in the sun, knitting. My mother casually mentioned my abandoned project to her. We showed it to her, and she smiled and said, ‘I’ll finish it for you’. In a couple of days, she pressed a beautiful scarf into my hands.
She looked at my mother, and said, ‘I found a little problem with the loops, so I removed the whole thing, and knitted it from scratch!!’