(This story is based on true events)

Rekha spun round in her swirl skirt, an orange cotton blend with a zari border and tassels hanging by her slender waist, which was barely able to hold the heavy garment. My gaze was fixed on her face, gaunt and grey. The last two months had played havoc with her ‘voluptuousness’.

‘Don’t call me chubby,’ she would quip, putting her podgy arm around my shoulder. ‘When cancer wins over you, it leaves you all scrawny and slight. But when a woman like me locks horns with it, it has no choice but to give in, leaving one irresistibly voluptuous.’ Her own theory of ‘all is well’ had now backfired with the return of the dreadful illness, heavily fortified this time.

‘Lost!’ she snapped her fingers. ‘So, what do you think of the plan?’

The annual fair in town was almost round the corner and Rekha was keen to set up a stall of swirl skirts in multiple colours (that she would bring all the way from Bengaluru) along with silver and quartz jewellery.

‘Mmmm… if you think you can handle being out there for an entire day!’ I said, trying to sound as diplomatic as I could. My mind was in a quandary. I wanted to give her a good roasting for coming up with these plans when clearly, she should have been lying down on a bed in that goddamn hospital whose name no longer mattered.

She smiled, turning a deaf ear to my shrouded scepticism. ‘Oh, yes! Don’t worry about me. The doctor called in to say I can put off getting admitted for a while.’ She took a break from fidgeting with her jute bag. ‘The parameters are not that bad!’ She looked at me in the eye and nodded, a gentle smile adorning her face. I hated her smooth forehead, the lines of worry having bitten dust.

‘So, I got you this Splendid Fuchsia,’ she said, holding a lipstick in her hand. ‘But it’s just a sample piece, okay. I’ve become an Oriflame rep and look you got to get me some sales!’ She pushed a thin catalogue towards me. I must have had a deadpan look on my face because she did not wait for a response. She came over and hugged me. ‘Oh, I’m so excited about my new ventures!’

I hugged her right back, finding myself incapable of sharing her enthusiasm in any other way. Rekha left the catalogue with me and that night I messaged her names of two shades I’d picked up. Her choice, the Splendid Fuchsia and another, a variant of red. The fair came sooner than expected and Rekha kept busy preparing for it. I, on my part, stayed away trying to come to terms with the ominous dark clouds sneaking in on our lives.

The fair was its usual self. Swings moving up and down with magic and miracles all around. One of those marvels was certainly Rekha, seated peacefully under a green canopy. She waved when she saw me. I bought a pair of silver danglers from her but left the skirt out. ‘You don’t like it?’ she asked.

‘I don’t want it,’ I said. They were beautiful… those skirts, but they annoyed me for an inexplicable reason.

The fair over, Rekha left for Bengaluru. From her hospital bed she would make video calls, looking so fragile as if one small touch would shatter her. And it did, or, could it? I’m not sure because the fuchsia reached me a few days later, its courageous flare a fond remembrance of her spirit.

 ‘This post is written for StorytellersBlogHop FEB 2021 by Ujjwal (https://mywordsmywisdom.com) & MeenalSonal (www.auraofthoughts.com)’


This blog post is also part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva andNoor Anand Chawla.

46 thoughts on “Fuchsia”

  1. Pingback: Jewels of Compassion – A Hundred Quills

  2. I have always been a big fan of your writing, Sonia. This one touched a chord since it reminded me of my aunt. She refused to let cancer define her.

  3. This is beautiful- the story is extremely moving. Loved reading it and thanks for sharing her spirit with us

  4. I am in awe with your writing , subtle yet powerful. I wonder from where do they get this strength, I have met someone similar, she was aged but full of life and wanted to live every moment gracefully.

  5. My mother died of cancer last year and I have seen the transformation as described in your story she was a strong willed strong headed person and cancer took it all away from her she became so frail that I feared she would break but smiled till her last moment and even though cancer took her body away her spirit never left. You title color is the perfect way I could imagine her spirit color.

  6. What a poignant story. I have seen this happen with others with serious illness – their zest for live and to make the most of each living day. Something that we will not truly understand, I guess.

  7. You write so beautifully, Beta. It is so heart-touching. It reminded me of my sister-in-law how did not allow cancer to stop her and lived her life to the fullest.

  8. I am totally speechless. Tears rolled down from my eyes, dont know why? This is such a heart-melting story. The irony of the color Fuchsia used so significantly and on a perfect not. brilliant work.

  9. Oh! Dear.. Cancer is tough on the patients and the loved ones. Rekha reminded me of the movie Anand… Babumoshai, jindagi lambi nahi badi honi chahiye.. Rekha surely had that.

  10. I am totally speechless. Such a heart-melting story. The symbolism of Fuchsia used so significantly. Hats off!!

  11. I simply loved the story Sonia. The Fushcia lipstick as a metaphor for courage was profound. I loved how you story is so simple,and yet it touches the chords deeply.

  12. This story touched me immensely and will probably stay with me for a long time ! We take life for granted for people like Rekha, each moment is precious. This being a true story moved me a lot! I absolutely loved how you symbolically used a bright Fuchsia to convey the message in the story . Amazing take on the prompt.

  13. I always like to read your stories Sonia. There is a void, there is a silence between words and that sikence speaks more than the whole story is being told. You weave stories like a magician.

  14. Zest for life & enthusiasm lives on.
    We remember people and memories are always fresh long after they are gone.
    Things remain as reminders.
    Fuchsia colour & flowy skirts & Bangalore connection somehow reminded me of-“Sandur Lambani embroidery” skirts. They are bright and attractive and are a Geographical Indication (GI) of Karnataka.

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