Just as I was about to conclude that I had made a bitter start to the day – to the new year, in fact – my eyes caught her. Not a bitter start after all.
She was standing in front of the mirror. Her sari, neatly draped. Her hair, too, stylishly done.
I knew what she would do next. She would carefully bring out her accessories – lay them on the table. And then she would choose, putting one on and replacing it with another and so on.
This would go about for some time.
I never appreciated the scrutiny and care with which she did this part. Neither did I ever understand the patience she exercised at the shops where she bought her accessories from; browsing through countless designs and types before she picked one.
But her stunning look never failed to make my pulse race.
“The red one or the green?” she askedt, showing me various teeps and bringing me back to my senses.
I looked at her collection, of which she stuck several on the mirror.
Ah, the third eye, teep. It completes the Bengali belle. No matter how beautiful her sari is, how alluring the glass bangles are, how exquisite her necklace and armlet is, the look seems a little incomplete without this tiny accessory.
There are so many options of teep. Colours and shapes and sizes and styles and designs.
I stood beside her, facing the mirror, seeing the wide array of teeps on the mirror.
Teep has so much variety! There are of course the classic circular ones, in different shades. And then there are the mystic moon-shaped ones.
Meanwhile, the elongated teep that vertically runs across the middle of the forehead make for a bolder statement. These are often of stones or even crystals – a subtle dazzle.
There is literally no end to motifs and designs, from floral patterns to the layered teep, which boasts multiple colours, designs, or decorative stones.
“Pick the red one; simple... classic,” I finally replied.
“But doesn’t the green go better with this sari?” she said, not quite satisfied with my answer.
I looked at her closely. She was looking stunning on her green Jamdani.
“Red teep would suit you more,” I reaffirmed. “Green... red... both are perfectly fine. What difference would it make anyway?”
“A lot!” she retorted.
“I am going with the green. You won’t be able to see it the way I see it.
“Because, sweetheart, you don’t have the third eye!” she said, smugly, and placed the green circular teep on her forehead.
I gave up. Got ready. Time to go out embrace the new day of the new Bengali year.
It was only when we got to the elevator that I noticed that she was not wearing her carefully chosen green teep.
She went with the red one after all!
By M H Haider
Artwork by Abdus Shakoor Shah