Fearless She Wrote
Published in

Fearless She Wrote

Mother, I Have Your Silk

Inspired by Amrita Sher-Gil’s painting Tribal Women

Public Domain: Tribal Women by Amrita Sher-Gil 1938

For My Mother

Tribal Women had my immediate attention.

Most of Amrita Sher-Gil’s paintings of women carry melancholic, oppressed and defeated tones.

But Tribal Women has a mother’s smile and it has a daughter’s flower. It is a soft frame that quickly settles our eyes to gentle and quiet love. It is eternal.

It has a lamp. It is in a lit-up room. It is eternal.

Head ornament of the daughter shows us our princess. It takes us back to our own days of wearing our mothers’ bangles and all the times she would bring to us the pinkest and the most beautiful of the silk there ever was. How it still wraps around our bloomed and wild bodies like our armor and our magic. It is eternal.

Golden nose-ring, red Bindi, and red Sindoor of the mother are the suns of joy shining on all the magnificent shades of brown. These are symbols of beauty she carries with pride; she wears them like the most humble queen of this world. She is all the mothers birthing and raising all the new universes every day, scattering galaxies, shielding Shivas, reproducing Kalis. And coming back home to make rotis. She is eternal.

Were there ever more kind eyes than the ones here on our canvas of a gift? Their glance with their unconditional care reaches us like that every single time our mothers were our shelters, our springs and our summers, our oasis, our protectors, our goddesses, our only moons. They are eternal. They are eternal. They are eternal.

Mother’s hands’ caring hold of her daughter is the memory in us all we breathe with and carry in our foreign-lives every single moment. Not in a way that when we remember them or when we miss them, but just how the memory flows in us without thought and without intention, like how our blood flows, even more than how our blood flows. Her hold is eternal.

Daughter’s curious eyes have visions of future journeys and new rivers she will build herself. She is already ahead; in her other worlds she is already a queen. She is of her mother.

~

Vaishali Paliwal

Rotis-Indian bread

Sindoor- Traditional vermilion worn my married women along the part of their hair

Bindi- Colored dot worn on center of forehead

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