The Dress

Sharmila Roy Ghosal

Nupur walked along the road with a sad look on her face. Tomorrow was her friend Neeta’s birthday and she did not have anything nice to wear to the party. Her father’s jute mill had closed down and there was hardly any money left at home to buy a new dress.
Nupur decided to wear an old dress that had been her favourite for many years but had become a little too short for her now. ‘I will ask the tailor to increase the length’. Nupur said to herself.
The tailor however refused to do so. “I am not taking any alteration work right now, since the puja orders have started pouring in, my hands are full.”
Nupur clutched the packet that had the dress in it and thought, ‘What am I to do?’
Suddenly she saw a lady get out of the car and walk towards the bank. The lady opened her purse to take out some papers and her wallet fell on the ground. Unaware of it, the lady went into the bank.
Nupur ran and picked up the wallet. There were so many people inside the bank that she decided to wait on the steps.
After a long time the lady came out. Nupur handed her the wallet that she had dropped. The lady could not believe herself. The little girl had been waiting for her for so long, to hand her the wallet. The lady looked at the contents everything was just the way she had left it.
She looked at the girl’s soiled clothes. “What is your name and where are you going? Can I drop you home?” The lady asked.

Nupur told the lady that she was going home. She also said that she had been to the tailor to get a dress altered to wear for her friend’s birthday party but the tailor had refused to do so and that her father was jobless.
The lady looked at the dress that had visible stains on it. She was the owner of a boutique that stitched clothes for children and young adults.
“Come in the evening and collect your dress”. The lady told Nupur. Then she paused and said, “Oh, by the way, have you thought of a present to give to your friend on her birthday?”
“Why, yes!” Nupur nodded enthusiastically. “My Uncle has given me a box of colored pencils which I have not used. I will give that to Meeta my friend”.
The lady nodded. The car stopped in front of the boutique. “You will have to come here and collect your dress,” the lady said.

In the evening Nupur went to the boutique and was speechless to see her old dress look so resplendent. The stains were covered with patchwork. The lady had used lace to increase the length of the dress. The collar and sleeves had been embroidered as well. Nupur was overjoyed. The lady had also stitched a sling bag with lots of shells on it as a birthday gift for her friend.
“Ask your father to see me. I need a Durban for the boutique.” The lady smiled and said, “For I am sure, the father of such an honest girl must be a very honest man too.”
Nupur wore the dress with the new look to her friend’s birthday party and everyone appreciated it.
Nupur’s father also got a job as a Durban at the boutique and everything was back to normal in the little girl’s life.


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