The things you weave into a friendship band
This is a collaborative piece
Art : Trupti Karjinni
Text : Sohini Chatterjee
When childhood memories crowd my thoughts, they are quite often of the loneliness my younger self had survived while growing up. I remember those years in disjointed fragments—they impinge into memory like an old ache.
During my adolescence, my mother had convinced herself that my pangs of abandonment— especially when I would regularly return home from school in tears, feeling uncared for and left out by people I thought were my friends — were also in effect, her unsavoury gift to me. With a full time job that took up much of her time, she would give anything to bring happiness to me, the apparent victim of her modest ambition. A way in which she could bring some solace to herself.
I watched my mother carefully make friendship bands out of small, colourful balls of wool. She made more bands than I had friends, or will ever have. Some had lettered beads on them spelling the word 'friend'. She liked to believe that they are meant for friends I'd be making at school, or will make soon enough if I hadn't already. That would perhaps, in a small way absolve her of the guilt for not being there for me at all times. Those bands tried to convince me that I would soon find many homes for those bands, although I was a little more cynical than hopeful about such possibility.
I wrap one around my wrist but it barely gives me any understanding of the word gracing it.
My mother’s friendship bands never had many takers. Upon my return from school, my mother would ask, “How many bands did you get?” And I'd show her bracelets from many years ago, which, by then, she had forgotten having made.
These bands, tucked away in a box in the corner of my closet, are emblematic of all that my mother and I had attempted to conquer— our misgivings, guilt, shame, and perceived incapacities.
My mother did not realise that I had found enough assurance to sail through life’s many quandaries despite her brief absences. I would not quite realise it myself until much later. Instead, we invested in colourful woollen threads of pink, purple, and yellow and comforted ourselves with our imagined truths.
Sohini Chaterjee is a poet and writer from Kolkata.
Trupti Karjinni is a self-taught watercolour artist who is exploring the world of watercolours, discovering florals, abstracts and landscapes. She documents most of this on her Instagram.