No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
-- Leisure, by WH Davies
In our always-in-a-rush lives, truly just running from place to place, and errand to errand, barely taking a breather every weekend, ‘We have no time to stand and stare.’ My days are no different, and yet, there are sights and sounds which have the capacity to stop one in their tracks. For me, a tray full of vibrant glass bangles glinting under the bright sun as the street hawker lady displays her wares, does it. Nostalgia, longing, and renewed realisations— that is the emotional train that follows a sighting of that.
One of my most cherished memories from childhood festivals, especially Eids, is that Ma would bring a large shoebox-sized pack full of vibrant glass bangles for each of us two sisters, a couple of dozen to match all three of our Eid outfits.
The first time that I remember going to the Dhaka University TSC for Pahela Baishakh, as a prancing 10-year-old, Baba got me a dozen bunches of those traditional opaque glass bangles, in all the colours that the seller lady had in her repertoire. In a moment of impulsive generosity, I gave up part of those that I was wearing --yellows, blues, greens and reds-- to a cousin the next day, for Pahela Baishakh. Ever since, every time I see a bangles vendor, I subconsciously look for the same, to be able to wear them again, perhaps to gain back the innocence taken by time.
While indulging in such joy, never did I realise these simple moments would become a source of such nostalgia and longing, and a thing of the past long lost, as blessed childhoods are to go by too quickly.
For the habit of stopping by every so often to buy a dozen or few glass bangles, there is a large stock that I still sometimes gaze at, in those rare moments when there is time to stop and stare, and imagine. But the carefree times to wear an armful of the rainbow coloured glass bangles and revelling in the sonorous clinking of the same, are long gone.
Yet, bangles still make for great tokens of holiday merriment and love. A couple of days ago, I bought some jasmine strings from this tiny flower seller, an adorable boy of perhaps 7 or 8, barely knee-high. He asked me to buy him a set of bangles from a vendor sitting right next to him, so I asked him to pick one. After a few moments of indecision, he picked a bunch of shiny and bright pink ones, barely half a finger across in diameter. He said it was for his little sister. It might be, for a long time to come, my most satisfying purchase.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Styling: Sonia Yeasmin Isha
Make-up: Farzana Shakil’s