The Stained Silk Kerchief

Update for week/month ended 30 March 2012


Chinxua returned to the pillaged village. She was tired and so were the women in the family. Di Hong had surveyed the village home and factory before Chinxua’s return to ensure that it was safe for the return. The house entrance door was smashed open. The lacquer polished red chest was broken. All the valuables plundered. And Chinxua wondered. Were these signs of the new times – she had heard that the Red Army was bein formed who had the concerns of the people in mind – but if this was their initiation into concerning for the people – then she did not want the Reds. For Chinxua, reds symbolised everything nice in her Pearl River Village existence – the red Hong Bao silk envelopes that contained valuable gifts during the New Year of the Moon. Red was the colour of the dress that her mother wore on an anniversary dinner hosted at home with exquisite handpainted motifs of flowers and gardens. She looked like a Diva – and her well travelled father had even hinted that she looked like the aristocratic ladies of fashionable Shanghai. This made her mother blush – a deep scarlet pink. Red was the favourite colour of her favourite painter – Ni Bao. His brush strokes were strongest when he used the red paint. His style of painting was also something that had attracted Chinxua to Ni Bao – he would use swift strokes to paint and then pause with the paint brush held between his thin lips and usually crowned with a frown. At times, he chewed at the bamboo holder and his cheeks would get stained with the paint. Chinxua thought he was attractive when he was at work.  And then she pulled out her silk handkerchief which was a gift that she treasured. Ni Bao had carelessly left his paint brush on it, once when he was painting a sunset specially for Chinxua. The flaming red and yellow sun -‘s rays were streaked over this silk handkerchief. And now Chinxua was standing in her ancestral home – which was shattered and she had the tainted kerchief in hand. She walked about the house like a lost person as she could not recognise her own home. The Altar for the Anscestors was desecrated – and there was a wicker basket thrown about carelessly in the room. She walked across and lifted the basket and she shed copious tears as she crouched low to carefully pick up the Jade Buddha – he looked calm- with his eyes closed and a curl of a smile appearing on his lips. He was intact. And that was when she heard the sound of stomping boots in the compound, and she quickly wrapped the Buddha in her kerchief – silently thanking her ancestors at protecting the family deity.

The past 2 weeks at D Street were also quite red. The D Boyz had returned after their journey in the Green Valleys – and they saw the red of the angry government that had been beaten back by the highest court in the country on a Tax issue. They saw the red of the Red Tapes that were holding back reforms – both in terms of lesser subsidies in rail budgets and lack of policy direction everywhere else; they were seeing Red in the paan (chewing betel leaf) stains of the goons becoming Minister of Prisons; and they were seeing Red in possible additional taxes…… and all of this saw their Favourite SENSEX dip into redder and redder territory – dropping several notches to even sub 17000 levels – until the last working day of March saw some turn in tides as it bucked up and leveled at 17404 (down 99 points from 2 weeks ago)

Chinxua walked up to the door and into the courtyard to see a man in uniform casually walking about near the gate. His face was turned towards to the sun, and from where she stood, she could only see the silhouetted figure. His gait reminded her of someone she had known. he walked towards her and expecting to see a reddish coloured uniform, she was surprised to  see that the colour was a pale greyish green and of ordinary design. The stylish Chinese Looped button was replaced with mother of pearl buttons through buttonholes. And then he stood just a few feet away from. Chinxua’s gaze turned into astonishment and her doe-eyes opened wide. Her jaw dropped and she was about to move, when at the gate she heard Di Hong call out to her – “Chinxua, let us go”, he said. . The man in front of her did not move, except turn his head sideways such that he could now see both Chinxua and Di Hong. Di Hong moved in fast and grabbed Chinxua’s hand, and dragged her out of her house. The man just kept looking at her intently as Chinxua turned back to maintain her gaze with this familiar face. No! She could not believe it – how could the artist who loved his freedom of expressions and everything else turn into an oppressive servant of the army? She must have been dreaming – it was like a nightmare – was this indeed Ni Bao?

So here we return after a long time – like the story of Chinxua, Ni Bao and Di Hong. I earnestly look forward to your comments on surprising moments – and wish you all a great weekend ahead.

Have Nice Weekend – Cheers…..

p.s. To read / cross refer to the Chinxua, Ni Bao, Di Hong stories – refer to

Red Firecracker Green Firecracker

The Guests from the Emperor’s Court

3 thoughts on “The Stained Silk Kerchief

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