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HANDS THAT BELONG by Tresha Sivanesanathan

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

My hands are a gift from the Gods. Every shape and groove has been carved with a fine-tooth comb - at least I believe it is one extremely small comb.

My hands come from a line, a heritage of many other hands. Those that have healed the innocent and fed the human race as known to man. If we can describe our future and paint the entire known universe on the back of our hands, then perhaps ten fingers and two palms give a reason why we belong in our world today.

My dad was a fighter and my mom was a survivor and my siblings and I were the little creatures born on the dawn of something higher. The rough hard edges and scars on their skin scathe from long work in factories and hours of typing. Yet, my hands are smooth and thin; finely trimmed at the nail bed. I’m grateful for these hands of heritage that have provided me with a life well-lived.

These hands are the ones that eat rice and mutton curry on a banana leaf on the evening of New Year’s Day. After hours of preparation, the aromatic smell of turmeric and curry powder invites guests to the dining room. I stir the pot effortlessly and pour ladles full of the delicious sauce on a leaf to share amongst my family. A tradition passed on by generations was satisfied by my hands.

The bangles that wrap around my wrist are ornaments that decorate my tradition. Each colourful ring is representative of health and prosperity and adornment to my lehenga garment. As I twist my wrist and clap my hands, the bangles jingle. The chiming music rings in my entrance. The inviting bright hues of pink and yellow accentuate the joyful atmosphere of celebration.

The henna is laced on my hands, their elegant lines and shapes gracefully curling and twirling wrapping around each finger; cooling each vein in my skin. The reddish-brown paint inking vines, flowers, moons and even pears! Vitality and devotion are etched into each figment of ink and are now a familiar sight, with the ability to relieve stress during a large event.

From the moment that my mother first held my tiny fingers while my umbilical cord was clipped by a doctor to the day that I lifted the weight of my traditions and placed them on the shoulders of the future children. I see that there is nothing more important or valuable than the hands that have shaped my future.

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