Srini stood still, hankering to escape, she wished she could just melt away into air. She did not like visitors at home and the laborious task of being presentable before the guests for the two-three odd hours when they would occupy her living room ,having umpteen sumptuous delicacies served by her mother was a bit too much to ask for thought Srini. She had to fit into the behavioral caricature designed by her mother. Guests from her mother’s home town called for an appearance in typical South Indian sytle, which though she liked, but despised when asked to. Srini was supposed to behave well and not pounce upon her mother’s home made delicacies. So she had to influence her craving to evoke the willingness to abstain from gluttony . Nevertheless the old man who sat there irked her. He came once every two months and was mother’s distant relative. He worked in American Embassy and boasted of about the history of the great nation he served. Americans and their history were of little interest to Srini. That day he had brought 5-6 books with red paperbacks. Srini’s eyes explored them stealthily from behind the door. Books had always thrilled her, she loved the odour emanating from new books, the crispiness of newly printed pages, and the words looked like a flock of bird nestled together, ready to take a flight to perch themselves on the tender branches of her heart. As the gentleman left, Srini swooped down on the books. The bundle fell from her hands. She picked up the first book which read, “Betsy Ross-The girl of Old Philadelphia.” Srini was instantly drawn towards the book. Page after page talked about the Quaker girl of Philadelphia born into a mediocre family, who grew up to be the one who made the first American flag. “Elizabeth Griscom…………Betsy Ross” Srini murmured to herself. There was something so familiar about that name. She felt a rare and strange affinity towards that name, as if it was her own. As she read past Betsy’s childhood she could visualize her walking down the Quaker street, mumbling ……words tumbling from her own thoughts, stumbling as she ran errands for her mother, rambling along the countryside, gambling while playing games of chance. She envisioned Betsy sewing for her sisters, brewing coffee for her parents, mending clothes in the neighbourhood, lending the artiste in her to every possible applause. Srini felt herself in Betsy’s shoes. Betsy and her book became her soulmates. The book would go with her wherever she went.The five hundred odd pages were read and re-read to satiate upon the kinship that she nurtured for the girl. Her eyes slipped into slumber to dawn upon the streets of Philadelphia,she felt herself walking down the street to the church,she could feel the thimble that Betsy wore while sewing,her friends seemed like her own,she shared her feeling of rejection and appreciation. Years together she has tended to her dreams of visiting Philadelphia and the Betsy Ross house,to understand and comprehend the strange camaraderie she had towards the place………….
(Betsy Ross (January 1, 1752 – January 30, 1836), born Elizabeth Griscom and also known by her second and third married names Elizabeth Ashburn and Elizabeth Claypoole, is widely credited with making the first American flagand changing the stars on the flag from six-pointed to easier-to-produce five-pointed stars. However, there is no archival evidence that this story is true.) Courtesy:-Wikipedia