New clothes for the New Year
Kamani, Sunil, Sumana and I eagerly waited for the new year. Kamani got her new skirt and blouse nicely sewn by her mother, for the new year. She brought them to the play house for us to see. She was happy that she was going to wear a skirt and a blouse instead of a frock. Just like her elder sister, she was going to wear a skirt and a blouse. She was quite happy about this sudden elevation.

Sumana's Uncle Martin brought her not only a dress material but also a little doll for her to play with. Her Aunty Emily was busy sewing for her clients. But very soon Sumana will get a nice frock, made out of the new material, she told us. Sunil's brother brought him a shirt and a sarong for him to wear on new year day.

"Why the sarong and not a pair of shorts?" Kamani asked.
"Why not ? Can't you see all grown up people wearing sarongs.?" Sunil demanded.

"Also, it is a traditional dress. Unlike shorts which is western", Sumana said.
My parents always waited until the last moment to buy me the new year requisites. Whenever I reminded them of the new clothes they used to say, that there was enough time and that I should be patient. So I was patient as patience was the best policy.

My father always asked me to be patient in difficult situations. Even now when I undergo a difficult period in my life I always recall this.
Sumana, Kamani and Sunil brought their new clothes in to our little play house. I just loved to admire their new clothes. I was sorry for not having my kit yet.

"How long will I have to wait?'', I thought. "What a pity not to get the new clothes in time".
When I went home that night I complained to my mother about not getting the new clothes soon. My mother asked me to be patient. Another dose of patience.

The Erabadu trees were full of red flowers. The cry of the cuckoo reminded us that the new year was approaching. Sunil brought some crackers and lit them just outside the play house.
"Be careful when you light crackers", Sumana advised.

Kamani, Sunil and I closed our ears with our hands when Sunil lit crackers.
"Why are you all so frightened of crackers?" Sunil asked us.
Kamani said that we were not frightened, but that we hated the noise. Sunil asked us not to tell lies.

By evening Kamani went to the boutique and bought some 'Nila crackers'. We lit them happily as they were safe.
The following day my mother brought me the dress material. At last the long awaited new year dress is going to be made. I took the dress material to the play house. My friends were happy to look at it.

"Is it a frock or a skirt and a blouse?'' Sumana asked me.
"I don't know, mother will decide", I said.
Yellow was the auspicious colour for the new year. All of us had our dress materials according to the colour that was given in the almanac. We discussed the auspicious time and the astrological factors connected to it.

"Is it bad if we don't follow these traditional rules?" Sunil asked.
"Yes, very bad "Sumana, Kamani and I said.
At last the long awaited new year arrived. I heard the distant beatings of a Rabana. It tried to outdo the sound of the cuckoo. I wore my new dress and ran to the play house. Sumana was in her new frock. She held her little doll in her hand. Kamani wore the new skirt and the blouse. Sunil came in his new shirt and sarong.

"You did not tell us that you were going to wear a cloth and a jacket", Sumana and Kamani accused me.
"IT was a surprise for me too", I said shyly.

by ; Chandrani Fernando.

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