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It's Just A Metal People

It's Just A Metal People

April 20, 2011

All that glitters is not gold - it's egos.

Gold is overrated. Seriously. So is jewellery in general. As gold increases -> Ego of the owner inflates -> Jealousy of the neighbours explode -> resulting in more gold sought after by neighbours thereby effectively increasing the overall gold in a region. It's a (gold) chain reaction. Now if we replace the word ‘gold’ with 'productivity' or 'hard work', India would be on its way to becoming Superpower of the World by now.

A woman's status symbol is often indicated by the amount of gold and stones she can afford to adorn on her person.

Sadly it still remains a determining factor in marriage in spite of the so-called broad-mindedness of today's generation. What was once termed dowry is just now renamed as a 'small gift' for the groom's family.

Gold is an excellent asset
in troubled times for many.

And may I add, gold is also a staple on every alternate billboard in Kerala.

My earliest association with this 'wonder' metal is memories of my mother emerging from the Gold Souk at Dubai with an eerie glow on her face while clutching bags of velvet boxes. At the time I was too young to recognise this as the after-effect of retail therapy at the time.

Over the next few years, gold and I maintained a respectable distance. I was never pressurised to befriend it and frankly with Barbie around, all else paled in comparison.

Soon enough though, I was plunged headlong into the world of gold during a visit to my grandmother’s house. I was a teenager going through a grunge phase then, providing weak rebellion with mismatched-but-cleverly-so earrings. It was a miniature racquet on the left ear and a shuttle on the right or a pencil on the left and an eraser on the right, etc. Yes, I had that whole asymmetrical look going on long before Rihanna decided to chop off her hair on one side.

And as luck would have it on that fateful visit, I decided on a skull on one ear, and a bat (no, not cricket but the type associated with Dracula) on the other look.

Very chic, if you like the Goth look. My blind-in-one-eye-but-extra sharp-in-the-other Granny caught sight of this un-Christian behaviour and Mummy was suitable chided.

“Not even proper earrings and a bare neck! Can’t she wear a gold chain, a thin one at least?”

After a few arguments between Mummy and I, the matter was resolved. I could continue in my jewel-less unfeminine state as long as I succumbed to her wishes whenever guests or a family function came around. Most traditional gold earrings have enormous screws which double as instruments of torture for the occasional wearer like me. The Curse of the wronged Goldsmith, I suppose. Inevitably lots of angry tears and a minor amount of bloodshed were shed before any major family function.

When you enter the marriageable age in Kerala (which is the moment you pass out of college or the moment an aunt spots your ‘blooming countenance’ at a wedding function or both usually), then you cannot escape from jewellery anymore

Thankfully, my own wedding did not turn into a gold exhibition. Of course I wasn’t spared completely. No sireee. ..For each yard of sari draped around me, a piece of finery was selected, clipped and fastened accordingly - 2 earrings, 1 bangle, 2 rings (engagement ring, marriage ring) and 1 chain on which hung my ‘thali’ – proof of my newly wedded status.

The jewels were examined, the chain and bangles fingered and mental calculations done on the weight of each piece. Murmurs of appreciation were exchanged and an entire generation of aunts were convinced of my 'wealthy means'. All in a day's work for the experts.

Post marriage, fortunately the scenario changed. I flew to Singapore which was heaven for the lazy accessoriser like me. The locals walked around in camisoles, shorts and no jewellery. Bare ears, bare wrists, bare ankles and in the more shocking and eye-riveting situations, bare bodies too.

So for now I lead a dual life – my Singaporean half who might accessorise with a bracelet or a watch, and my Indian half who takes care to don my essential 6-ers whenever we visit home.

Because all said and done, I know Granny is still watching over me from the heavens just making sure. 


  • Rituparna
    25.11.11 05:03 PM
    Ha ha ha ....
    Seriously that empty neck, empty ears n empty hands stuff has come my way often especially after marriage. But now they have all stopped. I guess I am a lost cause ...
    I still have my lock & key earrings.
  • Lakshmi
    21.06.11 01:11 PM
    Maria eagerly awaiting more blogs from you….It has been long since you’ve put up something interesting :)
  • Maggie
    23.04.11 12:21 PM
    Loved this piece! I have to admit to being a lover of gold, especially if worked into Indian design but I try not to be lol. I suppose we should celebrate that when you got married you didn't have dried fruits etc hanging off your bangles like way back!
  • Hayaah
    21.04.11 03:57 AM
    I loved this post!

    I didn't realise that the mismatched earrings thing was shared by sisters across borders. I wear all my six, miss matched to date! = )

    Not to mention the first one toe ring only and one anklet which was woe-ed over by a hundred tch tch's with an assortment of only married women wear such things, to its a symbol of a concubine to wear only one - or - one on the left ankle/toe only, etc. etc.

    *serious eye roll*

    YaY to rebellion ;)


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