Saturday, April 17, 2010

A MINDFUL OF GOLD !


A MINDFUL OF GOLD !

Gold rimmed glasses.
Golden polish.
Gold plated.
Golden temple.
Gold rates.
Any mention of G+O+L+D rings a unique bell in an average Indian’s mind. True not only for Indian Indians but also for our dear PRAVASI BHARTIYA NRI’s. Several jewelers of our gold conscious country specialize in making jewellary for NRI weddings & functions. This bit of information was provided 1st as almost every one in India knows some big gold/diamond jeweler whose family has been in the business since ages. they have thrived on our obsession with gold ornaments primarily. Precious stones&  diamonds are also sought after depending on your income level. But it all begins with gold.
No wedding is complete without intense discussion about the amount of gold a bride receives from her parents. Not even when miss.CA is getting married to ex-IITian. Whatever be the occupation, personality &talent of a bride, her prime objective in a typical Indian wedding is to become an ornate ornament collection. Diamonds are a girl’s best friends came from the west.its clichéd but true. Women love ornaments. But in Indian scenario it would be an understatement. Here, gold is a girl’s family probably. Not only do women passionately buy &  flaunt gold& other jewellary in India but our men also take interest in the gold hoarded by a family.
This love for no, lust for gold has given rise to an industry in parallel to gold & gemstones. It is the clever marketing of fake or imitation ornaments loaned for weddings only.I was astonished to see armor like necklaces adorned by an educated girl on her wedding. I asked why some gals spend too too much on something u may wear only once or twice? I don't like such heavy designs of ornaments! She smiled at me &  handed over to me a card of the shop that arranged all the fake stuff for those who want to show off without spending the moolah. Wow! Why pretend so much?? Just to follow a trend.. the real gold a man gifts his daughter is the education he imparts to her in her formative years. More important than her rubies& pearls is making her a holistic personality & nurturing her talents. She would probably be a better partner if engrossed in her hobbies than a lady having loads of gold but nagging her busy husband out of boredom. An educated girl is a future asset to this country incomparable to any item weighed in carats.
Traditions differ. But the urge to show off gold in India hardly wanes. Not only would the idea of wearing fake jewellary ONLY on some important occassion bring a frown to my loved ones’ faces,it will bring a rash to my sensitive skin also. So I don't wanna pretend in life! I believe I ll buy some ornaments to satisfy my feminine urge of adorning my body but wont overdo it to keep with the jones’ . I give importance to gold but also to other things in life. Why should I hide the fact that I prefer to spend my money in a more meaningful ways also? I will buy some jewelery but If given an opportunity I would give importance to spending money in more meaningful ways also..eg.buying books..or I would consider a journey to the beautiful alps because…they ll both give me much more moments to cherish…when I shall get married,i will definitely remember the dresses & ornaments I wore on my wedding but a visit to Paris or Italy with my husband will give much more cherishable memories for yrs to come.I may buy a better car which will help me explore new destinations comfortably instead of making me feel like a stuffed doll acting like a gemstone display.
Europeans & Americans buy emeralds,rubies & ther precious stones from India. But they donot judge a man’s worth ONLY by the jewellary his daughter wears. Women of all nationalities love to adorn themselves with platinum surrounding a de Beer’s product but no where except in India do people obsess over gold as a NECCESSITY. Despite modernization ,increasing awareness & increasing literacy rate of women in India that inherent fixation with GOLD continues. Some may reject the concept of dowry yet gleefully state that so& so is adorning 150gms gold. Most girls keep such jewellary safely in lockers and wear something simpler daily… everyone forgets that the most beautiful thing a girl wears is a beautiful expression-a sparkling smile which comes from a happy countenance from within. It won’t come from a competition with mrs.xyz’s new diamond bracelet.
Clever marketing adds to the Indian gold fever. Eg. a bride receiving blessings from her father on her wedding. Caption “gift your daughter the best on the occasion of a life time” she’ll eat, drink &work in her life time but probably wear that “best” only few times!! I , once overheard a gentleman comment to a busy lady doctor that seems your practice is not as roaring as it used to last year.surprised she asked why? He replied the length of your ear-rings has halved! Oops!! So if a person is earning well ,she should wear it in her ears!! She cant spend it on her kids’ education or a treadmill at home or donate to poor kids.. she must wear larger pieces of gold to prove a point.
I also love to wear jewelery like fashionable bracelets or delicate chains with my fashionable attires or adorn traditional jewelery on festivals& occasions.Traditional jewelery gifted from our elders carries forward not only our traditions but also is a hallmark of their love,affection &blessings. I believe that is what gold & ornaments should stand for. Viewing them as competitive items is not correct. After all love & blessings in any form are priceless.
I wanted this article to be satire but my heart gave me a sermon when I saw wedding pictures of an acquaintance with more comments about the bride’s ornaments than about her as a person. A jeweler I met told me about kundan/meena/ precious&semi-precious stones&was surprised by my lack of knowledge about the subject. I smilingly mentioned I have been busy learning about 206 human bones & its million enzymes that help a human like you live. He said despite being an Indian lady, you are less aware but be it engineer or writer or housewife, all Indian ladies know about gold  & its intricacies. Ok! Despite being clad in jeans & tshirt if I could be fitting in the tag of an Indian lady(not girl which I wud have preferred ) why not modernize our views about jewellary?? Why not fill our minds with precious ideas ?? Time to get the silver polish & gold tinting off our grey cells.
Or do I have to get this printed in golden letters to grab your eyeballs?

8 comments:

  1. well written..well i'm lucky not to be obsessed with heavy jewellery its more of a eye candy for me..there are many immaterial things that are far more valuable or i should say "priceless" than mere a metal called "gold"

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  2. Did u forget the khaandani jewellery passed on to the daughters in law? :P
    Personally, I hate Gold :D
    but yeah the obsession of Indians for Gold is unique in itself.. We weigh the status of a family in a wedding with the kilos of gold they give their daughters and daughters in law!

    Good to be here :)

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  3. well said dear..
    even when I spend money on electronic gadgets then my family says to save money and invest in gold..

    Personaly I too don't like to wear all the ornaments.

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  4. We often deride a custom because it seems irrelevant today. But the custom existed because it had a purpose in that system. The systems changed and so the practices may have become obsolete.

    Gold was considered an asset in the early days (before banking and financial institutions). The adornment of the womenfolk in the family was a tangible representation of the tangible assets shared/gifted/transacted. Also, within that framework, it was considered a good way to maintain financial security, especially for the women (though this last is not very obvious). Consider the social stigma of having to pawn/sell off the jewellery of the women in the family? It was done but only under the direst of circumstances and the man doing so also came under heavy social censure. Doesn't that indicate that the financial assets of the family were very much in control of the women's hands?

    None of this is to say that I think a woman should be weighed down with gold or that her father/husband's worth should be assessed by what she wears. Like I said, those practices are obsolete in today's day and age when I am not just a daughter/spouse but an educated, independent professional. Modern-day asset management practices also make provide us options other than gold to invest our wealth.

    And finally, I'd like to point out that these systems are no superior or inferior to those followed in the West. At a particular point of time, men were the prime value-creators (salary, property etc). Women in different cultures were considered part of that asset accumulation exercise and in some places, the managers of those assets (as detailed above). Think about which one is more empowering to women.

    I hope you don't take this as a criticism of your ideas. It certainly is a valid observation that India's obsession with gold may not be fitting with the times. But practices that have been around for centuries do take time to evolve and change. I just wanted to add another perspective.

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  5. i am grateful to all of u fr taking time 2 read my article and share ur views..ornaments r a very personal issue..but indians r gold crazy so i wrote this..liked 2 read the different perspectives shared by my readers here..
    thanx

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  6. well ..being a guy i cant possibly take a stance ..but yea if u decide to use that money for smthng else ...i wudnt mind a lil extra pocket money..

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  7. You have developed ur writing skills a lot.. much ahead of me.. I must say..
    Money.. its always been a topic of discussion.. much has been said about.. so I won't.. just.. liked ur blog post.. :) Keep writing

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  8. This one is so close to my heart

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