I have a phobia of dressing up for weddings because as much fun it is to look every part the celebratory you and all the congratulations that you need to say to the bride and groom and the proud parents, I know I can’t muster myself with enough enthusiasm to look and sound excited. I often find myself advising the young starry-eyed couple that a marriage two people together with an understanding that you would not see each other in your beautiful form forever. There would be intense hatred, anger, intense love & compassion. It’s a gamut of emotions.
And to add to my chaotic mind and indecisiveness of what jewellery to pair with my silk sari. I am at a loss. I sat at my garden table with my cup of coffee and staring at the jasmine flower buds growing unhindered in my garden. The fragrance of the fresh jasmine fills up the empty space around me. I thought that do I need to do what’s been done to death. Dressing up in gold and all shiny like the Christmas tree. I was trying to calm my overthinking brain. I knew it wouldn’t be approved by the in-laws that I don’t wear the diamonds and have no interest in owning them too. Because I find elegance in the minimal. I often stare at the many ladies dressed head to heel in all forms of shine yet they look lost and with underfed minds. A mind that probably needs more shine than the diamonds donned.
The conditioning is so strong that weddings mean all your jewellery is all out there. Even if it’s a mismatch I need to prove I have more. And that is the norm of the big fat Indian wedding woes. But to me less is more. I spoke to Zarina my househelp of years now. She often chooses my jewellery and I find her keen eye in tune with my need to wear less and feel more. I asked Zarina would you be able to make me a Gajra with jasmine flowers.? I want to wear a flower garland around my hair bun.
She is quick to pluck the fresh flowers and starts to frantically look for the needle and strong thread to make that gajra. I see her meticulously string the flowers one by one, putting one on top of the other like it was in a symphony of sorts. In a mathematical fashion, she adds the flowers. There were buds that had not opened that she picked. I saw her filling up a bell metal bowl with water and filling the bowl with the unopened bud. My room had been transformed with a certain vibe. The unopened buds reminded me of a young beautiful girl.
As I took out my plain Tusar silk sari. My white conch bangles that matched my white fresh jasmine flowers on my gajra. I cleaned my face, applied my moisturizer, Kajal and my lipstick and tied my hair in a neat bun. Swept the hair off my face. Tied my hair and started circling my bun with the flowers.
My flowers were pinned by braid pins in place and I could feel the fragrance surround me and my inner being of being the woman who knew that dressing up doesn’t always require riches & gold. You can look beautiful with all the jewellery that nature has bestowed us with.
My jasmine flowers did get its due attention and I remember the lady at the corner of the street who sits under an umbrella with a big basket of flowers and she sprinkles them with water to maintain the freshness. I see the working women and so many people buy flowers to either take it as a gift to the deity they worship or wear around their braids or bun. Women in South India wear jasmine on all occasions. It is an inexpensive accessory from nature for so many women.
My jasmine jewellery is my answer to the moments when I didn’t fit in with the set rules of society. The jasmine flower blooms all day, all year. It may wilt and wither but the fragrance never dies. My jasmine is my unsung heroine. She is not seen but felt by many. When we throw away the dried yellow withered petals. It reminds me of life that I look forward to like the fresh new bloom. Promising me of a new tomorrow with stories unfolding and teaching.
The Jasmine is on the branches, hiding behind the leaves. It is shy, pristine and full of fragrance. Like life itself.