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The Memory Of A Clip That Lasts Forever

July 19, 2019
Filigree Hairclip

It was a warm winter month on the sidewalk that love met me. I walked into this space of unknown strangers. Sometimes some strangers just seem familiar. And in this unfamiliarity, I noticed him walking up and down. As ever unsure of myself; forever trying to not get too close to anyone, the fear of my gaping vulnerability is my self-defence. I remain politely formal. But he insisted on meeting my eyes. I was drawn into that warmth. I too looked into him, at him. Little knowing there would be much more than what would meet the eye, this time.

What followed was a trip into the unknown spaces of my life. He was more handsome than most others. He offered me coffee and biscuits. I told him I would get fat if I ate those cookies. He smiled and with that mop of so much hair on his head, he shook it and said don’t worry. Just eat it.

I smiled at him and took one biscuit and he insisted for at least two. We both laughed and I agreed. I had not been more comfortable in my skin in real long. Not seen so much honest decency in very long.

After my meeting got over. He insisted on dropping me to my car. To my utter horror I wanted this unspoken familiarity to end. He complimented my white kurta. I again thought why? Also told me his mother loves Pakistani serials. I thought thank god another mother fixated man. Just not my type for sure.

As we walked down. He spoke animatedly about his life that I must hear from him someday. He was also staring sharply into my eye with each sentence. He opened my car door and with all the chivalry that I so notice in men, he waved bye. We had exchanged phone numbers quite unashamedly. I was slightly taken aback at myself. As the car turned into the curb, I turned around to look and he turned around too. It was embarrassing.

I had worn my hair in a bun and secured the bun with a filigree hair design – only seen in the temple sculptures of Orissa and West Bengal. Strangely he noticed the little details. I fastened my hair tighter. Because suddenly I was aware that this meeting may turn into something that would prod me into myself & I wasn’t willing to meet myself, just now!

I thought I must share my work details and without a hitch we exchanged contact details. I kept reiterating that this is just another work contact. He got in touch too. But just like a game of cards I was constantly cancelling and he constantly agreed to my changed days.

I can’t narrow it down to the why and where and what made me choose this journey. But my universe above was smiling. I dialled his phone number and prayed he won’t answer and all will be well. But he answered and said he wanted to meet me. I cancelled once and yet he agreed to meet another day too.

The day came and I was casual as hell. It was an evening under the warm winter fading evening. We sat and he spoke. I only listened. He asked me what’s my story. I lied saying I have none. He prodded next day. I again lied.

It was a winter evening, the moon shining on my face with the candle between us. As a gush of wind blew the hair against my face, his long strong hands were on my face and he moved the strands from my face. I didn’t protest. It seemed just the right way for the evening to progress.

It’s been years since then. We don’t keep in touch any longer. But every moonlit dusk as the light kisses my face, I tie my hair with the filigree hair clip he gave. It’s hidden under the letters and whenever the unspoken grief of some lost moments arise, I look back at those moments of us. That never ever became us and remained forever you and I.

Accessories

An Arabic Prayer On My Armlet

July 16, 2019
Armband

Armbands go a long way back to history. It is a unisex design, worn by the men around their biceps of the upper arm. Studies show that the literature of the Bronze Age people wore armbands rather than a finger ring. In Asia we wear Armbands to ward off ill luck. A young bride is encouraged to wear an armband. It is a thing of beauty to watch a woman who wears her armlet or armband with as much gusto as her other jewels. The open arm with a band is extremely gorgeous and sexy with a minimalist design clothing.

The designs are galore of different motifs on armbands. My Dida had a beautiful armband that she wore as a bride. With all her pride she used to narrate her story of how the armband finally did not fit her arms over the passage of time. As she grew fatter and more voluptuous with age and her loving, much older, once married and widowed husband, my Dadu loved watching her tie her armlet. Dadu had married her elder sister, who died at childbirth. She left a young daughter behind. The chosen one to get married to Dadu was my young Dida at the tender age of 12 or maybe 13.

I still recall her jewellery box that she kept hidden under her clothes in her cupboard. It was called the “Sindhook”. A large wooden box with ornate brass handles. It had compartments and a mirror on the lid. The mirror had stained over time. But that glass even in the twilight hour was truthful to her. Dida’s older but extremely beautiful face shone with the love of a life lived with pain, love, longing and loneliness. Those lines on her forehead and face had her years of untold tales. I used to tease her saying you must have been like a pudding. How would you be proud of being large?

 

Armband

Armband

 

Her eyes used to widen and she looked at me like I was an absolute imbecile. She said with complete honesty, “Skinny girls are not desirable”!

I often look back at the times her gentle fingers touched my collar bone she would look at them and tell me. That’s terrible my darling!
A necklace should fall on a full neck. Who would even find that attractive?

Today after all those years as I try one diet after the other to try to reduce my weight, so often I have lamented over my full figure. I felt inadequate and unattractive. Her words of kindness, I sit silently and reminisce. She said a woman is beautiful when she is kind, compassionate and loves herself in totality. As the years progress, she needs to nourish her soul and also love her body. Her stomach is the spiritual pit of giving it the best food nature has to offer. Her pride in her stories of being a full-figured woman still brings a tear in the corner of my eyes.

I place my ear against the wind and I try to hear her voice again and again. To my utter horror I only hear those words that injured my soul and self-confidence as a teenager – “FAT”. I raise my hand towards the skies and pray to the Devi to give me the strength to accept myself in all my glory of having become a mother and accepting all the body changes.

I know my armband is supporting that strength I have garnered over the years to raise it and say STOP body shaming us. I know an attractive woman wears her kind attitude on her sleeve. May the armband that clasps our arm, that helps us in holding our young children and also turn the ladle in the kitchen to nourish the family we create, may that forever remain resilient and strong.

Accessories

Evil Eyes That Stare At Me

June 17, 2019
Bracelet

The Evil Eye is synonymous with the city of Istanbul. Everywhere you go, you are surrounded with the evil eye staring at you. The Turkish believe it as the good “djinn” that protects you. I watch with fascination the Bosporous River flowing in the city and a nation that was given birth by their leader Attaturk. The man who freed women of Turkey from not having to wear the head scarf.

The bright coloured cafes, the brilliance of the turquoise, it is almost supernatural. No matter however radical and scientific you are towards your approach to life. The presence of the evil eye is flamboyantly displayed at all things of vanity. You find door knobs that stop the bad djinn from entering your home and spoiling the magnanimous bonhomie of a good home.

The bazaar is a treat for tourists where you find pendants, bracelets, earrings that you imagine are baptised with the dervishes to protect you, from the unknown fear lurking behind you.

The store that caught my fancy was run by a large, bright eyed middle age lady who had lamps, jewellery and the omnipresent evil eye staring back at you.

She had dark kohl rimmed eyes and a mop of matted hair and her hands were coarse and rough from work. As she adjusted the evil eye pendant on my neck. I told her I love Istanbul and the author Elif Shafak and her book ‘40 rules of love’ and Orhan Pamuk. She immediately broke into an indulgent smile and told me her story.

The evil eye was specially very important for me to have because I have a growing son who looks happy and my eyes sparkled with his happiness. She said her sole purpose in life is to make her daughter self sufficient and she secretly harboured anger towards her ex husband who had left her for a younger woman. The evil eye and her coffee kept her from not planning revenge because every time she gazed at her daughter. She saw the light from Rumi’s poetry. So, she keeps the evil eye always with her. To remind her of the good that gets buried under the bad at times of extreme loneliness.

I understood she too was grieving like you and me. Things we take for granted may not last forever. You keep the evil eye to ward off those niggling thoughts of the bad djinn. It always tries to overpower you with its utter strength of making you feel powerful.

I settled for a door hanging and a bracelet that had a bohemian look. The evil eye in between the leather and thread bracelet were a reminder that most things in life has many dimensions to it. Wherein lies the darkness also lies the light and we fragile human beings hold on to that perfect moment, where we go through the phases of abandon and again a deep sense of insecurity. It’s this play of the certain and the uncertain that makes us wonder if we have been able to overcome our petty thoughts.

I couldn’t contain my curiosity to learn what the supernatural was trying to tell me. So, with the bracelet around my wrist I know the bad djinn may just have to tussle hard with the good djinn. The evil eye has to keep the good-hearted sentiments always above my magnified sense of self.

Accessories

Ladybugs Or Ladybirds Aren’t Ladies Afterall

June 11, 2019
Ladybird earrings

Ladybird beetle is no lady after all. She stinks and stings. It has the reputation of being a harlot or a mistress in old English parlance. The ladybug beetle consumes insects. And by mistake if you think, you can eat it, it would emanate the foulest stench of all the insects it has devoured till you vomit your mistake out.

I was most fascinated with the design sensibility of this ear stud that represented this beautiful coloured insect. I choose it because it wasn’t a bird or a lady. This statement ear stud didn’t have the seven spots on its back. Which in mythology is supposed to represent the seven pains of the Virgin Mary. I wouldn’t want any holy association with this predator who knows what she wants.

I am always intrigued with the association of women with animals. Since time eternity with absolutely vulgarity multiple animals and insects are named after us. An older woman loving a younger man is called the cougar, a docile woman is called a cow, a loud woman is referred to as a hyena. By now I am absolutely certain I want this insect on my ear. Which represents its piercing and stinking abilities. Maybe it would inspire me in life.

I am fascinated to witness the amazing hierarchy of the insect kingdom where kindness isn’t really the rule. This red slow moving beauty is a predator. It seeks the stupid in its redness and camouflages its strength with its bountiful colours.

Ladybird earrings

Ladybird earrings

I decided to look demure in my white dress but wear my beetle ear stud. It was my silent protest for all the flak Priyanka Chopra faced for marrying a younger man. It was my war cry for the articulate Sushmita Sen, who after many relationships has now settled with a very young man and also proudly chooses to be a single mother.

I salute all the women of today who are choosing to become mothers, irrespective of marriage or social acceptance. They are going ahead with IVF pregnancies or finding a man who they think is worthy enough to be the father of their child, without the facade of being socially secure need as the wife. They are bold, brave and have a damn care attitude. They are defining the truth of motherhood which in reality is a sole journey into your soul connect with your child.

I tighten the screw of my beetle ear stud and silently remember and reiterate, “You are the passionate red of lust, beauty incarnate and you no girlie girl at all”. I say out loud, just be you.

Accessories

The Pensive Peacock And The Lusty Rabbit Saga

June 3, 2019
Peacock Earrings

As my train touched Nizamuddin Railway Station, New Delhi. I knew my trip into nostalgia was beginning. It is always a plethora of emotions that engulfs me when I enter Delhi. I recall me staring at the train station in Bangalore, when Ma came visiting me. The tears used to stream down my face till I could see the train till the last turn, chugging into a distance and I held on to my longing for home with a tearing cry.

Yes, I am melancholic about the passing of the past and also relieved it probably didn’t continue. I grew up learning that relationships change, evolve. Delhi evokes the painful and poignant memories. Lost relationships, broken promises and the inevitable growth with it. School friendships that have ended and some renewed with a more mature understanding of each other’s limitations and evolution.

In my circle of trust, I found Shimonti, the articulate, music loving, self proclaimed Bengali snob. I find my unspoken special Bengali connect with her. We are both Delhi Bengalis and extremely cynical of ostentatious sequin clad aunties with large crude brand totting bags and jewellery that has no history. We often roll our eyes in unison when we meet those types. We are both ardent fans of Indian Classical music and most things that have art as its main story. The others call us pretentious and prude. We are not exactly offended with that.

As always, she is game to walk into the by lanes of Chandni Chowk, stop to eat at the roadside eateries selling kebabs and my jewellery hunting in the small lanes and stores, where window merchandising is an unknown realm. Dariba Kalan has her favourite store – Dev Jewelleries. The father and two sons charm every customer, mostly women who try every jewellery on. They flirt and compliment you and also choose some designs for you. It’s like taking a trip into the nostalgia of small stores where the space between the counter and your tummy is divided by few inches. The old rickety fan buzzes over your head and what Dev Brothers do is make you believe you are the Queen of that hour. The shop has a narrow mirror and you can see your reflection in that distressed glass. They take out one box after another to show you their collection and you are transported into the world of art and craft of India.

Peacock Earrings

Peacock Earrings

 

As we rummaged through the boxes, I had mentioned to Shimo that I wanted a peacock earring with rubies set in zircon and silver. She never shows her amusement at my imagination. She always joins me in this mad trip of my blah and blue of memory and reality. She just takes over as we enter the tiny store. She summons the brothers to show their best. One Dev Brother says to the other, “Show them the Jaipur collection”. We saw earrings after earrings and finally found the peacock that had opened its plume. All around the finely crafted earring was the eye of the peacock with love and divinity.

My fascination with the peacock as a motif dates back to my trip to the summer evening in Rajasthan, when I heard the shrill cry of the flying peacock over my head and finally, it came down on the soft grass, looking up at the sky, as it threatened to rain. The fresh summer rain, that the peacock opened its feathers to and started the slow dance. As it opened every feather, I could see its hundred eyes stare at me. It shook and moved with the grace of a celestial dancer. I stood fixed soaking in the peacock’s narcissism. It slowly moved its head from side to side and stared intently towards oblivion.

In Greek Roman mythology, the peacock is identified with Hera (Juno) who created this magnificent bird from Argus whose hundred eyes symbolizes the vault of heaven and the eyes of the stars. In Hinduism, the peacock is associated with Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity, benevolence and patience. The virtues associated with women and her divinity. In Asian spirituality the peacock is the nurturer and stays immortal to guide humanity into its spiritual evolution.

The peacock motif is symbolic to the arts and crafts world over. Each representing the vast structure of religion and mythology. I wear the peacock earring on days when I feel the need to dive into my diva mode.  It always gets the attention it deserves and I feel elated to share Dev Jewellery store details with other women.

Chandi Chowk, Dariba Kalan lane is the treasure trove of jewellery stores. It has small almost unnoticeable little windows and as you peep closer you find the arrangement like a trip into nostalgia. There are turquoise, rubies, pearls and silver all ensconced into the little space. Delve deeper and you find the piece you are searching for.

I wear my peacock earrings and rummage to search for the lusty rabbit handcuff bracelet. Dev brother says he has it and I believe him. His collection is unparalleled among the other stores of that place. I didn’t realise my tea had gotten cold while I was busy pampering my vanity. He claims he supplies to the larger air-conditioned stores in the posh parts the city. I am glad Shimonti made me find this store in the historic lanes of Chandni Chowk, Delhi where the pricing is not too tight on my purse strings.

Accessories

The Magic In My Soul

May 23, 2019
Mehfil-e-Mukhtasar

The Mehfil invitation read, look no further, you will soon be transported to the lantern lit room in the little Haveli. I was most fascinated with the invitation. It was an evening celebrating the Urdu poets of India and Pakistan. The evening was called Mehfil-e-Mukhtasar.

The Mehfil was organised in the forlorn Haveli, where the hours stood like a blushing bride, against the evening crimson sun. The Queen who lived here, waited forlorn for her lover to return from war.  He was a soldier in the Kings army, he was young, strong and rode with the power of the hooves of a thousand horses, against the sand dunes of lost time. His curls fell over his forehead as the Queen twirled it in her fingers, as they lay entwined in a common oasis of unmet emotions. He found peace in the nook of her shoulder blade and she found her anchor in the hollow of his stomach.

The Haveli used to echo with the sound of his footsteps running up to hold his Queen in his arms. Here he was, the King. They melted into each other till it didn’t matter who was royalty and who was plebeian.  He used to watch the light of her earrings with the fine Minakari Naksha catch the light against her clear skin till he couldn’t resist her no more. Her long hair fell over his face, as he moved strand by strand, inch by inch from the oblivion of everything around them. What mattered was that moment and those hours. The rest was always lying desolate in the periphery.

The Queen was not married by her heart and soul to the King ever. She fell in love with her soldier in those few seconds of that summer sky as their eyes met. She knew this maybe sinful and equally tempting. As she dressed up in fine jewellery, looking out of the Haveli Jharoka. She waited for him to arrive every full moon night. Till the moon waned and she died calling out his name, as she couldn’t wait anymore. Till she found solace in his strong arms.

The Haveli Mehfil today was celebrating a genre of “Ishq” the lost unrequited Urdu love poetry. And I am always drawn to the voice and anguish of pain. Dedicated to all the poets, writers and artists who find love in their lives, just for those few fleeting moments. Till it dies to never return ever again. These artists painted their eternal wait in colours against the sad empty canvas. Till the canvas bled into its corners.

I had to look the part for the Mehfil. I knew I could see the artist’s half lost, half empty, yet still braving the force of lost emotions that nudged it out of its slumber. Reminding each of us, that we are still alive and with the hope of a loving hand entwined in ours. This unending search of love never dies ever. Even the gnarled, bony fingers of the Queen searched for the familiarity of her lover’s fingers entwined in hers. As she waited looking towards the setting sun and the rising moon. Recalling that time stood still when they were together. And time was like a heavy chain around her ankle when he was away from her. She walked with that weight of pain in every bone and fibre of her being.

Kundan Minakari earrings

Kundan Minakari earrings

I pulled out my Gold, Minakari, Kundan earrings and matched it with my white silk sari. I wore the darkest surma against my eyes and looked back at the mirror. The mirror smiled back and said, the Queen might talk to you today. She might recite the poem sung by Iqbal Bano, “mere Humsafar mere Humnawahi na the”

As I walked up the steps in my Sari and my Kundan Minakari earrings. I caught a glimpse of myself against the mirror. I was frozen as I saw the Queen look back at me.

The Queen was the woman I knew from deep within her soul. She longed for a full moon night where the stars were shy and the cold breeze of the late summer night, made her crave for a love that would search and find passion and immortality in every inch of her.

Even if it lasted for a little while. You know, you would’ve lived your life in those stolen moments of lust, love, desire and passion with an acknowledgement that everything is ephemeral. It is in that moment that you find your ultimate truth.

I stared back lovingly at the Queen and to her broken nest of love and shame. I folded my hands towards the reflection of her beauty and grace and in gratitude bowed my head to the moon above telling me, “I didn’t become a full moon without the dark nights. I didn’t look luminous without the craters in it’s fullness. The moon said “I am dependent on the sun, to give me light in my dark hours. I see my lover in the fierce sun and I am the calm to his fire in the iridescent moon energy”

I knew this was decided from above. The Queen was telling me, that as we pass the hours, don’t stop to notice the little things around you. It is called energy of the universe. “And I simply call him Magic.”

May we each find magic in our darkest hours where the recess of our unrequited emotions finds its light. Just like the moon above that finds her warmth and glow in the sun.

 

Accessories

Wood and Word

May 17, 2019
Moody Mo

London is one of my favourite cities in the world. I seem to just blend in with the cosmopolitan vibe of that city. The English weather and the tea sessions with scones are a few of my favourite things. As usual, my last visit a few months back was filled with trepidation of meeting my son who is studying there. I wanted to see how well he is doing there, without me and his first six months away from home. I was hoping he would be teary-eyed to see me and tell me how much he missed home. To my utter horror, he looked fairer, happier and had a hint of a slightly proper British accent. I asked him if he missed India and he said not yet. I tried hard to tell him home is where Mom is. And continued my barrage of questions and asked what was his favourite thing to do in London? He said the women are beautiful and he loved watching the pretty girls.  He saw my face and quickly added he enjoyed to study and be in his room reading and overlooking the roads below and the buildings ahead. The little liar!

I settled after the jet lag and must admit it wasn’t a bad one. He told me after you have rested, will take you to my favourite places. I told him I wanted to especially go to Camden market. The vibe of Camden had an irresistible urge for me to feel like an unnamed person in that confluence of different cultures.

brown black finger ring

brown black finger ring

There were different stores selling kitschy art, jewellery and bags that shouted loud “FAKE CC” and glasses and artists who sell handmade silk flowers on chokers, earrings and finger rings.

I realised I just gravitate towards the non-conforming fashion forward movement. And I was awestruck with this store in Camden that was called Shanti. I knew I would find a hungover British selling Karma bracelets, incense sticks and Ganesha statues.

Her store in Camden had the most beautiful delicate pieces of jewellery made with stones, metal and wood.

I smiled at her and she wasn’t sure if I was Indian or Spanish. She saw me admire the wooden finger ring. And in her typical English customary greeting, she asked me “Love you want that one”? I was taken aback because my first response would be “I love you too”. I composed myself and realised I am in London where it’s good manners to say darling, love and exclaim your appreciation or trepidation with “Good Gracious Me”!

I tried the ring on and she said again “Love if you want it you can take it, but you can’t try it on”. I was embarrassed but with practised composure, I told her “Love I want that packed”. She told me I had a good choice and only I had noticed the various gradation in the seasoned wood colour of the ring. I hadn’t noticed but didn’t want to tell her that. I was pleased with myself in keeping quiet.

She packed my ring and as I was leaving the store, I overheard her telling another customer, “Love you got good choice”. I just learnt that to be a good sales lady you have to pump your customers’ ego and make them feel special.

I sit with my brown-black finger ring and can’t find much gradation in the colours but I surely know that when I meet my friends I exclaim, “Love you look super today”! And I always get a smile back. I just learnt love is a universal emotion and everyone craves to hear it and to be able to respond back too.

Camden is a haunt for all things eclectic and kitschy. The ring is one of my favourites, among my collection of London memorabilia. As I wait for my ale and fish fingers with tartare sauce. My Shanti ring sits pretty on my fingers.

Accessories

The Wishful Waves On The Stormy Seas

May 10, 2019
Moody Mo

Sea Shells are a reminder that nothing is permanent in the fury of the sea. The sea engulfs everything in its tornado. I sat on the sea shore and watched with delight the absolute nothingness of its surface calm gentle waves. It had a calming effect to soothe my over stressed city nerves. The sound I wake up to is the burring sound of the water pumps around my home where the morning begins with the constant struggle to catch the tedious day ahead. From my window I see another harried face struggling to surge ahead to those unpaid bills and screaming school children.

I share a camaraderie with the women opposite my home. Her kitchen window I can look into and find myself drawn into her everyday struggles. Packing tiffin for her kids and husband. Her over worked hands never a moment when they are resting one on top of the other. And in this jumbled up thoughts of what is to be of her and her life, I see a boatman sailing far away into the horizon. His chiselled dark sinewy body juxtaposed against the bright sun and away and away he bobs into oblivion.

The sea is mysterious with so many creatures inside it. I feel minuscule in my presence around the vastness of its dark blue. I have been ashamed of my thoughts many times; I look over my shoulder to see if anyone can hear my thoughts. I have often contemplated what it would be like to walk into the ocean and just eventually surrender to its darkness and into its abyss.

We all have an abyss that we are frightened to face. That abyss is and was my space where it’s covered with shame like the moss growing on the sea bed.

I met Miranda from Germany and she was tired of expectations from life itself and decided to take this journey on her own into India and the most recognisable state Goa.

Moody Mo

Moody Mo

Goa had a vibe of art, music, the constant sound of the waves crashing against the shores. The abandon that this place gives you is almost contagious. I am so regimented in my routine in the city. Here I don’t even realise when and how I just allowed myself into its abandon of social norms. Here you meet couples but you are just trained by the ocean to not even think if they married or into a relationship. You just accept that it’s alright to just be happy.

I unlearn that I shouldn’t be guilty of feeling happiness bathe over me like the sea salt that mixes into my tears and into my unresolved hurt and pain.

Miranda took me to another friend she had made in India who created the most exquisite jewellery with sea shells. I was astonished with so much that one could do with sea shells. I saw this beautiful shell finger ring that she had created & I politely asked her if I could try it on. Goa has worked on her too. She said you can wear the sea memory on your finger and point toward the horizon. I wore it and it looked every part of the tumultuous sea and the calming waves of the morning.

I met women who bid adieu to their men folk who risk everyday of their lives to catch fish and return in the evenings with the promise of a cooked meal. They collect shells and sell it to the artists who have found another way to create the sea memorabilia with aesthetics that only another creative soul could be enamoured with.

I bought the ring to wear on my finger and hold the conch that came out of that abyss. I realised that the sea is a part of each of us. I sat transfixed watching the waves rush towards the shore like an ardent lover towards the ever-shifting sands of time. It got moist with this constant back and forth of its union of foaming waves and it left little reminders of sea shells.

The sea is as mysterious as a woman who toils in her kitchen, office or the sea shores or the village market. Like the unending abyss you too can’t find her depth, even if you try to.

Accessories

Designs of Undivided Bengal

May 7, 2019
Moody Mo

As she walked into the train compartment. She saw the gaps in between the boogies. Mrinalini often wondered what would happen if the connecting iron chains would disentangle and the compartment would lose its chain of continuity. As she stared at the ugly black soot filled track below. She could see her life in those moments when it derailed from its original destination of familiarity.

Mornings in a train still remain her favourite hour to get to the steel wash basin and praying a bridge doesn’t come while she is washing her face. The water would spill all over her neat cotton dress. As she negotiated the timing of the shaking of the compartment and her clever manoeuvre of unnecessary wetness. She was woken from her unheard thoughts.

The same old man who kept watching her in the compartment came and stood close to the window. He smiled at her as she blew out the water. He told her that you must be like the train charting new territories and finding resting spots in between to see the changing sky colour and the changing landscape.

He said he was Amal. When Mrinalini told him her name. He said it was Tagore’s wife’s name. He told her of the huge Tagore household where Mrinalini lived forever pining for the love of her poet husband.

Mrinalini was only 12 years old when she was chosen to be the second wife in the illustrious Tagore household. She was not highly educated for the progressive Bengali aristocratic household yet she was a quick learner. Her intelligence was not noticed ever in the narrow shroud of her beauty.  Tagore’s Mrinalini after 15 years of marriage wrote her first letter to Tagore, her husband.

Now as the years have passed the train journey still remains etched in Mrinalini’s mind. She recalled the connection of Tagore’s women and her equal connection to all the beautiful things in her home, she was also one of those things.

Every time she watches a train from a distance what remains is the conversation between Amal and her. He held the strong iron handle as he alighted from the train and waved to her. She waved back to say goodbye. But the remnants of those piercing eyes into her own telling her the truth gets mixed with the loud banging of the tracks and her reality. It silences her yet the muffled scream remains.

As Mrinalini wore her kaan pasha which was the traditional undivided Bengal design, one of her favourites, the gold earring held the weight of Ma with her turbulent mutinies of finding herself in the cold hills of terror-stricken Shillong. There were no lockers those days. Ma had a traditional engraved wooden jewellery box. She kept most of her jewels in that box hidden below clothes in the cupboard. Mrinalini knew the hidden spot.

Ma looked beautiful with the kaan pasha in the flush of her youth. These traditional ear studs were part of the Shringar of a Bengali woman.

Mrinalini recalled Amal’s eyes. And she thought of her inherent nature of being free, fearless, quick of tongue and always ready to give back as good as she gets.

Mrinalini wore the kaan pasha and her bindi and she knew she could never be the domesticated woman most men seek. She would be crazy to most people, as long as she remained beautiful, eloquent and cerebral.

That is the fate of most of them. How would she be different? The kaan pasha covered most of her ear. But the shrill loud voice of reckoning, the jewellery couldn’t withhold.

Accessories

Yearning’s Of A greedy heart.

April 22, 2019
MoodyMo

Love me like no other will. Behold me like no other will. In my madness give me my sanity. When you see my undone hair, falling over my face and shoulders. Don’t push it back to see my wrinkles instead herald the sun-kissed shadows of shame on the years that have gone by. Those who have made me feel lesser for wanting more out of my life.

Yes, I was happy. When I caught you admire the gap between my breasts while I was bending to pick your thrown dirty sock over your used shoes on the side. I didn’t know you were admiring my still retained remains of youth and also your invisible iron chains around me. You knew my degrees were a mere conversation starter. Because the min I would get excited and get drawn to explain my passion for Wordsworth or Tagore. You would cut me short to explain about the next merger in the world of conglomerates and corporates. I would stop midway in my track and admire your intelligence. Felt proud that I was yours.

In the moments that would follow. You would lovingly gaze at me and ask me if I wanted another glass of wine. But it was an unspoken rule that I can’t get drunk on wine. Everything measured like your speech and my emotions.

MoodyMo

MoodyMo

The ladies around me came up to me and told me. He is so madly in love with you. I had learnt to fight my tear in the corner of my eyes. Because if it was love. How could you not let me finish my love for that mid sentence of Wordsworth. You knew most of my days were with the house help planning the next meal at home. My world was you. When the call from my best friend from New York came. I heard her with glee. She was the bureau head of NYTimes. But after I hung up I recalled the distinction I got in English and art.

I got into my big car silently and put on my headphones to listen to Farida Khanum sing “Aaj Jane ki Zid Nah Karo”. I felt a lump in my throat because I recalled the lost lanes of my youth. Where the sun was shining bright. My heart knew I would be a writer someday. It felt like a distant dream. I knew I must be gracious in accepting the big car, the servants, the large empty balcony and my everyday ritual of drinking tea in a china cup with organic leaves, brewed at the right temperature. But I yearned the kulhar chai with the passion of doing something in life and saying bye to my besties to meet again tomorrow. But I was not maybe gracious after all. To be happy with all the material possessions and yearn for more and more. More love, more art, more freedom.

MoodyMo

MoodyMo

I was touched by a poem of Mirza Ghalib that loosely translated as. There are so many desires in my heart, each desire a stab of pain. So much I desired in life yet so little…….

I wear the bracelet around my wrists and it says Haazaron Khwahishe Aisi….the rest of the Ghalib Nazm in my heart. I don’t say it out loud, lest others hear my cries of lament. I keep that nazm in my heart and smile at people around me. Because my secret is with me in my songs, poetry and my art. Till there is cinema, music, art and craft. I will strive to open the Pandora’s box searching for my alter ego in all of them.