Browsing Category

Tradition

Bengali New Year, Indian culture, Own Life Story, Tradition

1426 In My Lunisolar Calendar

April 14, 2019
Moody Mo

It’s that time of the year again. When the roots come barging into my being. I never knew how it had such a stronghold in the essence of me being me.
Today is Poila Boisakh, the Bengali new year. To most others its ludicrous to celebrate new year in April. But to me it is a celebration of being with my quintessential Bengali parents and relatives who won’t stop discussing the freshness of a fish or the difference between the coveted Padma River Hilsa versus the Ganga Hilsa. We also talk about the latest films while lamenting the lost glory of Ray, Ghatak and the Sens.
As I sit among them we are transported into Calcutta. The shopkeepers today have started a new ledge book as the tram moves slowly through the April summer roads of my soul city. The Ganga flows unhindered towards an unknown gushing of new tidings. The lone rickshaw puller knows today is a bad day for business, because most are busy cooking and playing old Bengali songs.
I watch detached yet I know deep down how attached I am to being a Bengali. Speaking my language of love, eating my comfort food and arguing that businessmen don’t create a nation or society. It’s always the thinkers, poets, artists, musicians and academicians who bring in the new wave of thinking towards a progressive society. This is as Bengali as it gets today. Tomorrow I will be the cosmopolitan woman that I am…but tomorrow can wait.
Subho Poila Boisakh

Fashion Clothes, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Tradition

Saris Folded With An Unheard Prayer

April 10, 2019
MoodyMo

As I entered the dark dank space of my grandmother’s room, I opened the creaking window meshed and unmeshed with cobwebs shining in the soft supple sun rays. Those cobwebs seemed to smile whenever the light fell on them. It was like such a fine art of weaving by the spiders. That light at times gave the cobwebs such character that they shone with an inherent, incredible resilience that only my curious mind could fathom and unfathom its faithfulness or unfaithfulness towards this gift called life. That unlit room had a dark wood wardrobe. In that space of unheard prayers and heard cries was Dida’s grief and grit. I saw the saris kept unused for years now. I was guilty of not giving it the sun. Just like the greedy cobwebs who had taken it all, with its selfishness to live in the grind with grit calling it life. They were not independent and they grew with the love of the nurturing spider that was trying to create a home in the dark space around that home.  

A sari wardrobe meant the world to her. Her unspoken love drama that had separation, unrequited emotions that were wobbling like the sinking boat. Her boat needed to be moored. Her movements were at times shaky and sometimes firm. I saw her dreamboat when she touched the saris. They shook & also became still. Her saris were her refuge. She had matching blouses with her couture collection. Her fashion sensibility was like an ode to her vintage era. Blouses had puffed sleeves and lace. And her saris were worn with elan for her evening soirée with my Dadu, my grandfather and her much older husband. Her couture collection was a mix of Patolas, Jamdani, Benarasi and Tangail, Kantha and there were colours that were tasteful and elegant. When I opened that sari ki almirahs and its heavy wooden door, I could feel her presence around me. I remembered how I saw her change her wardrobe over the years. She wore subtle and bright weaves with the passage of time. Her weaves were a reflection of her mood for the day.

And then overnight, when grandfather passed away. She was just propelled to wear what tradition demanded of her. A frugal, bare white sari with a small border of black, blue or green. It couldn’t even dare to touch a pink, red was a crime. It would mean she was defying the entire identity of wearing her grief on her body. Her hands were shorn of the red & white bangles and all she allowed was thin gold bangles and no earrings or a necklace. My rebellions mind was restless. I told her I missed her red bindi and her beautiful saris draped around her happy hips. She told me her bountiful body was decaying. This is the cycle of nature. Now it was my turn to wear those colours and catch the rainbow on my flight to youth and abundance. She said to strive to be Poornima, Annapurna and Mohua all weaved together in one person. Poornima was the full moonlight teasing your lover, Annapurna was the bountiful paddy fields and Mohua had to grow unhindered and be intoxicated with life. I understood only in my later years.

Her words of wisdom. Her saris won’t be forlorn anymore. I will clean the debris away from the dark dank room and allow light into that wardrobe of life. As I celebrate another day of sun and shade into that space I call freedom. I wear her saris as a reminder of her life, happy, lonely and strikingly beautiful in her appearance. Like the full moon on a dark sky. The light shining and separating me from my past into my present. I hold Dida’s sari against my bosom & I know that a sari is a passing of the guard from one generation to another.  My pink Benarasi sari is one of them from her collections. The silk has become softer but it still holds its place in a crowd of branded svelte ladies. I can feel her essence all around me.

Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Tradition

Moments Of Epiphany

April 1, 2019
moodymo

As I looked out of the window, the strong iron bars that went crisscross over the mesh stopped me from forcing myself out of that boundary into the horizon. This had become home. I often sat and recalled the lost tunes of childhood, where it was an unending path ahead. I could manoeuvre into any hidden mountain creek and always found myself in a clear stream of reason & love. This probably is called growing up.

Growing up to understand that what we desire as we grow older may not always help us experience ourselves in an all-encompassing way. We forget those little spaces that need nourishment and nurturing. I had forgotten to nurture my early morning sitar Riyaz hour. It was meditative and my all-encompassing existence was in those ragas that gave me peace and familiarity. Ma had bought that sitar for me from her Provident Fund. She always dreamt big for me. I remember she bought the sitar from a music store in Darya Ganj in Delhi. Fixed my music lessons and monitored my progress like a hawk. She too woke up every morning at 5.00 am to hear me play. I never realised that she was living her dreams through me. Today, as I pen these thoughts I realise she has also passed her gift of words to me. She loves to write in Bengali. That evening, I stood against the mesh, holding on to the iron bars and like always thought for everyone, forgetting to think of myself.

I realised that over the years, I had placed my heart at the feet of all my family members. There were moments when I coiled to think that I did relish the thought of being far away from all this. This constant shout out for a home that needed attention. With ailing elders, the household was like a prison without visible walls. Those invisible walls were strengthened over time. There were times I felt I could fly out and feel the open air on my face. I pushed upwards to be hit on the head by the ceiling wall. It hit hard and I was awakened to the stupid thought. Like so many of us, who flutter inside the cage, unsure of whether our wings have the strength to take on the unknown skies. Skies that doesn’t promise you even weather. There will be torrential rains, drenching you in its fury, there will be a haunted moon, where you would bury your head in fear.

As I touched upon those thoughts. I could hear the pressure cooker whistleblowing downstairs in the kitchen. I knew one more whistle and the rice would be overcooked, then everyone would complain at home. I spoke to the skies and the iron cage. I spoke with compassion and told the clouds to come back again on another sunny day when I can leisurely talk to them. Ask them where they lived? Where they rested for the night. When rain takes baby steps does it cradle into its bosom? Does the cloud hold it or let it go? Maybe today isn’t the day for my answers. I know soon the householders would stop noticing and I would be able to continue my conversation freely with my friends, who roam freely in the skies.

The freedom that we all desire, covet and remain in its quest.

Accessories, Fashion Clothes, Gender, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Introduction, Lifestyle, Tradition

Try To Tie Me Down And Fail Forever

March 29, 2019
Moody Mo

The hand that rocks the cradle also rules the world. Women have balanced this multitasking job since time immemorial. I looked back at the muscular smiles that mocked my femininity. Telling me oh stop! It’s not easy for a girl like you to do what you are seeking out to do. I smiled like I did, remembering the cold blue night of my loneliness and knew that this fight will go a long way ahead in time. When we are allowed to express without our own also judging us or choking our voices with their opinions.

I found Ashwini Oza another soul just like me, expressing her creative energy with her jewellery brand Arnav. I loved the necklace she has created. Her inspiration was a tie. Which mostly men wear or tie down women in submission. I was hooked on to this style statement as I held the tie silver necklace with dye motifs and an owl pendant.

My mind was raging with the imagery of my mother praying every Thursday to Goddess Lakshmi whose carrier was the beautiful white owl.

Moody Mo

Moody Mo

I understood even religious texts uphold the fairer owl as auspicious, unlike the darker owl. Dark is demonic and dark isn’t considered attractive. So many years of subjugation. Women are guilty for being dark, infertile, free-spirited or not towing the line. It isn’t a pretty sight at all for the patriarchal rules of society, when women who dare to walk out of line, are condemned as crazy.

I wore my tie necklace over my bare shoulders and I knew the light from the coloured glass pane was reflecting on my collarbone. I was waiting to be admired. I realised how we seek validation of self from the eyes of another. Never delving within to seek the source of our strength.

I decided I won’t wear my tie necklace in front & as he came in. I pushed my tie necklace behind my back. I knew my spine felt the weight of the necklace fall carelessly behind me. I moved my hair to turn and look. He barely speaks much. He just sighed and said wow!

As I bend down to strap on my sandals. I saw him staring into my face and he looked straight towards me. I knew he was tied down forever. He won’t forget this evening. It was the falling of dusk and my conditioned patriarchal moral values. All created by human beings who are frightened, of the hand that rocks the cradle and also rules his world. He felt vulnerable and I was sure, I wasn’t getting tied down ever again with the weight of his expectations from me. 

Accessories, Fashion Clothes, Gender, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Introduction, Lifestyle, Own Life Story, Tradition, Travel

The Lost Land Of Afghanistan That I Found in Rome

March 22, 2019
Moody Mo

Flea markets world over has been my never-to-miss spot. As usual once in Rome I tried to follow the adage – be a Roman in Rome. I got my gladiator sandals out and decided to look for Al Capone on the streets. I found many with noses that could hold a hanger with my freshly ironed robes. And was amused at the confidence levels with which they charm the panties of a celibate. The Romans are loud, emotional, proud people with a daunting history that takes you back into time. The architecture lying in ruins throughout Rome reminds you of the history books you have read as a child. The paintings and the sculptures breathing life into their stone eyes and structure keep me spellbound for more.

Opposite the river bank on a Sunday noon, are tired and hopeful shopkeepers selling art, jewellery and pasta stalls. In the midst of all this, I find the city filled with migrant labourers from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and many more places. Selling their wares with the hope of earning a good future for their families. I always find myself drawn to people whose eyes have stories. As I navigate my path into the Flea market below a long winding staircase, I am reminded of the absolute genius of this country and it’s Neo-Realism films that have inspired so many artists. I am reminded of the genius of Vittoria Di Sica’s Bicycle Thieves and the many more films that have made me weep for the protagonists.

In this flush of weeping and awe of the city and its history, in a corner, I found an open stall with the most exquisite Afghani jewellery. The shop owner was a tall, burly man with a complexion that has traces of his Afghani Roots. His eyes are proud and he is selling not because he likes to sell but has to feed himself and his family. I find myself lost in his beautiful, intricate, stone inlay traditional jewellery. It is made up of German Silver and glass with enamel inlay floral designs.

He tells me his name is Ahmed and he is a Kuchi nomad. They are the nomads from the Ghilji tribal confederacy, the largest tribe called the Pashtuns from Afghanistan. He said the poorer families wear these silver pieces because the more exorbitant things are used for the Nikkah (marriage) and those are also made with floral and crescent moon designs.

Ahmed sold me his choice of jewellery and I couldn’t say no to his gaze of hope. He said it looked beautiful on me. Rome had taught Ahmed to be a Roman in Rome. Effortlessly flirting with women who thronged his space in the flea market.

I wear my Afghan tribal jewellery with much pride. It speaks of the resilience of the nomads who are not bound by chains of settling down. I can’t help but smile at the irony of life, we the settlers who are always unsettled in our hearts. Searching for the elusive spot of sunshine and security. Unlike the nomads, they live one day at a time.

The crescent moon on my necklace is one step away from its fullness. The tiny silver on its edge is illuminated by the glass pieces reflecting the sun rays. I imagine a bride in the finery of her Afghani resplendence saying “Kubool hai, Kubool hai” even if her heart says no. I had to have Ahmed’s story on my neck.

Accessories, Fashion Clothes, Indian Fashion, Lifestyle, Own Life Story, Tradition

A Classic Called The Angarakha

March 18, 2019
Moody Mo

When you feel vulnerable and think that you may lose your soul to this crazy thing called life. You protect yourself by listening to music that heals, or you indulge yourself till the thoughts are dimmed and what stays is the feeling that the universe is protecting you with compassion. As I listened to music, I tightened my Angarakha strings over my breasts, protecting my heart from more pain. The pain which I wish to forget and not go down that road again.  I have always been fascinated with the clothing from the Mughal era. It has the Ishq of a bygone era of opulence and craft. One such clothing is the Angaraksha also called the Angarakha, the other name is Jama.

The word is derived from the Sanskrit word “Angarakhsaka” which means protection of the body. It has over the years seen many variations on the ramp. The long and short of this shirt dates back to the 16th century Emperor Akbar. The first King who had the vision of uniting India on religion and culture. His clothes were a reflection of both the rich cultures, in the fusion of Indian dressing.

I recall falling in love with this garment since my school days. Watching Merchant Ivory’s Heat And Dust, and the white cotton unisex Angarakhas. It falls over your body, hugging the contours. You may loosen or tighten it based on the mood of the moment.

I recall the time I wore my first Chikankari Angarakha for my first date. I remember how he stared at my first flush of youth. Covered from prying eyes, yet revealed exactly what promise lay inside. A girl child blooming into a woman. He too was young, unsure of his ability to love and be confident of self.

An Angarakha to me is one of the sexiest garment created since time immemorial. It covers yet it reveals, exactly how style should be. It is an amalgamation of our experiences, of finding our own divinity among all the beautiful and ugly experiences we have gathered over the years. We are gatherers of stories, of our own lives and others experiences who visit this space in our lifetime.

Sonam Dubal captures my imagination of the fluidity of this garment in its totality.  I am drawn to his aesthetic as a designer. Drawing my experiences from the past to the present me. The little mirror work on the edges catches the light of the sun and reflects in my heart and soul.

Fashion Clothes, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Introduction, Tradition

Desires Cut Into The Fabric Of Love

March 14, 2019
Moody Mo

My love for good things began very early on. To the utter horror of my middle-class parents, they were worried I wouldn’t ever settle for the mediocre. A factory outfit never made me feel my best, it had to be a bespoke outfit. After much thought and pondering would my tailor add the Kutch mirror work patch or the lace to give my mundane outfit its edge, and make it my statement. The aim was always adding an Indian sensibility over my denim or the check-patterned Kilt.

With this undying need to be always surrounded by beautiful things, it surely was a constant struggle with my limited income. I had that discerning eye for all good things, including my male friends. I wasn’t exactly generous at that choice, but he needed to have more than just good looks to keep my interest going. Most times, I was disappointed so I decided to put my energy into clothing that saluted an art form of India. As usual, most things had to be a cut above the rest. Being raised as a Bengali in Delhi, you are forever struggling between the two identities that you can’t fathom when which one takes over. The constant struggle of being a quintessential Bengali with the cacophony of the Peacock Punjabi. It surely was a sure shot path to schizophrenia. But my love for Rajasthan and it’s arts and crafts is a constant. Till date, it remains a passion that needs regular acknowledgement. Every week four times at least, I wear a Bandhini or a Sanganer print over my jeans, that size hasn’t remained constant. I recall the small store in the early days of fashion-hungry Bangalore at Commercial Street which had RJP, Rohit Bal, Anita Dongre and few more well-known designers. RJP always stole my heart with his fine cotton and minimalist design sensibility.

RJP is famous for his pintuck kurtas and remarkable indigos. I had to attend an elite function at Bombay; a very important second wedding of a friend. I had to look the part, so I choose this black cutwork kurta over a white crinkled skirt to wear for one of the evenings. It was my first Rajesh Pratap Singh ensemble. Cutwork is typically a technique where you cut the fabric, resulting in holes, which is reinforced with embroidery or needle lace. It originates in Italy and is called Punto Tagliato. Renaissance was the period of new things and cutwork began in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. And even in the fashion world of today, cutwork is very much prevalent and is also called lace. The hand cutwork is one of the most traditional forms of this art.

As a child, I still recall the sari petticoats that were dried in the sun with cutwork on its edges. Our home linen had cutwork on them. So cutwork was a natural draw to my senses. Senses that were carved from nostalgia and memory. RJP cutwork kurta makes me feel sensual without baring much. The arms on one side have the cutwork that reaches up to my shoulder blades. It fits like a dream and black makes me feel sexy, desirable and shapely. In spite of the PMS bingeing, black is so forgiving. Just like how a gentleman should be. Most women over time stop listening to the voice of their bodies and the need to be cherished. Just as we are flawed or perfect. Because beauty is a factory idea, created by the advertising lobby. Real women have fat and bad moods.

Like great love stories where there is passion, romance and my favourite word called Ishq.RJP with his signature pintuck kurtas and this cutwork design makes me crave for the moonlight on my shoulder blades and my lover finding spaces to kiss away my loneliness between the neatly cut fabric. Exposing just that much and more.

 

 

 

Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Introduction, Lifestyle, Own Life Story, Tradition

Firdaus Is Omnipresent

February 26, 2019
Firdaus

The sound of the marching boots and the incessant screams of the tribals fighting for their land reverberated into the stillness of the chilly evenings. Evening fell early on those eerie mountains and the morning sun broke through the dark clouds very early. It was the night of 25th December 1982 that I recall clearly. A bunch of Khasi men trying to enter the compound of my home and attempting to light up the meter box. I stood stricken as Ma held on to the boti that she used to cut her fish, instructing me to be brave.
“They are cowards, we have no fear”, said Ma to console me.

My young mind knew she was lying because her frail body was shivering. I understood that to face fear you need to lose fear. The Khasis were opening the meter box and screaming Dokhar, Dokhar! And just like the Gods above were deciding we needed to live longer, the CRPF marched close above our heads and the insurgents ran as fast as lighting into the bamboo forests opposite our home. We just kissed death and stood holding on to each other like a boulder withstanding the raging seas.

Truth be told, the mountain people were a peaceful lot. Till the Bangladeshi refugees starting infiltrating into the crevices of the hill. They were insecure about this new phenomenon and one day they decided to take the law into their hands and finish the evil from its roots. They caught every Bengali on the dark streets and punched them till they bled uncontrollably.

The Centre was cut off from this part of India. They didn’t understand the differences between the various tribes and their culture. The Centre intervened by sending the CRPF force with a shoot at sight order.

My school was suddenly shut and the grey-white building looked like a forlorn ghost waiting to be lit again. I didn’t miss school much as I disliked the discrimination against the Bengali students which the nuns too practised those days. The Khasis hated the Bengalis like plague. And I was their easiest target because Baba didn’t stay and I was just suddenly made aware of this reality. In spite of the matrilineal society structure, I felt aware of being a girl in the Khasi land.

The men made lewd gestures but didn’t ever touch. They said mean things about Ma but they never physically harmed any woman. The men were targeted to be butchered.

Just as the CRPF walked past, I saw Ma call a jawan & in her impeccable Delhi Hindi, she told him, that she lived alone with her little girl. She wanted to give them water to drink every time they were tired of marching. They agreed readily because water in the hills is difficult to get and arduous to carry. I saw her carry a bucket with a glass on the side and keeping it outside our gate. I knew she was smarter than the Khasis and the CRPF forces. She gave them deluge in her demure way and protected her daughter and herself from being burnt alive in that wooden home. I learnt the word jugad that day at a tender age of 10.

The CRPF became first name acquaintances. I knew she was putting her best foot forward to keep them happy. They were gullible to affection. She didn’t voice her truth to me, but I I could see her, much more than others did. Her shared sorrow of loneliness, survival and cunning was all visible to me. As she negotiated life, insurgents, army and her patriarchal surroundings of judgement. She still wore her hair in a neat bun and her crisp cotton sari. I realised she was not the one who would ever give up on life and living.

As I take out my red sari, I remember how in that environment of hate, Ma gave me this red sari and said every time you feel lesser, wear your sari and your courage like an embellishment from the Universe above. Once the sheen of courage reaches your eyes, the wrinkles fade, the grey ceases to matter and what remains is your grace and gratitude of your life experiences.

I call this Firdaus which means paradise.

May each of us finds “Firdaus” in the mundane and the marvellous.

Accessories, Indian culture, Indian Fashion, Tradition, Travel

The Opulence of Sangeeta Boochra’s Creations

February 13, 2019

Invaders since history have plundered and destroyed in a macho need to establish their identity. And while establishing identity of their separate culture they also have left footprints of their rich art and traditions. We witness the magic of resilience of the plundered citizens as they wipe away the fear, the devastation and yet retain the beauty of the raped remnants.

Mughal Era in our country saw the exodus of the art forms in clothing, architecture and art. Their opulent craftsmanship was introduced into the jewellery of the invaded Rajput Kings and Queens. Here you see the passing of guard where the creators were the subjugated common artisans. So many years have passed but the indelible mark of this vintage art is still coveted among the connoisseurs of jewellery wearers and makers from the region of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.

Who could forget the simmering passion between Akbar and his Rajput Queen Jodha! She embodied the Mughal jewellery all over her persona making her beautifully broken yet resurrected with his love and her eventual surrender to Akbar.

Sangeeta Boochra’s brand is also an ode to the art of the Mughal Era. The multiple silver chain necklace settles on my heart chakra and I am reminded of this confluence of love with labour of the international Amazonite gem stones found in the rain-forest of Brazil, decorated with silver intricate motif flowers. The clasp is an influence from the tribal jewellery style of Rajasthan. As I wear this necklace I realise, we all grow up together, homogeneously with the gift from the rain-forests natural abundance of gemstones and the flower motif which represents the Hindu obeisance to the Goddess in you and me. The seamless sewing of different cultures into one common tapestry of art and craft leaves one amazed. The jewellery is her personal story of this diversity and of our common shared world culture.

Women adorning jewellery rich in art and craftsmanship will always be the point of attention among other women who gather and gossip in social get together. And the wearers eyes will betray the self love of indulgence as she wears this piece of conversation-starter jewellery, created by the artisans from the rich Shekhawati region of Rajasthan.

What kept me intrigued was the story of this young bride who entered the Boochra household. They were jewellery makers since many years. It took her enterprising father-in-law to notice her curious eyes and he knew he had found his art inheritance. He encouraged his young “Bahu” to step out of the kitchen confines and enter the world of male-dominated industry of jewellery designing. Sangeeta found her artistic anchor in her new found passion of jewellery making. Today, the brand boasts of celebrities and Heads of States who have adorned her creations. As you hear her story, you believe that a father-in-law can also be a mentor and it takes a real father figure to do that. Sangeeta remains eternally grateful for this inheritance of art and business.

Just as they would say in the Shekhawati dialect, “Ma Thane Ghano samman Desyu” which translates to“I give you great respect” for restoring the magnificence of the royalty and making it available for all of us.

Re-emergence is refreshingly soulful in this Mughal inspired necklace. I could have more and more of Sangeeta Boochra in my collections.

 

#Mughalart #Jewellery #designer #SangeetaBoochra #Indianjewellery #silverneckpiece #tradition #Rajasthan #shekhawati #royaljewellery

Accessories, Indian Fashion, Tradition

The Lull On The Tranquil Dal Lake

January 28, 2019

Once you travel to J&K in India, you know there cannot be a more humbling experience than standing against those mighty pine trees. You look up to the mountains and realise you are a mere speck in the grand scheme of things of the Universe. I am dumbfounded as I realise all the hurt and the prejudices I have nurtured is actually stupid and inconsequential. Mountains teach us resilience, and as most poets and writers have quoted “if there is paradise on earth, it is here”.

Kashmiri cuisine, the shawls and the pheran are popular among the winter wardrobe fashion diktat of North India. The beauty of the Kashmiri women is known and celebrated all over. They are divided into the Pandits and the Muslims. You recognise a married Pandit woman with the Dejhoor in her ears. It’s is a beautiful gold earring that hangs delicately on her neck with a gold chain. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of jewellery that is worn by the Kashmiri Pandit women.

I navigated my way through the valley of Kashmir and was spellbound with the untouched beauty of the state. Naturally well-built men and women smile at you. Their porcelain complexion with blushed cheeks is a clear indication of the unpolluted air and water of the Dal Lake. This was the time when the Pandits and the Muslims lived peacefully in the valley. The evenings saw an exchange of Kahwa between neighbours, singing songs of the poetry of Kashmir and the flowers of the valley. But whoever says anything is permanent. The valley renewing its shaky history of wanting to be free from India. The once peace-loving Kashmiri was scared of her own neighbour. The tea shared with Muslim neighbours started to change to hatred. Slowly, the Pandits started leaving the valley. They left their homes, their pride and belongings. Looking back seemed daunting. And the once peaceful valley resonated with gunshots and Pakistani flags being hoisted from buildings. The curfew, gunshots, dead bodies of young men were the norm. Media was abuzz with crying mothers, wives and children over the death of their loved ones. Those rosy cheeks were covered in tears. Delhi saw an exodus, once again, with the Kashmiri Pandits fleeing their home state into the makeshift refugee camps.

I accompanied my Kashmiri friend into the refugee camps with blankets. The exodus of people having lost their humanity and living as rats huddled together in those camps. I tried hard to swallow my tears, but it wouldn’t stop. I still recall a pregnant woman with the Dejhoor in her ears wanting to tear it off.  She wished she never returned to the valley to get married to the man her parents had chosen for her. She was living in London and returned to this future. I had no words for her pain of having lost her freedom, her space and her ability to be free.

It has been years since I left Delhi and only a few years back found large homes in Pamposh Enclave where the Pandits were giving plots to restart all over again. I saw those homes and knew there was a pain in each of those bricks that had been used to build a life all over again.

I searched for the Dejhoor in silver and something that did not require me to pierce my cartilage to put it on. And voila at an exhibition I found the silver clip-on Dejhoor. I wasted no time in picking it up, then spoke to the designers who had created it. They reaffirmed it was a Kashmiri influence.

My silver Dejhoor signifies the collision of the mind and the heart. I can’t reach out to the lost young pregnant woman who wanted to tear her Dejhoor in those moments of despair. But, I know that all of us women are bound with beautiful adornments and sometimes we are prisoners of it. Yet we all seek freedom.

 

#Kashmir #traveldiaries #KashmiriPandits #Dejhoor  #traditionaljewellery #refugee #nature #DalLake #tranquil #beauty