Wednesday, May 20, 2020

She smiles and makes bangles with beads #travelogues of Arti Jain

Little Rann of Kutch, 2017
She smiles and makes bangles with beads.

Young, plucky and shrewd can also be used to describe this young Banjaran of Kutch. I met her in 2017 in Little Rann of Kutch. I didn't write her name down in a diary and my sieve memory is failing me to recall what she's called.

On my travels, commerce for clicks is a motto that works well for both the parties. I get to make a picture and the subject gets to sell her wares.

She agreed to get her picture taken when I asked on one condition: I had to buy bangles from her.

I was more than happy to oblige -- who could resist those charming eyes?

"Oh! I love your earrings--the ones you're wearing.." I blurted out, baring my greed and excitement to her while picking a few bangles.

Without blinking an eyelid, she removed her earrings and handed them to me.

"Here. You can buy them." she commanded with her twinkling eyes.

I was putty in her hands.

"You paid too much." someone in the group commented when I got back into the mini van.

"It's probably not even silver." she clarified my stupidity at buying something that expensive first thing in the morning and without any guarantee of authenticity of silver!

You see, we had just started the day. The Banjara women had spread their wares out on the porch outside the reception area of the place we had spent the night in Little Rann of Kutch.

I felt a twinge of regret at my over-excited nature but the earrings were so beautiful.

A couple of days later, I met a young jeweller in Bhuj and I showed him those earrings and asked him to check if they were silver or not.

He told me that they were but of course not pure silver.

"Did I get cheated?" I asked him.

He smiled and said, " Do you like them?"

"Yes. very much."

"Then you paid as much as you could afford for what you liked. Banjara make jewellery when they have enough money to buy silver. Then, in times of need or when they find a customer, they sell it. You are happy with your earrings and she's happy with the money she made. Simple." he made a matter of fact statement and smiled.

This young jeweller's name is Jay and he taught me a valuable lesson that day.

Banjara women wear a silver band that sits across their head and they hook their earrings from these bands, so the pair she sold me didn't have a post, just a hook.

I had to wait a year before Anu took me to her jewellery guy in Doha to get posts welded on to these earrings so I could wear them.
I love them. And every time I wear them, I think of her smile and her twinkling eyes.

12 comments:

  1. Hari OM
    There is intrinsic value and there is benefit value and there is heartfelt value. The latter appears to have been in operation that morning for you! The second applied to the lass. Win/win and Jay was able to help you see this.

    Adorable memory for which I thank you in the sharing. YAM xx

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    1. Thank you for your comment Yamini. I haven't seen value so clearly defined before. Your words gave me food for thought and I enjoyed that.
      Cheers. xx

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  2. He was right. I am wondering what the hook on the earring was like.

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    1. Kristin, it was like one end of a stubby clasp, curved at the end-- the kind you can use to hang the earring from a band or a nail, but wouldn't go through a piercing.

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  3. I have basically that conversation with myself at every flea market I attend and that is always where I end up...
    Does this make me smile? Then it's worth it.

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    1. You and I have that in common Jz.
      Love flea markets:)

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  4. Sometimes the money is for what the object is used for and sometimes it is for the happiness that it brings to us. I guess on both counts what you spent is not a waste nor you need to think you were cheated. If one were to think that way, we get cheated almost every day when we buy something or the other!

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    1. So true Pardeep. I guess, this feeling rears its head more when I know I am indulging:)

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  5. He's so right! Sometimes it's just so great to buy a beautiful object (who can resist to earrings?), even if you know it's not the absolute right price but still affordable. And it was worth it for the picture!

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  6. You should have put a picture of yours wearing them too. Id love to see you wearing them.

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    1. You know Sonia, I haven't worn any earrings for more than 2 months now!

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