Watching this red stone studded neli (a type of ring worn by married hindu women) glinting against my mom’s fingers, my eyes were hooked. Slipping it off hers and onto mine, I admired its old world beauty. For someone who doesn’t like to wear jewelry at least while asleep, I held on to it like a favorite well worn toy. Waking up, the first thing I did was to reassure myself it was still there – red stones and all.
All through today, I am so aware of it feeling heavy against my fingers. I pause what I do to spend a moment admiring this little nugget. I enjoy the feeling of wearing something that has been part of the family for a good many years. I wonder if years ago, my mom felt the same joy as she slipped this on her finger to match a red kanjivaram saree or on the rare occasions she got to dress up for some wedding, she slid this on as an afterthought.
I think of the ring as something that has a life of its own. It has seen the birth and death of many joys and sorrows in our family. Like all else, it is treasured and cherished.
Be it a ring or a heavy cast iron pan, I love coming into ownership of things owned by my mom or anyone of her generation. I love hearing stories behind how that particular item became part of our household. Of late, each trip home becomes a hunt for treasures lodged in crammed over filled cupboards and memories hiding in the folds of a saree wafting out with the smell of the moth balls.