Saturday, August 16, 2014

On my obsession with earrings

A friend recently told me she's never seen me wear the same pair of earrings twice. This seemed strange to me at first, because I have certain favourites that I repeat all the time, but also entirely possible once I thought about it, because I do have a needlessly enormous collection of earrings.

My mother claims she's never seen me without earrings - when I was born, they took me away to bathe me etc., but before bringing me back, they brought a tray of earrings that my mother was expected to choose a pair from in her groggy state, pierced my less than an hour old ears, and so the first time I was ever put in my mother's arms, I was wearing earrings.

Earrings were a source of great trauma during my childhood, because I had an allergy where if I wore certain kind of metals, my ears would get ghaav - and I have no idea how to say that in English - and start bleeding, etc. A lot of Betnovate and Soframycin has been applied to my ears over the years. My ears have also been pierced several times over the ears, because the ghaav would cause the holes to close and we would have to get them repierced. This is probably why when, during the high school and college years, all my friends were getting their second and third piercings, I was shaking my head and saying "never again".

My fascination for earrings began just before high school ended, though. My mother and I were going through her saris and jewelry to decide what I would wear to my school farewell, when she suddenly pulled out a box full of old dangling earrings (including Exhibit A - to the right here) that I had never seen before, and asked if I'd like to wear any of them.

Umm, yes? Hell yes.

I learned that this was her collection from her college days - bought from a certain shop in New Market Kolkata with whatever money she had left over from the tuitions she used to give. But finding those earrings meant I started my college years with a gorgeous collection, one that would only grow over the years. Dilli Haat, Silofer in GK-I, sundry trips to Jaipur, gifts from friends once my penchant was noticed - all these became sources of earrings.

My collection's rather eclectic too - I have the danglers with stones, in almost every colour so I can be matching-matching with whatever clothes I wear, the silver balis that go with everything else, and the smaller, supposedly more professional ones that I wear maybe once a month. I have short danglers, long danglers, medium danglers. The medium ones, in case you were wondering, are the most fun to wear because of the way they, well, dangle when you're shaking your head to music - and certain songs make this more fun than others (Beera from Raavan, for example).

Five years after my fascination for earrings started, Mamma and I went to Kolkata to celebrate my being done with grad school. On that trip, finally, she was able to locate the shop she used to buy her earrings from all those years ago. I walked out of that first visit to that shop flat broke - all my savings from the tuitions I gave during college were gone. And ever since, I've never gone to Kolkata without a visit to New Market and at least two new pairs of earrings.

Then, last year, when I was in London, my aunt, who used to be my mother's chief shopping partner, saw the earrings I wear and decided to give me her entire collection. She doesn't wear them anymore and was trying to downsize her house, my cousin has no interest in them, and they were too damn gorgeous for me to even pretend to be polite and say no. So my collection exploded again. And since I've found certain stores in Amreeka where the earrings are usually both gorgeous and somewhat affordable and extremely hard to resist, it only keeps growing.

Over the years, my earrings collection was distributed between chocolate boxes and pouches, categorized by colour, size, type, and how much I liked them (or didn't). When I left for Amreeka, the one packing exercise I took most seriously was deciding which earrings to bring with me and which to leave behind (I think I left 4-5 pairs, none of which I'd ever actually worn), and how to organize them.

Then, earlier this year, I finally caved and bought a earring organizing thingummy (Exhibit B - to the left here), only to realize when it arrived that it would accommodate only about half my collection. A second one was subsequently bought and put to use,and so now not only is my entire collection sorted beautifully, but I also have space for more.

Except that my friend's comments were followed by my new boss telling me this morning how I wear such different and lovely earrings. Which makes me think maybe I should cut down the buying any more part.


Farheen said...

What an absolutely fantastic collection. I am absolutely in love with the purple (or is it fuchsia pink?) and gold necklace!
I had the same problem as yours in my younger years. When I got my second piercing done the 'ghaav' was so bad it took months and lots of medicine to fix it.
So I avoided costume jewellery and even silver earrings for a long time. But then my bestie gave me some lovely earrings which she got from US and that got me started again.
My husband went to India year before last and he got me some very lovely earrings and necklaces from Delhi. I wish he had looked around in Kolkata also (which he visited too!). We just don't have the same kind of variety here. So I've made note and if I get a chance to visit Kolkata, I think I'm going to be spending all my savings on those earrings also. And saris too!

a traveller said...

Thank you! =) That necklace was a gift from a friend.

And definitely - if you ever end up going to Kolkata, you should totally go to this place!