Fiction Fragment: On Earrings and Mothers

This occasion, it calls for the diamond studs. She usually wears earrings that slide down the piercing in the earlobe with minimum work. They don’t fall off. Don’t have tiny parts that need to be held delicately with nimble fingers. As a child she wore tiny studs. When they had to be removed or another pair was to be worn, her mother would sit her on the bed and do the needful. Her mother was of the stern and stubborn opinion that earrings should be worn only while sitting on the bed. Even if the screw fell, it would fall right next to her, instead of rolling off and hiding under some desk.

She used to rebel in her teens, and try wearing the earrings standing up, claiming that her fingers wouldn’t lose the earring screw. But she often dropped them, and had to spend long periods of time, on her knees, waving her hand over the floor to see if they would detect the screw.

She fought with her mother all the time. Over what to wear. Over appearances. Her mother expressed her disapproval in a manner that wasn’t really open to discussion. If they were at a temple, her mother would assertively say “Little girls look so cute in their silk paavadai-sattais ((Paavadai-Sattai: Skirt-Blouse combo.)) and that pottu on their forehead makes them look even more lovely.”. She, in her jeans and tshirt couldn’t compete with the traditional loveliness. She would disagree and tell her mother that the girls looked over-dressed and uncomfortable.

Far away from home, she discovers that little girls do look cute in paavadai-sattais.

She takes a deep breath and prepares to wear her diamond studs. She sits on the bed. Struggling with the clockwise and anticlockwise motions of the screws, secure in the knowledge that even if they were to fall, they would be found easily. And wonders how she turned out so much like her mother.

This entry was posted in Poetry and Fiction and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Fiction Fragment: On Earrings and Mothers

  1. Shruthi says:

    *Looking over shoulder* Do you know me? This is my story! (Tge 1st, 2nd and 5th paragraphs at least!)


  2. dipali says:

    Heartbreaking. And lovely.


  3. megha says:

    I used to HATE the paavaadai-sattai. And then I grew up and realized how lovely it looked. Sigh.


  4. Lalita says:

    Sheesh, when did you become clairvoyant? I was going to write about mothers shrilling ‘sit down, sit down’ as we traded earrings and studs, sigh. I still lose the back screws and end up on all fours searching for them; with my glasses on, with a torch even, deep sigh.

    I hated being dressed in uniform paavaadai-settai, and don’t let me get started on hand-me-downs. Deeper sigh.


  5. guruprasad says:

    i don’t know if there is an ear-ring equivalent for guys?

    i can see my wife tearing her hair out in frustration while trying to deal with our daughter (who’s all of 3.5 yrs) and is convinced that she is getting a taste of the hell she had given her own mother! and she says that if her own past is any indicator, then she has no hope of being spared for a long time. at least not until she gets married or leaves home to live by herself 🙂

    circle of life?


  6. Vi says:

    I still have a lot of my pavadai-sattais from when I was younger. The ones that had the extra hidden fabric underneath have been extended and converted into dhavanis. Wearing that is somewhat of a once-in-a-millennium event, but it comforts me to know it’s there. 🙂


  7. Vivek says:

    Though I am a boy, and hence have never had to face such a situation as your protagonist, but the tale is still most endearing and heart-warming. I really have enjoyed reading the piece, and have forwarded the same to as many of my friends as possible.


  8. shoefiend says:

    you forgot the buttons! 🙂