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When All That Glitters Is Gold

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Rihana, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    When All That Glitters is Gold

    I was eight years old, dressed in my prettiest frock -- peacock blue with bootah print -- hair pulled back into two ponytails. We walked to the bus-stand, and after changing two buses and taking a rickshaw, we arrived at Shri Something Krishna goldsmith’s shop. Krishna ji was completing his morning prayers, incense sticks in his raised hands, as he walked by the God pictures on the wall. He placed the sticks under the biggest frame, settled down on the crisp white gaddi that extended wall to wall, and declared the day as begun.

    The patiently waiting workmen, seated on the floor, behind their work-desks, started their day, sparks flying as they crafted the gold into jewelry the women had ordered, largely using only hand tools and their eyes. In those days, little kids did not carry books to keep themselves occupied while adults completed hours long shopping. That made for many memories that are indelibly inscribed in my overall memory of childhood. In that visit or another one, I remember Krishna ji both enlightening and disappointing me when he explained how and why copper is mixed with gold. A “heart of gold” has never held the same meaning for me after that.

    Time flew and soon I was a twenty-something flush with money earned in an MNC, out on a mission to buy a gold ring for a newborn nephew. I was casually dressed as was the norm for MNC employees, riding pillion on my younger cousin’s motorbike who was wearing “home clothes.” By that time, ready-made gold jewelry was more in vogue and even the erstwhile disapproving old aunts and grandma approved of buying ready-made jewelry in some instances. We parked the motorcycle and shaan se (with pride) walked up to the entrance of MD Jewellers. Much to our chagrin, the liveried doorman -- wearing a turban, elaborate shoes, twirling moustache, laathi in hand -- looked straight past us and did not hold open the door for us. We obliged ourselves and entered the store, and the second-class treatment accompanied us inside. The salespeople simply ignored us and continued to chat among themselves. I staged a royal about-turn and we left in a huff. On the way home, my cousin, taking a back-street to avoid one-way, suddenly stopped the bike at a roadside florist and bought me an elaborate bouquet of pale pink roses. So, the MD Jewellers saga ended on a radiant note after all.

    The first experience of a major jewelry shopping without mom or an aunt along to advise was before our wedding. Two wedding rings, the lightest necklace for me and an exquisite, delicate mangalsutra that remains my favorite piece of jewelry. Would be patidev and I shopped reluctantly as neither was keen to spend money on gold but it was expected of us. Swanky stores. Prices displayed in dollars. We converted that to rupee in the mind more swiftly than the fastest computer of the time.

    Around the turn of the century, I visited a Tanishq store in India. Oh what an experience it was. So eye-opening to see how India had transformed. Alighting from a rented car, not worrying about finding parking, no liveried doorman (just a security guard wearing grey, and with a not-so-concealed weapon). Mr., I and our local chaperones (sent along to ensure we didn’t pay too much), walked through the metal detector. The plush carpet, the air conditioned room, the comfortable chairs, salesperson who were obviously well-trained to treat customers politely, wearing printed-silk sarees with neatly draped pallu’s, well-designed lighting. I didn’t spend much money but that experience has remained engraved in my mind as a pleasant memory to recall when indulging in tempered nostalgia.

    Someone recently forwarded me the video of a Tanishq ad, and the memories of the few times I have gone jewelry shopping played through my mind in chronological order. I have been trying to google the full name of the Something Krishna goldsmith store I visited when I was eight. So, what is your favorite jewelry shopping memory? Whom did you go with? What was the occasion? Do share. I would particularly love to read about the shop’s owner, ambiance, management, craftsmen and your general takeaway.
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  2. sindmani

    sindmani Platinum IL'ite

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    I went to a diamond jewellery shop with my in-laws and relatives for a forthcoming function of our close relative. I went for window shopping . The ambience made me exclaim with joy "wow"(in my mind). We saw the new jelllery items . It makes me happy to go to jewellery shop and see latest deign ornaments. Antique jewelleries and pearl sets are my favourite.
     
  3. Amulet

    Amulet Platinum IL'ite

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    Should not take NRI-men to shopping for gold or silk sarees. They haul all the unwanted, ill-fitting, odd/old clothes to India, with the goal to wear-and-toss.
    • They look awful in all the photos
    • They get stopped by the liveried door-man in most shops/malls
    My experience: Me and my local-minder (who translates, and minds-and-adjusts my behaviors) go in, and the trailing NRI gets stopped, and redirected. While I had thought he went to the lobby to read the Sunday-Hindu-paper, apparently he was taken for "the driver" and asked to go and wait in the car. He didn't get the insinuations, but simply took the directive, and went away:facepalm:. His "looks" were deemed a blight for the shopping floor,and he was ordered away. :facepalm:

    The foreign desi don't glitter as much.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  4. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    Some 30 years back ladies wearing kanchipuam sarees and adorning necklaces had a warm welcome.Now the condition is changed.Every one is accorded red carpet welcome.

    There are nearly 81 shops,( I actually counted) from T. Nagar Terminus to Panagal Park, inclusive of by lanes. Amidst soaring prices, all the shops are crowded. From the way you enquire, experienced salesmen would know whether you have come for actual shopping or window shopping. Some sales men would say openly" never, mind.We will show the jewellery.
    Some jewellers are very strict in maintaining the wastage charges.Some will put enhanced wastage charges and send to the floor manager who will just reduce the enhanced price much to the satisfaction of the customer.
    Whether you go alone, or with some good bargaining mami, irrespective of your outfits,we are cheated by all gold jewellers.
    The jewels marked 22 carets are actually 18-20 carets only.
    While buying gem studded jewels mostly we are paying for the gold equivalent to the weight of gems also.
    Wastage charges are too heavy.Even if you buy a ring for 4 gms, roughly you will be paying for nearly 5. 2 gms, that may amt to nearly 35% .Now a days people buy jewels mixed with golden threads,one gm jewellery and other fancy items.
    Jewellery shop is the place where we are knowingly cheated.
    Abrus precatorius, known commonly as jequirity bean, rosary pea, or crab-eye seed ,called kundumani in Tamil is used to weigh gold while using a weighing pan.

    It is surprising that all the seeds are very much uniform in in weight that is each seed weighs 0.109 gm.
    In those days many women used to lament that she did not have gold weighing even one kundumani.

    My Amma used to narrate a story about this in those days which I want to share.

    Once the gold wept bitterly complained to Brahma
    Brahma:-O Gold, you are respected as the most valuable in the entire globe.Why do you weep? is it because the goldsmiths hit you?
    Gold: Not at all;When gold smiths hit me ,I am transformed into gold plates which are used for making kavacham for Gods and Goddesses.I become part of the deity and I am also being worshipped.
    Brahma: Is it because they melt you?
    Gold: Not at all. I become more shining when I am melted.
    Brahma:Is it because you are made into long thin strings?
    Gold: No,not at all;To make malas out of rudrakshas, pearls and corals only thin strings are needed.

    Further to denote a person of very good character they use the word'He is a golden string'.So I am proud to be dragged into thin strings.

    Brahma:Then what is your problem-dear gold?
    Gold;-I am sad because I am made equal to an insignificant seed 'Kundumani'.While weighing they keep me on one side of the balance and on the other side keep the kundumani seeds( Kundumani-Abrus precatorius )on the other side.Can pure water be compared to drain water? Can diamond be compared with glass? When the goldsmiths see my weight equivalent to that of a low class seed, I feel much humiliated.I am unable to digest the fact,gold lamented.Brahma was puzzled.
    Casteism among metals too? Does Gold too have such superiority complex and upper caste feeling?
    Perhaps that is why ,just to wipe off the most superior feeling,Platinum has taken the upper most position.

    No one in the world is totally happy, not with standing the top position held.
    Does gold also possess human characteristics?
    jayasala 42
    தரம் தாழ்ந்த தங்கம் !
    --------------------------
    ஒரு முறை தங்கம் பிரம்மாவிடம் சென்று அழுது முறையிட்டது .
    பிரம்மா :உலகில் அனைவரும் உன்னை
    மதிக்கிறார்கள் .நீ எதனால் அழுகிறாய்?தட்டார் உன்னை
    சுத்தியால் தட்டுகிறார்கள் .அதனால்
    வருத்தமா ?
    தங்கம் :இல்லை.சுத்தியால் தட்டும்போது நான் தகடாக மாறுகிறேன். தகடு இறைவனுக்கு
    கவசமாக அளிக்கப்படுகிறது .நானே
    கடவுளாகத் துதிக்கப்படுகிறேன் .
    பிரம்மா :உன்னை உருக்குகிறார்களே
    அதனால் வருத்தமா ?
    தங்கம் :உருக்குவதனால் அதிகமாகப்
    பிரகாசிக்கிறேன் .அதனாலும் வருத்தமில்லை
    பிரம்மா:உன்னை மெல்லிய கம்பியாக
    இழுக்கிறார்களே.அதனால் அழுகிறாயா?
    தங்கம் :இல்லை.ருத்ராக்ஷம் துளசி மணி ,பவளம் ,முத்து முதலியவற்றை மாலையாகக் கட்டுவதற்கு கம்பி தானே
    வேண்டும் ?மேலும் நல்ல குணம் உடையவர்களைத் 'தங்கக் கம்பி' என்றுதானே பாராட்டுகிறார்கள்?கம்பியாக மாறுவதைப் பெருமையாகவே நினைக்கிறேன்.
    பிரம்மா :உனக்கு வேறு என்னதான் குறை?
    தங்கம்:என்னை ஒரு தாழ்ந்த பொருளுடன் ஒப்பிடுகிறார்களே.
    நல்ல நீருடன் சாக்கடை நீரை ஒப்பிடலாமா?வைரமும் கண்ணாடிக்
    கல்லும் சமமாகுமா?தட்டார் என்னை ஒரு தராசுத் தட்டிலும் ,மட்டமான
    குந்துமணியை இன்னொரு தட்டிலும்
    வைத்து எடை போடுகிறார்களே .அந்த அவமானத்தைத்தான் என்னால் தாங்கவே முடிய வில்லை .

    பிரம்மா அசந்து போய் விட்டார்.
     
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  5. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @Rihana

    What a coincidence! I had my first experience of buying a jewelry when I was 8 years old. There was no occasion but my mother wanted to make a necklace and a ring for herself. We went through the smallest of streets before we got there. A man who was wearing a Microscope like equipment in one of his eyes dropped it into one of the velvet cloth he had next to him. When I had a closer look, he had nicely built a tiny mud wall to keep fire logs inside. He had a hallow metal pipe looking like a flute and he kept blowing the fire to make it burn properly with one hand while another hand kept rotating the gold with a precision tool he had in another hand.

    My mother gave a drawing of the necklace and the ring that is shaped liked a crown to him. He asked whether my mother had any gold and she nodded her head affirmatively and carefully opened up a paper from her bag and gave it to him. He carefully looked at it and scrapped it a little bit to see whether it is pure gold. After confirming that it is gold, he quickly wrote in a piece of paper how many grams will be discounted or lost in remaking it into another fine jewelry. He gently asked both of us to come the next day. He explained that he needs to add 12 grams of gold in order to make the jewelry my mother asked. He explained 12 grams of gold will be charged at Rs 180 and making charges would be Rs 70.

    My mother being a very suspicious person told that she prefers to wait to get the gold ornaments made immediately. It took 3 hours for him to make the necklace and the crown-shaped ring. My mother carefully looked at the necklace and the ring before accepting it and handed over Rs 250 to him. When he smiled happily that is when I noticed that he had a lot of gold in the form of his teeth. I talked to myself that all discount on gold he buys are all inside his mouth.

    You have requested details about the shop’s owner, ambiance, management, craftsmen and your general takeaway. I did the best I could.

    Viswa
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  6. shravs3

    shravs3 IL Hall of Fame

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    wow. It would be so nice if the price is same today!
     
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  7. Srama

    Srama Finest Post Winner

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    Dear @Rihana ,

    I don't have to tell you that I like your style of writing, but I will! I like the way you write :) Loved your narration and your emotions, your observations from Krishna gold shop to the current day Tanishq!! Lovely narration. Since you ask, I tell this - I am not a big shop, buy gold person at all....but the last time I entered somewhat a big shop to buy some tiny earrings for my then 7 year old DD, all I remember is being seated forever as someone tried to show me some nose studs. Yes, nose studs - that's what I had asked for! I was not offended. Looking around the shop, I realize the value other customers bring - I am sure many shop owners think that local people are better spenders than NRIs, especially on gold - our family jeweler definitely says so! Anyways I was fascinated by what I was watching, the mind boggling array and the way trays appeared one after another, as one after another was put away. That particular day I think I have seen true joy on the face of one particular woman as she bought a big piece of jewelry and went out excitedly. Her face which made me feel 'is that how true joy looks like' is etched in my memory even as I type, today! Her pure child like joy was something that I truly cherished. I was truly pleased that someone could find that kind of joy!
     
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  8. Amulet

    Amulet Platinum IL'ite

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  9. shravs3

    shravs3 IL Hall of Fame

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  10. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Interesting, Rihana. I remember going to the goldsmith who sat at the corner of the road on Linking Road, Khar, with my grandpa. It looked something like today's cobbler's shop - a little shed. Times changed and goldsmiths vanished. Jewellery stores became the in-thing, but they were small and crowded. These days they are generally 2 floor affairs and not as crowded. It is quite easy to get the attention of their sales people.

    I am not in a position to say much about buying gold, because my mom seldom went to buy any. I did buy occasional little earrings upto 10 g after I started earning. It has been years since I stepped into one now. In fact I often wonder what to do with what my mom gave me. I am not a jewellery freak. I only wear a pair of little jhimkis to keep the ear holes patent. For occasions, I much prefer going for artificial or 1 gm gold these days. More variety, cheaper and easy to maintain (no fear of maids flicking them).

    Though I must say, this tendency of sales people to treat customers based on external appearance is rampant in every business. I remember an occasion when my sister and I went to Heathrow. I had gone to see her off and was planning a trip to India in December. I asked the Gulf Air representative how much a ticket cost. She turned to us and said "You will not be able to afford it!" :rage::rage::rage:
     

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