Monday, August 09, 2010

The List That Tara Made

Last night Tara made a list in her notebook of the things she apparently 'needs'.


My favourite is really the 'charjrforthelaptop'. Foresight! Plus she needs not only a phone but also an iphone. And the AllOut (mosquito repelling thing) is very thoughtful too. The botl, spoons and forcs make me wonder if she is planning to move out (with herownbag), but perhaps its for her new office where she'll be putting up her 'officeboird', wearing pompoms and eating cheesebals. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Piercing Ears

I'm not sure why we hadn't pierced Tara's ears till now.

Conventional wisdom in India is that:
1. A girl HAS to have her ears pierced, so much so that she's barely a few months old and the piercing is done without any questions asked.
2. The younger they are - as in a few months old! - the less it hurts because the earlobe is thin and malleable. (Apparently the 'scientific' logic - you gotta love the way we justify weird traditions with the 'scientific' theories!)
3. It's a rite of passage amongst many Hindu communities from across India involving some token rituals, acknowledging the girl as a 'girl' in the household. (Other religious groups also do it, but I'm not sure how much of rituals accompany it.)

I think the real reasons are something more than that. It's a way of identifying girls from boys (helps when you're discriminating later, don't you think? ;<) , one of the initial ways of socializing a new born into their gender and also a way of asserting class and caste status with gold earrings. (That's the sociologist in me speaking.)

In my opinion though, the first reason is a bit sexist, the second reason isn't good enough and the third, well, it's really not my cup of tea. We wanted to wait until.... we weren't sure how long we would wait. S was of the opinion we should wait till she was 10 (without furnishing much logic to support that number), but was sure it shouldn't be now, as loopy earrings could ....get pulled if she was in a rough-and-tumble and cut her ears. :) . Really now. :). I was happy to go with that reasoning, although the ones that appealed to me more was: she should get her ears pierced if and when she wanted to. And maybe when she could look after herself more, and care for her ears on her own. So we smiled politely when people exclaimed and asked why she hadn't got her ears pierced, and thanked people who gifted her gold earrings, loops, studs, whatever and put them away in a cupboard. Six pairs have been lying inside holding their peace since (plus one that was used by S ;)).

She first asked about why she didn't have earrings last year having noted that all the girls around her did, but it ended there. But for the last few days, it's been on her mind. Finally she came to me a few days ago and asked if she could get her ears pierced. I informed her about the process etc. and told her to think about it. If she still wanted it, we could go ahead in the next few days. She came back to say, yes, she would still like to do it. And so we went.

Piercing ears these days is very different. My ears were pierced apparently when I was a year old or so by a local doctor who heated the tip of a needle to sterilize it, and plunged it through my earlobes. My mother had taken a packet of Gems with her and she popped them into my mouth as I bawled to distract me. S's ears were pierced in his teenage years I believe and I'm sure it had evolved from the hot-needle routine. But this was really cool. The guy at the jewellery shop (Pradeep Jewellers in Lokhandwala, in case anyone reading is interested) took out a bunch of studs we could choose from, fitted the one we chose (tiny flowers) into a sleek black and silver gun and punched one earlobe with a gentle squelch. Till now, Tara had been calm and cooperative, in fact, eager because (as I reminded her) it was her idea. But after the first earring was in, she began to bawl. It had hurt and she now did not want to do the other ear. I was almost resigned to taking her back with one earring done, when she agreed to do the other. And then it was done. Some more tears and clinging to me while I walked about with her, but also trying to catch herself in the mirror while she cried and simultaneously taking a look at the studs in her ears. :) I had promised to buy her a gift while negotiating for the second ear so I had to be true to it and promptly took her to a nearby shop to pick something. So it's done. The Ears Have Been Pierced. Those earrings in the cupboard can finally see the light of day. And while I'm not the ritualistic type, I thought this at least deserved some 'ritual', even if it's only a blog post.