In a previous blog post, I wrote about downsizing my junk jewelry collection a couple of months ago. To read about it, click here. Almost half a year later, I don’t feel like I would have done anything differently. I don’t feel any uglier because I am not wearing matching necklaces or earrings. On the contrary, it has made my outings and trips a tad more hassle-free. It has also compelled me to wear my valuable jewelry when I feel like being a little fancy- jewelry that I only saved for special occasions in the past.
To be honest, I feel that it is much more difficult to minimize valuable jewelry, which is what I am here to discuss today; but before we dive in, a little about Bangladeshi, or shall I say South-Asian culture.
Giving valuable jewelry of gold, silver, platinum or precious stones during weddings are customary in Bangladesh. It is a general practice for parents/in-laws to give the daughter/ daughter-in-law a set of valuable jewelry during her wedding. The ugly truth that everyone knows but no one says out loud is that the size and weight of the jewelry determines the financial status of each side. Bigger and heavier the jewelry presented to the bride, higher is the status of that family. To come to think of it, it’s actually an ingenious way to show off wealth. I am a witness of seeing elders of the family get up on stage under the pretense of taking pictures with the newlyweds, only to ask which set of jewelry was given by whom! (true story, I kid you not!)
In the fundamental level, it sounds like a nice gesture to give/receive jewelry sets from each side, I will give you that. However, these jewelry because of their very valuable, large and heavy nature, are hardly worn after the wedding. Maybe only a couple of times, when someone close in the family gets married, giving you the right to doll up as much as you can. At least that’s how it went for me.
As a Bangladeshi bride, I obviously have my share of those two set of jewelry, one from each set of parents; there are also the smaller sets that I have received as gifts from my close family members. What can I say, I became a very rich girl for getting married!
In my five years of marriage, I probably wore the two large sets a total of five times. I wore some of the smaller ones repeatedly in parties and there were others that were left untouched. Now, giving away or even thinking about selling/exchanging any of those jewelry, especially the two large ones, is extremely frowned upon in the culture that I come from. It’s like although they are technically yours, you can not make a decision about them. Even if you don’t wear them, they are your wedding jewelry and so they have to remain with you forever. *rolling eyes*
However, with such cultural practices and mindsets embedded in our society, I am extremely lucky to have a mother and a mother-in-law who support me in whatever I do. I still remember the day when I hesitantly asked my mother-in-law whether I could exchange the set she gave me for something else. To my absolute delight, her answer was “Let’s go tomorrow and see what the store have!”.
In the end, I didn’t exchange the jewelry then (they didn’t have anything nice in the store after all) but sold the bangles that never fitted my skinny hands. I eventually also sold small sets that I didn’t wear at all. I gave away some to my cousins too. When I decided to move here, that’s when I finally let go of one of the large set. Needless to say, I got a lot of resistance from my aunts when they heard about my decision and a few were surprised to hear that my mother-in-law was on board with it 🙂
I love the ones that I have now. However, since I have moved to a different country and culture altogether, I might have to re-evaluate my decision. If I am not wearing them, there is probably no reason to hold on to them. I left them with my mother and have decided to revisit my decision a year from now.
I have also instructed my wedding attires to be given away to anyone in need. It’s been five years and I have worn them only two or three times altogether after my wedding festivities. Those dresses aren’t getting any newer in my closets back home, but it just might make a girl on her big day a tad bit happier.
Just like any other person, my wedding , although dotted with mishaps (which I might share on the blog someday), is one of the most important and memorable event of my life; but those memories- of dance rehearsals and week-long celebrations at home, of my husband offering his hand to take me out of a palki in our holud, of my brother and sister-in-law’s dance performance, of my parents walking me to the stage, of wearing my mother’s wedding dupatta during my nikaah– they do not lie in my attires and jewelry. They lie within me and will be there, always and forever. I do not need any material objects to relive those beautiful memories and honestly, neither does anyone. 🙂
We just somehow convinced ourselves we did.
Thank you for reading ❤
TITLE: My Wedding Day
LOCATION: Dhaka, Bangladesh