There is saying in the teaching community that goes like this “The more time you give students to complete their work, the less productive they get; so might as well give them a sharp deadline” Why? because they are going to do it only at the last possible moment. Of late, I have come to realise that this holds true for people in general and not just students. Case in point, this post which I was supposed to write a month back.
In January when I was knee deep in work, I got a message asking for an urgent set for a Gaye holud ceremony that was bright and colorful and to be shipped in less than a week’s time. I seldom take assignments with a very short lead time as managing the logistics of sourcing and shipping can be very stressful even if you can get the product done fast. But this time, I did.
The only way I could do it in the given time frame was by using premade ribbon flowers. We agreed to use colors like red, lemon yellow and green along with gold accents to match with a simple Daccai cotton saree – yellow with a green border. We brainstormed on a lot of different design ideas where the Pinterest board that I have on Bridal Flower jewellery came in quite handy. You can find the inspiration for this particular set here.
I was raised with the belief that if something goes off very smoothly or that it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t. So after making the first necklace, I got thinking – is it good? Is it wearable? Is it too bright? Is it too shiny? I have never seen anybody wear anything like it before (only seen ornaments created like this for deities) let alone make something like it. Panic! Panic!
I read up on traditional Bangla ornaments – their names, forms and usage. I read up on Gaye holud practices and traditions, the colors, materials and textured they used and what they meant.I read that, traditionally, not just the bride but also her attendants (friends) and close family also wear red, green, and yellow colors as they symbolize purity, sanctity, fertility, prosperity, piety and strength. During the wedding, A bengali bride wear ornaments like Cheek – Choker, Taira/Tikli – Forehead ornament, Ratnachur – Haath phool (slave bracelet), shakha-Paul baala- coral and counch shell bangles, and kaan pasha – ear studs or kaan bala – earrings (bangle for the ear).
Still I was left with a nagging doubt. I have only seen Bengali brides wear a tight forehead ornament (Taira- Tikle) and a Crown (mukut made of Sholapith) on the head and never a multi strand directional headpiece like what I made. On further research (and using a little bit of common sense) I figured out that this could have been the traditional style and the Taira could been a British influence as it is used to hold down the veil (orna) which is thin tulle, very different from the thick Odhnis that Brides of North and west India wear but similar to the veils of the 18th-19th century English women.
In between my research, I tried the pieces on to check for fit and for an impromptu selfie. Ok I did put on a little lipstick, eyeliner and draped my mother’s saree and took a few pics. I looked so different – like some yesteryear Maharani or Zamindarini that I started experimenting with the filters, wondering how I would look If I was dressed up like this 90, 60, or 40 years ago. I could imagine myself in a carved wooden haveli, all dressed up, waiting for an all important photographer to come take a portrait picture. Another five minutes of my life spent imagining myself as a princess and coming to the conclusion that the pieces indeed looked good.
Thus with all my fears put to rest, I completed the Gayeholud ribbon jewellery set. This set is made of gold gota and ribbon roses in red, yellow and green contains a long mala – necklace in tie up style, a beaded choker, round dangling disc earrings, armlets, head ornament and haath phool (slave bracelet and ring). The bride loved it and sent a message saying
“I can’t thank you enough.. You have built a relationship now and I will suggest all my friends to get their gaye holud jewelry from you. Thank you so much.”
Well if that isnt enough, I dont know what is! Overall it was a very fulfilling process to create a Gayeholud ribbon jewellery set and I must really thank Sowmya for trusting me and giving me this opportunity to be a part of her wedding. It gave me a chance to get out of my comfort zone and learn something new. It enriched me as a designer and as a person so thanks to her for that.
I hope you found it interesting