Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bangle Sellers

In a country as vast and diverse as India, ornaments vary from region to region just as much as language and customs do. However, one ornament that is used widely all over India is the bangle – whether made of gold or glass, bangles are an inevitable part of a woman’s jewellery, especially during her wedding.


Bangles are considered auspicious, and at one time, it was considered inauspicious for a woman not to wear bangles. I remember my grandfather ruing the fact that I studied at a convent school and couldn’t wear jewellery to school, and that my hands were always bare! I was secretly pleased, because I hated ornaments of any kind! I still do, but over the years, I have developed an affinity for bangles – but only the ones made of glass... and I never take them off!  At one time, glass bangles could be found easily... and in various designs, but today, my options are limited. In Mumbai, all I get are decorative bangles, which look great for weddings or special occasions, but are no use for daily wear. Which is why, whenever I am travelling in smaller towns, I always keep my eyes peeled for bangle shops. Like this one at Ambejogai near Nanded.




Ambejogai houses an important temple of the goddess, which is probably the reason there were so many bangle shops there. I was spoilt for choice, and I eventually landed up at this one, which was the biggest in the area, and came back my hands full.... literally!



And then, there are these ‘mobile’ bangle shops... or bangle sellers, who carry delicate glass bangles in wicker baskets on their head, and go from house to house, not just selling the bangles, but also helping the customers wear them! In fact, it is quite a tradition to have the bangle seller fill your hand with bangles...as is done at weddings, and many other occasions. They have a great idea of what will suit you, help you pick the right size, and help you wear bangles which seem too small, fit just right.... and in an aside, it is actually better to wear glass bangles a size smaller, for then they don’t break as fast! It has been a long time since I saw any such door-to-door bangle sellers, but on this trip, I saw quite a few.. especially in buses, where it seemed a miracle that the bangles emerged intact even after the most lurching rides in buses packed to capacity! The only one I managed to click, however, was this one, whom I saw at Shegaon.



“Zara thaamb re, mala pallu theek karu de na” (wait for a moment. Let me arrange my pallu (end of the saree) properly ) was what the lady wearing the bangles told me, when I asked if I could click a photo. And then, she made me click more, till she was satisfied with how the photo turned out!


23 comments :

  1. I have the same affinity for earrings and nothing else! So I am also quite happy that the 'unfortunate' business is not so strong at least in the cities. :D

    Lovely pictures and what a bangle shop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I so completely agree, Mridula! at least we dont HAVE to wear all that is deemed auspicious!

      Delete
  2. Beautiful pictures. Yes now a days the bangle sellers are not to be seen in larger cities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks PNS! I guess they might be there in Mumbai too.. my maid sometimes comes with some beautiful bangles a man brings to her door..

      Delete
  3. The colours in Bangles and Bangle Shops are so uniquely Indian. I wonder if any other culture fetes its glass bangles so highly. I love the tinkle of these bangles, and I love the profusion of colours they come in. What a visual treat. Only draw back is in my hurry burry world it can scarcely be worn without breaking it, or scratching myself. I admire the women who wear them and do their daily chores. Thanks Anu, your unique ability to highlight common things that pass us by is really commendable

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sowmya.. I used to think that it was tough to wear them all the time, but its actually not all that difficult.. and since i hate changing ornaments to match what i wear, it works perfectly.. nothing like the colourful glass bangles!

      Delete
  4. Such wonderful pics.
    Bracelets have taken over!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Indrani! Yes, bracelets have indeed taken over... but the charm of wearing glass bangles which shine in the sun and make that tinkling noise is something else!

      Delete
  5. Wow look at those lovely bangles there. I loved all the captures and the last one nails it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice and colourful. Lovely clicks.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

    ReplyDelete
  7. Changli photo aahes :) The colorful bangles on display in our bazaars have always attracted me towards them :) Lovely captures :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Arti! that is exactly what she said :D i guess its the colour which makes our markets so interesting, dont u think?

      Delete
  8. Beautiful bangles. Though like you I hate wearing jewellery, I don't wear glass bangles since I only like admiring them on others' hands :) I remember wearing a colourless or skin coloured single glass bangle when I was younger -- to appease my mother. And now I wear a single thin gold bangle. No additions for any occasion, including weddings :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zephyr, that reminded me of a friend of mine in college. That was a time i hated wearing any ornaments at all, and my mom kept trying to get me to wear some, and then there was this girl in college who used to come all decked up.. simple clothes, but hands filled with glass bangles, not a hair out of place, flowers in her hair, a gold chain with pendant, anklets.. the works... and i used to wonder how she managed to carry it all off. and here i was, preferring to stay in a simple salwar kameez or a jeans and khadi kurta.. and no jewelry at all... i used to wear bangles only for occasions.. loved to wear bangles, rings and ankelts then, for just a while, though.. and when i got married, i had a huge collection of glass bangles to match every saree i had... and all i wore was a pair of ultra thin gold bangles which were completely invisible :D and then, came the valakappu, and i realised i never wanted to take the glass bangles off!!! with a kid it was tough, so i gave them up, but when samhith grew older, i decided i wanted them back, so out came all the old bangles, and since then, i have worn them constantly.. and this reply has gotten as long as a post!

      Delete
  9. Nice bangles, I bought bangles for my granddaughters when I was in India. I have been in India for 10 times yet. Greetings Dietmut

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a lovely and sweet post, Anu ! I love glass bangles, but just not on me :-D Thanks to my mother, I have a fairly large collection which I deign to wear whenever she nags me to much.

    Hint: I love silver bangles ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a delightful post! I adore glass bangles as well and am always willing to buy more of them (I have tonnes already). I'm even content to merely look at them, stacked up in shops and on carts, so your pictures are awesome. As a fellow Mumbaikar, I get sad as the sight of these stacked, colourful circles of joy, so ubiquitous in small Indian towns, is so rare in the city.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The glass bangles on looks trendy and stylish and the sudden pleasant voice of such bangles makes the women feel more elegant and graceful. Glass bangles are varied in different designs and styles that belong to the ages of all types of women from young to aged groups. Bangles are enormously in use by the women till the past centuries. In the recent time such bangles were uniquely known as Kangan by the women society.

    ReplyDelete
  13. There are so many bangle shops a lot of collection you can choose easily your matching dresses
    http://fashionartificialjewellery.blogspot.in/

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin