All these platinum day of love ads that come in magazines remind me of Sita; of her ring of love. She was colleague. Sita somehow did not seem to fit into the corporate office and the crowd that surrounded her. She came to office dressed in silk sarees and jewellery that reflected her ancient royal family. However, her sweet nature did not have even a small trace of either corporate stiffness or royal arrogance. She was sweet and friendly, often finding time to chat with everyone on the floor. She knew almost everyone in the office, their families and even their pets! At times, the more sophisticated ones around us made fun of her friendly nature.
She was quite friendly with me. One day she came to my cubicle for a casual chat. We were discussing that one topic of perennial interest to Malayali women - gold jewellery. She had a wonderful collection and always gave us tips on buying jewellery. For some reason, I noticed the chain that she was wearing and casually remarked that it did not resemble the traditional 'thali' or mangalsuthr. Then she told me, "I don't consider that important anymore and I don't wear one. I have reached a stage in life where I have to stop doing things to please people. I do not consider marriage the most important thing in my life right now. I have realised the futility of such symbolic stuff. After an early marriage and bringing up children and all that, I've had my share playing the home maker. Now, my career, my independence, and the work that I do are all as important to me as my family."
And then she showed me something wonderful. A ring - a heart set in gold. "Look at this. I made this ring few years back. I melted down two separate rings - one gifted by my grandmother and other by my mother. I melted those down and made this one. I wear this all the time, in memory of the two most remarkable women who have made me what I am today. Wearing this gives me strength. As a woman, this means a lot to me. They have helped me grow. They have helped me to think, to dream, and to be independent. Wearing this means a lot to me."
To say I was moved by her words would be an understatement. I thought it was beautiful. It is a wonderful thing, this sense of a whole line of women, who have borne you, fed you, brought you up, and empowered you.