I have a huge respect for beauty queens. Apart from the fact that they look gorgeous, it’s their confidence & presence of mind that I most admire. Always had a starry eyed fascination for the beauties, but the new found respect for them, I gained it after having to ‘sashay in their stilettos’ in one of the beauty pageants, an Army organised one.
For your knowledge, an Army wife is required to have more qualities than any Indian mother-in-law would ever want in her daughter-in-law, in fact more than Rajni in ‘Bahu humari Rajnikanth’. Along with being the ideal wife, mother, daughter-in-law, home maker, hostess, entrepreneur… we are required to walk the ramp too. So in the year of 2006 amidst trying to strike a balance in life, there I was being trained to compete for the Strike Queen Crown, an affair no way less grand than Miss World. The training lasted for nearly a month; how to walk (visualising there are mines on both sides helped), how to talk (all those flowery talks to get into the good books of the mom-in-law helped), what & what not to eat (imagining all those malnourished & starving kids helped), what to wear (my trademark dosa sized bindi helped narrow it down to a saree) & some. I would like to say that I came out with flying colours & won the crown, but sadly that’s not what happened. When it came to what to say, the answer to that final question simply but resolutely refused to fly out of my mouth. In fact even flies refused to make any buzzing sound, although I stood there transfixed with my mouth wide open like a fly catcher for a shameful amount of time. To cut the long humiliating story short… I finally overcame my stage fright & must have mumbled something right, because I ended up bagging the second runner up sash & crown.
That was years ago. Now after years of kids, thyroid, epileptic fits, hyper acidity & many lifestyle diseases… winning the crown seems to be impossible, but I can for sure answer questions with more insight & wisdom. You don’t believe it? Come on then ask me the most frequently asked question in a beauty contest – ‘if you had the power, what is the one thing you would like to change in our country??’
Pat would come the answer… Our ‘Education system’. What use is education if it does not make our & others lives happier & more meaningful?? Although our genes decide our basic nature, education is what moulds our character. After spending all those precious years of our childhood & youth inside the four walls of a classroom, one should emerge more positive, aware, spiritual, compassionate, unique, disciplined, tolerant, honest, confident, creative, peace loving, contented, nature bound, skilled… & totally in love with ourselves. But what the current education system gifts us is a bunch of life style diseases, depression, suicides, crimes, corruption, poverty, terrorism, global warming & much more. It’s not that I do not believe in the goodness of people, I do, in fact I pride myself on being a good human being. But if I don’t nourish & take care of my soul, I can feel the ‘not so good’ side of me emerging. That ‘nourishment’ & ‘feeding of values’ along with bookish knowledge is what schools are supposed to be providing – how to live and make a living. But unfortunately in India, the pure souls of children are getting malnourished & at the same time overburdened with all that rote learning & rat race, leaving them either in a rut or eternally ‘power & money’ hungry. Kal Yug is here to stay if we don’t change our current education system & lay stress on ‘learn more’ than to ‘earn more’. All that ‘mugged up’ degrees & diplomas we proudly hang on our necks, all in the name of a ‘better life’ will ultimately choke the ‘good life ‘ out of us. The only thing worth hanging on our necks, these days, are some statement neck pieces… & I will provide you with those. Take a look…
Saved some bamboo pieces from a North Eastern lamp shade and threaded them into this simple, yet elegant neck piece.
A ready made embroidered patch saved from an old suit and stitched on to a ‘bukram’ base sees the birth of this bib necklace.
A metal frame, painted golden, was made by a local blacksmith, to hold the picture of a Rajasthani queen. Strung along with some pieces from an old necklace make up this stunning piece of neck wear.
A quartet of ‘chillums‘, along with a trio of pom poms and some shells and beads make up this chilled out piece.
A Gujarati waistband, a favourite among Dandia revellers, reveals a different side to it as a statement mala.
A section from a broken hip band, stitched onto a thick cotton string and embellished with some beads makes this hep neck piece.
Different cloth pieces, stitched around a couple of old neck pieces and teamed up with the traditional ‘Taveez‘ (empty) to create this rustic looking two tiered neck piece.
Pasted a cut out Warli art piece on a Taveez. Covered the edges of the Taveez with quick drying terracotta clay. Further, stitched them onto a piece of braided cloth, along with a sapling pot and a pom pom, for this ethni-chic neck piece.
Got two loops welded onto the ends of a Dhokri art piece, attached it to a braided cloth string and added some brass ghungroos to make this classic piece.
Salvaged some terracotta pieces from a broken wind chime and attached them to this braided cloth string to make this awesome piece.
Created a cloth pipe and filled it with round beads, taking care to secure each bead at both ends to make them look like cloth beads. Attached a satin rose to give this neck piece a fine look.
Used an antique bun pin as the pendant for this gorgeous pearl mala.
For this fab choker, firstly made a stiff base using bukram. Attached an out dated necklace onto it…. As simple as that. You can attach old pieces of jewellery to make your own statement pieces.
A simple oxidised jewellery piece was attached to this Gujarati cloth piece to make this one of a kind Choker.
This colourful neck piece is made out of crochet buttons stitched together. Rudraksh beads were added to make it look spectacular.
Make them, wear them, look good & fight for the better good. Sound education will ensure a sound mind & an even sounder Nation. Sounds good ???