Empowered Adornment | Episode 3 | Grandmothers

Posted by Anisha Parmar on

Baa, Nani, Dadi, Dadi Maa, Patti, Granny- We all have our significant names for what we called our grandmothers, I called mine London Baa (paternal grandmother) and Leicester Baa (maternal grandmother) based on where they lived and now these names remind me of a distinct memory of where I spent my weekends with my London Baa in Wembley and summer holidays with my Leicester Baa - The names transport me to their homes, the food they used to cook for me, chai time in the afternoon paired with ready salted walker's crisps and feeling close to them.
In Episode 3, I speak to Kiran and Krishna about gold jewellery pieces they inherited from their grandmothers (and grandfather's too). We speak about what these pieces mean to them, how they make them feel now that their grandmothers' are no longer here, and distinct memories of growing up with them; from visiting family jewellers and feeling like royalty ,to being mischievous around them and feeling close to them through the pieces they have and wear with pride.
Kiran starts off by telling us about a distinct pair of hoops she has from her nani that her nani always wore:
'..so because the hoops she has when she came from India were smaller pieces then and she worked when she came to the UK, so with the money that my nana used to give her and from her work. She's like, Oh my god, I need to pick the replica. But she got them just a tiny bit thicker. So I think we're not used to seeing these kind of pieces before. They're always so thin.'
"And I lost my nani to cancer that couldn't be cured. And I remember when she was in hospital. They moved her to a ward. She said don't take my gold, I don't care what they do. Don't take my earrings off. Because for her it felt feminine."
Kiran then goes on to tell me in such an animated way about going to the family jeweller with her Nani, to his home where he kept the special pieces;
 'I remember just going with my nani to our family jewellery, as this covert operation. And he was within walking distance.  And I just remember like, the stories of like going to somebody's house picking what we wanted. Just imagine you're like you're walking with your nani and when you're younger and like going in and knocking on the door and then they're opening all these boxes; we think we were the bee's knees, We were used to going to the jewellers from a young a ages, handling gold - we used to think were Elizabeth Tailor'
Krishna is then introduced where we speak about Bangles she's wears every day that were her paternal grandmother who had dementia later on in life and how through her work at a hospice today, she learning how she can better help other older people who suffer with the disease. Her's a snippet from the email she initially sent me to share her story with me:
'I'd love to share the story of my family heirloom with you. My Baa was born in Ranavav (Porbandar) and moved to Mombasa with my Bapuji and thereafter with their family their journey continued onto Peterborough where they settled. Her comforting presence is one of the most beautiful things I remember about my childhood.Seeing her family grow; with an abundance of grandchildren, there was always enough love to go round. I don't recall her ever raising her voice or telling any of us off, apart from when she told my Mum off for telling me off! - (the perks of being a grandchild) Sadly after my Bapuji's death, within years my Baa's dementia progressed and we lost her. My Mum was given her bangles and she immediately gave them to me. They've been on my wrist since I was 15. 
The comforting weight of them grounds me and reminds me of my sense of identity and the journey that the bangles have had and also reminds me of my personal journey and through my ups and downs, good, bad and ugly, the bangles have been a constant.Something I draw strength from through the power of love and blessings.'
When talking to Krishna you can really feel her experience with her Baa has shaped her career path today;
'Now when I deal with my patients and if the Hindi speaking or Urdu speaking I'm instantly reminded of my Baa and I'm thinking, don't be dismissive. Don't be curt. You might be the only person I've spoken to all day. Let them have their moment let them say what they need to say. Give them whatever help you can.'
In both Kiran and Krishna's stories although very different and unique in their own ways, they both lived with their grandparents from a really young age and were brought up with them around- the vividness of which they both speak of with distinct memories they have with them, shines in this episode with the jewellery pieces they inherited from them acting as reminder of that special bond.

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