Don’t want to pierce - so what? Part II

By: Tania Bhattacharyya

Don’t want to pierce - so what? Part II


Little Nandini did not want to have a second ear piercing. Little Sneha does not like that her ears are pierced. She does not like to wear her earrings.

In India we are still mostly clinging on to the age-old custom of the compulsion of piercing ears of little girls overlooking the pain, discomfort, medical troubles and fear associated with this. The complaints of pain and discomfort are-casually brushed aside in the typical insensitive style, `` Oh! It is nothing.”  What I have seen, very few Indian girls and ladies are still not aware of the option of clip-on earrings.

In dance functions, I wear clip-on earrings and perform with ease. My dance teachers have often raised eyebrows,” You don’t wear pierced earrings like us? Why?” They still are not acquainted with this option. But the reaction should certainly change.

In modern jewellery stores or on-line jewellery sites, clip-on and magnetic   silver, gold and diamond earrings are available. Such earrings can also be customised. Whenever I have gone to reputed jewellery shops in Kolkata, and asked for clip-on silver and gold earrings, the general answer has been, “No we don’t have it. Neither can we make it.”In this modern age this sounds so stupid. 

Even today, surprisingly, I am a wonder to most little Indian school girls. The innocent children often admire my earrings and regret that their ears have been pierced.

The mother of Nandini, a student of mine knew very well that I did not approve the idea of piercing ears at all. Nandini used to admire my clip-on earrings. She also wanted to wear such earrings. Her family was a very orthodox Bengali family, even though having a history of good education and foreign trips. It is not that her family members were unaware of the concept of clip-on earrings and the preference of the child.   Nandini had already pierced her ears. She had experienced infections and pain. One day the mother entered with her daughter, telling her,” Show Madam your second ear piercing.” The child’s face was very grim. Nandini had a serious ear infection after this, and her mother had to apply lot of medicines. The six year old child complained that for a dance performance celebrating Basanta Utsab, her mother forcibly pushed a big and heavy earring meant for adults through her tender ear-hole. It caused a lot of discomfort and the poor child could not enjoy her dance. Her protests did not create any impact on her mother and grandmother. Her complaints were always casually brushed aside by her insensitive Monster Mom.

Sneha, another little student of mine showed her push which had fallen off and was rusted. Her grandmother and mother were least concerned. Her mother spent most of her time in her office and her grandmother was addicted to watching television in high volume. The complaint of the little voice was of no importance. She has to apply medicine and wear pierced earrings, no matter what.

I have heard many Bengali girls and ladies describe themselves as “Kaan Kata”(Bengali:Kaan-Ear, Kata-cut/pierced).

In our society I have seen pierced ears become the cynosure of all eyes, and un-pierced ears the subject of ridicule and endless questioning.

There is a need to broaden the horizons of the mind. Narrow-mindedness and the tendency to encase one’s beliefs in a rigid container of stereotypes makes a culture stale and stagnant. I think that at least, the attitude should change.