Tik tok, tik tok. Is there a time bomb waiting to explode inside my rib cage? Feels like the day of reckoning is finally upon me. Why do I feel the same feeling this time of the year when newspapers and television channels begin to bleed gold, your inbox gets clogged with jewellery ads, and WhatsApp groups flaunt outré designs to lure the womenfolk to gold shops?
Every year, when Akshaya Tritiya, the annual spring festival and the most auspicious day for Hindus to buy gold, knocked on the door, I would hang my head in shame unable to face wifey’s stares. She would walk around with a ‘naked neck’, signalling with her silence that a woman is incomplete without gold. She took pains to present herself as a mannequin waiting to be adorned in gold in a run-of-the-mill boutique.
In hindsight, I feel I had been cruel. All her sighs within the four walls of our home failed to move me. In real life, I do not detest the yellow metal. I love all its sheen and glam as long as they stayed glued to the mannequin’s body parts. I also do not trivialise the value locked up in the asset class. But the legend of Akshaya Tritiya failed to change my resolve cast in metal. It’s the case of myth versus logic.
She looked over my shoulder as I scanned a tonne of jewellery fliers slipped under the door. I could feel her cold breath on my neck.
“Only two days left,” she fired aimlessly.
“I know, I got a Google reminder.”
“Google reminder? What are you talking about?”
“The power bill. May 14 is the last date.”
“May 14 has another significance.”
“Shucks! I forgot about it.”
“True. Utility bills in Bangalore.”
“Anything else on the fourteenth?”
“Oh my, thanks for reminding me.”
“It’s Puja’s birthday.”
“Oh, your new GF. Was it a Google reminder, or a date etched in gold? Anything else on the fourteenth?”
“My sister has a hospital appointment for Covid vaccination. Need to arrange a car back home.”
“Your bills, your GF, your sis. Hey mister, you clearly suffer from selective amnesia.”
“You seem to be in a bad mood, darling.”
“Don’t you see the fliers staring you in the face?”
“Yeah, the models look so exotic in those intricate ornaments.”
“As if the ornaments wouldn’t make me one.”
“Some look prettier with ornaments; some look as good without. Where to place yourself is a matter of perception.”
“Don’t you see the date, May 14, written in gold on the fliers?”
“Why do you need a date to buy gold? Can’t we do it on May 13 or May 15?”
“Why do you celebrate Puja’s birthday on the fourteenth? Can’t you do it on the sixteenth? India celebrates Independence Day on August 15, not 16. And you know what’s special about December 9? The day I lost my independence. Our wedding day. By the way, are you sure you are going to buy me gold on the thirteenth or the fifteenth?”
Her eyes opened wide and shined like gold. There was a rainbow on her cheeks.
“Sorry, theoretically speaking.” The rainbow vanished behind a dark patch of clouds. “I had bought you enough gold in our prime days, Tritiya or Chataya.”
“What’s the point? You buy and you sell.”
“See, that’s the point. That’s why the business world calls it a safe haven. In Singapore, we bought for $18 and sold for $45.”
“My body is not a vault to keep your gold. I’m a woman made of dreams. Golden dreams, to be precise. Gold satiates my soul. It empowers women. It’s a confidence booster. Guys will never understand.”
“It doesn’t need a date, darling.”
“It’s a matter of belief. The word Akshaya means endless. This day is auspicious in the sense that it brings never-ending happiness, prosperity, and success.”
“Listen, we need to be mindful of the circumstances we live in. How can we think of flaunting the lustre of gold when people die in droves due to Covid every second? Let’s postpone Akshaya Tritiya 2021.”
“Didn’t we postpone Expo 2020? Keep your hopes high, darling. Let’s postpone it to until such time Big Ticket’s Richard gives us a buzz.”
“Shut up. The money you spend buying lotto would have been enough to dress me in gold.”
Times when silence is golden.
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