Tuesday, 24 April 2012


Did you hear that sound? Like something grating? That was me. I am grinding my teeth. And I do that when I am extremely irritated or angry.

I have received in my mail an invitation to go and buy jewellery on this auspicious day, Akshaya Tritaya, so that I will be blessed. And the invitation is a glossy three paged affair, with beautiful colour pictures of jewellery and silver articles. Tempting enough for anyone to go and pick up a few pieces, and must have cost a pretty penny, no doubt to be made good with the expected sales on the big day.

Not only this, newspapers and magazines were swamped yesterday (April 23) with advertisements from jewellers, inveigling people, luring them into their beautifully lit air-conditioned showrooms to buy some piece of jewellery and consider themselves blessed. The smaller jewellers contented themselves with smaller ads. The Hindu had a full page ad (from a jeweller’s?) yesterday, which also ran a sentence to the effect that The Hindu wished everyone a Happy Akshaya Tritaya Day. Today (April 24) the paper carried an apology on the front page dissociating itself from such sentiments – and rightly so.

Televison news reports said people were swarming around jewellery shops, and that these shops had been open from early in the morning to accommodate shoppers.

Are we really so gullible?  When did this desire to get blessed by buying gold come into being?

A few years ago we were completely ignorant of this day. But soon when traders ran out of ideas to sell their wares, other than for Christmas, Pongal and Deepavali, they chanced on other ‘sale’ tactics -- like Aadi,  summer, school opening, pre-monsoon, post monsoon, you name it. Every second month there is something to celebrate and hold a sale. But nothing has picked up like this – Akshaya Tritaya.

Akshaya is a Sanskrit word meaning undiminishing, and Tritaya only means the third day after the New Moon. It is considered an auspicious day for giving to charity, so that the giver is blessed manifold. Somewhere along the way, the meaning got twisted by jewellers and their ads, and I think people began to read it as ‘charity begins at home’ and started buying a small piece of jewellery as an auspicious start.

From there it has grown to gargantuan proportions. I saw that some jewellery shop had invited Kerala chendai players with their typical hypnotic beat to lure shoppers into spending at their shop. And we have begun to feel that we will be cursed if we don’t buy jewellery on Akshaya Tritaya.

I am all for jewellery and the pleasure it gives us women to wear them, and all for buying jewellery. But I do not want to be browbeaten into it.

Happy shopping folks!