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Love for gold

 article about Love for gold

This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.

The Bible says the Angels in Heaven found the women of the Earth most beautiful and alluring.  So, they came down, took the form of Men and married them. What they produced were 'demons'.  These absconders have been imprisoned and are awaiting judgment.


So, is it any wonder that  the  real Men on the Earth  are absolutely  captivated to the core by the  beauty of women?  They are indeed a precious lot to look at.  No young man from any Nation, without exception, could resist the temptation of scrutinizing a woman who crosses his path. At which part or parts of the woman's body do they gaze? Well, the focus would vary from country to country; some at the face, some at the legs, some at the bosom, some at the hair and so on. 


In my country, India, a small percentage of young men invariably would  look at her neck. Not that her neck is more bewitching than the other parts… The purpose is quite different here.  They would count the number of gold chains she is wearing.  And, the women from the Southern part of India love to fill their neck with tons of gold ornaments whenever they walk out of their homes. What easy targets for the 'chain snatchers'.  'Chain snatching' is a highly developed form of stealing at the roadsides.  A 10-gram chain could fetch anything up to $200.    


The practice has become so common an occurrence that even the city newspapers have stopped giving prominence to chain snatching in their reporting.  What beats me is, why women, both married should and unmarried, appear decked with double the quantity of the yellow metal when they go to a Temple for worshipping.


I live in an area close to a place called, 'the Temple town', which is visited by hundreds of worshippers daily and in thousands on two particular days in a week.  Women outnumber men on any day. The long road leading to the famous temple is an ideal hunting ground for thieves who can do an excellent job of flicking  a chain without getting caught because of the high density of human beings.


Turning into an investigative journalist, I embarked on a mission of finding out as to why women wish to swim in water filled with crocodiles!  My first target was a young college-going damsel.    She sized me up and down and said, "Well, I have them; why not wear them? How else would the world know that I have a rich father?"


Great!"  I mumbled and added, "But, don't you read in the papers that thieves are on the prowl for ladies like you?"


"Ah, cut it out, uncle.  I am a karate expert, you know. Let a fellow come near me and I'll teach him the lesson of his life."


"What if he attacks you from the rear?"  I persisted.


Squeezing her eyes she remarked, "You are a zero on karate, aren't you, sir?  What's my leg there for…?"


I wished the charming maiden good luck and turned to my next patron who was a married woman.  Her face was glowing with happiness because she was about 6 months pregnant.  She wore one huge necklace and a long chain that was resting comfortably on her upper abdomen. "True, sir, but, won't my enemy living behind my house think that I own no jewelry whatever?  I can't let down my dear husband in front of that wretch, can I?"  


I had no ready rejoinder for that.  There seemed to be a kind of gold-war competition among the female genders here.  Many women in my city practice the theory, 'Exhibit all your possession lest.…"   Gold is a prestige symbol indeed. 


The next lady's defense argument stole the thunder. "You see I visit this Hindu temple twice a week.  How can I bow before my glorious Idol with just my wedlock chain?  Won't he get angry? After all, it was god who gave me these and I must display my ornaments before him always, don't you think?  My god will take care of those thieves."                


"Sad case," I dubbed her and switched over to the next client.  This lady, besides four thick chains and half a dozen gold bangles on each wrist, was also wearing two UFO shaped circular ear drops.  I thought any smart thief could easily flick off an eardrop with the flash of his finger.  "Aren't you offering yourself as an easy victim in a large crowd?" I pointed out to her.


"Perhaps," she responded agreeably.  "But our culture is that South Indian women should not be seen outside their home without jewelry unless she is a widow.  And, I am not a widow!  She lectured and smiled mischievously..


However, the next one knocked me down flat.  Her middle-aged husband accompanied her.  On hearing my inquiry the man remarked, "Yes, tell her brother. Tell her forcefully, brother.  She never listens to me; she brings me here on every visit for her own safety.  I am her security guard, so to say."


The no-nonsense type wife faced me squarely and shouted, "Look here, old

chap. It's none of your business.  Get lost.  OK?" 


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