The Pola, loaded with history and a certain narrow social significance, is here taken completely out of its context and proposed as an independent cuff bracelet of a light and lovely kind, albeit o...
The Pola, loaded with history and a certain narrow social significance, is here taken completely out of its context and proposed as an independent cuff bracelet of a light and lovely kind, albeit one with a visual avoirdupois unerringly related to the saree from which it derives its primary motif.
But first the form : simply, it’s a 'bridge' – the gold part. The section where the pola is cut is spanned by a guinea gold checkered arch that’s finished in high polish, diamond frosting, and rich maroon enamel. The extensions on to the pola are essential as that’s where the 'bridge' is riveted in and fixed to the polymer. Where the 'bridge' ends, though, the pala is chiselled thin and the gold arch fitted in with a band, and that provides double reinforcement. There’s also a polished band placed at the bottom which adds a touch of gold to a long red section but also protects the broad bangle from getting scratched.
Remember Co-Optex, the Tamil Nadu State Handloom Emporium? They have two outlets in Calcutta, one at Dacres Lane and the other in Ultadanga; both at inconvenient distances from South Calcutta, where we are. But they do have an exhibition once a year in Ballygunge and this time it was at the Birla Academy on Southern Avenue, the road bordering the Dhakuria Lakes. A plain golden silk with checked, wide, temple borders caught the eye as an unusual Kanjeevaram, especially because the checks, limited to the border and pallu, was in a particularly eye-catching cochineal. The silk was firm and pure – Co-Optex after all – and the colours, muted gold (like ghee) and an intense red, very well balanced. The checks were also in perfect proportion to the width of the border. It’s this motif that was chosen for the mukh of the pola and it has turned out rather well and is just the reverse of the saree.
The Kanjeevaram's traditional and this traditional jewel uses that tradition to be creatively modern. The result is a broad bracelet pola in a timeless design no longer relevant as just a marriage symbol for Bengali women but in fact a goyna to be worn with pride for its strength in conveying a tradition in modern terms and in the process becoming a blazing symbol of independent, individualistic femininity. Anyone, of any age, at any time, can wear this – just as you might freely walk into a Co-Optex showroom to pick for yourself a dashing Kanjeevam. Since we did just that (though at an exhibition), we’ve honoured the emporium by bestowing upon this extraordinary pola its name.