Paka Dekha Kanbala
Made entirely of three elements ---- perforated mangoes, twisted telephones and balls, all sounding as if they’re things picked out of a David Lynch film ---- this double jhumka kanbala is an...
Made entirely of three elements ---- perforated mangoes, twisted telephones and balls, all sounding as if they’re things picked out of a David Lynch film ---- this double jhumka kanbala is anything but extraordinary. In fact, its plainness comes through with an ease similar to that of a politician making a promise, though in performance the kanbala, with its simple integrity and richness of form, achieves its purpose amiably while the politicians, flaunting their blasé brand of barbarism, try as hard as possible not to fulfil theirs.
Let’s leave that be – we’re digressing – and get on with the earring: Katai aam kalkas start the ‘chand’ of the chandbali and are followed by a row of pak-tar telephones leading to a chhela arc, above which are the ball-karais. There are two jhumkas and a pasha, all three differently detailed. The lower jhumka is a telephone-and-ball combination while the one in the centre is a katai-kalka model. The pashas, made of flattened-wire ekkas, are ringed with sabu-dana, and themselves ring a large faceted topa that seems a bit too prominent for its own good. Thankfully, the rest of the ornament isn’t. The single-ball drops on the jhumkas and the clusters that are seen along the bottom edge of the kanbala are both necessary. Without them the earrings would look bald – and incomplete. They also add a touch of grandeur to the proceedings when, at the prospective bride's (and why not the groom’s, pray?) house, elders from both the girl's and the boy's families meet to finalize the match in the all too Bengali ritual of Paka Dekha. This kanbala was expressly made a long, long time ago to adorn the ears of a young lady whose hand was being sought in marriage at one such event. Apparently the jewel proved lucky and remains with the second generation of the family, being brought out to be worn by those who believe in gold and the power of simple, elegant, neat and quiet jewellery to effect what’s desired of life and love.
True, the kanbalas were originally made for a hopeful to-be bride, and this is a reissue, but such ornaments have a habit of transcending their narrow purpose to become, in time, heirlooms of considerable eminence, surrounded by the aura of their sweet history.
The Paka Dekha Kanbala, wrought with expert and knowing hands in rich yellow 22K gold, is a tidy, traditional jewel that hides behind its composure some special kind of magic.