Heirlooms are priceless, I think I’ve known
Away from homeland, they acquire a meaning of their own..
Going through the contents of my safe one day
I found the heirloom piece I had locked away
It was a necklace with beads black and gold
Family lore said it was two hundred years old
Not an ordinary piece of jewelry, this one carried
Significance of symbolizing women married
Two slender strands ending in a gold pendant
Studded with precious stones, resplendent
Passed from one generation of strong women
Of my husband’s family, connecting me to them
I fingered the “mangalsutra” that I did not wear
For its ostentation, reluctant to attract stares..
And wondered about the women who had before me
Adorned themselves with this precious beauty
Did all of them don it out of their own choice
Or was it forced upon some, who had no voice…
I wondered if the black beads had performed their duty
And saved their wearers from negative energy
It had been stolen once, so the story went
In it’s long journey, this was a significant event
On the auspicious day of Diwali it was recovered
Since then it was closely guarded, so went the word..
The shores of India, it left for the first time when
I brought it with me, as an article of adornment
It languished in the safe, for I could not find an occasion
That called for such splendor and ostentation
So I paired it with my western garb one day
Felt connected to my roots in a different way
Besides being interesting, it garnered compliments
(A pleasant side-effect, though that was not my intent)..
Far from home, every article that connects me
To my roots, is something to be cherished indefinitely..