The Thing About Mums and Pearls

Pearls always remind me of mum. Not just because she's an army wife - always in crisp, well draped evening wear saris, paired with her signature string of pearls and a touch of silver hair that add to her regal flair - but because of the simplicity and natural elegance of pearls. Just like mum.

This Mother’s Day, I'm reminded of a story of when my mother gifted me a treasured pearl ring from her childhood. Mikimoto pearls were her favourite growing up in Malaysia, and her father made sure she had her own set of necklace, bracelet and ring on her 18th birthday. And as fair as mums are, for my 18th birthday, she set aside the necklace for her future daughter-in-law and the bracelet for her future grandkid.

But the ring... the ring came to me.

It was beautiful in its simplicity, just two gorgeous pearls twisted into a clasp to be wrapped around my finger... reminding me of mum every time I looked down at it.

And I looked at it often, as I took my shot at the CAT exam, waiting in the elevator as I pressed the button to take me to a particularly important interview, sitting down for lunch alone, missing her and being away from home... but always having her close.

The shock came when one day I realised a setting had come loose and one pearl jumped out and bounced across the floor. With a sinking feeling I thought it was lost into that world of endless lost pieces of jewellery that hit the floor and never come back! But there it was glistening at me from under the bed... till I promptly clicked it back into the now loose clasp... and thought to myself that I must be careful.

This became an almost routine practice because I never took time to get it repaired and yet I refused to stop wearing it. I was also becoming more and more fearless because overtime, every time it popped out, I would find it and pop it back in. Taking it for granted almost just like I might have done mum.

Till one day, the night of my college farewell, I danced as most of us do the entire night only to leave for dinner and discover the cavity on my ring... and feel the gaping clasp... and discover the missing pearl. With a huge tug at my heart I turned back to see a dance floor packed with people... and knew immediately that there was no way I would find it. It was probably crushed under the slew of stilettos that owned the dance floor that night.

But hope is a powerful thing. I worked my way back to where I had been dancing and ridiculously unbelievable, like a sappy story... there it was... reminding me that mum was always there.

I gave the ring back to her for safekeeping... and gave her a tight hug... like the two pearls twisted together tight in a clasp... wrapped around my finger.

This story is a real life incident, as narrated by Smita Rajgopal, Founder and Creative Director of Smitten.