First: The requests. I received some queries in regards to last
week’s article: What does ARSI mean, they asked? Good question. I
resisted the impulse to extrapolate and did a bit of research. Not
easy… this question… and if anyone out there has a better answer
than the one I came up with… I would very much like to hear it.
All I could get was that the mirrored ring called the ARSI was–and I
quote–“a particular feminine conceit of the times”… dating back to
the early part of the 20th century in North India. And now for one
more quick correction… the small crystals around the central mirror
are not mirror bits at all but rather Kundan-set diamonds.
Let us hearken back to a moment in our youth. We were in love. Or
perhaps we were in lust. We wanted to give the object of our passions
a token of our affection. And so we gave her an anklet. A small
heart perhaps… with a pearl on each side… and a chain. We vowed
eternal devotion. This–of course–was before any of us understood
how fleeting eternity was. Sigh. Plus a change, plus c’est la mme
chose. The more things change… the more they remain the same. I
only mention the French version because that’s the derivative of the
Which brings us to the magic of the grand segue: An art form…
which I modestly must admit… I have developed to perfection.
Lakshmana… brother to Lord Rama… the seventh incarnation of Lord
Vishnu… was once asked if he recognized some jewels which had been
recovered in a wooded area as those belonging to Rama’s wife…
Sita. To which Lakshmana replied that he recognized nothing but the
anklets for his gaze… with the respect and veneration fitting to
the times… never deviated above Sita’s feet.
With only the slightest stretch of the imagination one can well
create in one’s mind an image of something “slightly” more ornate
than the simple anklet we gave to she whose love would surely last
beyond the Great Beyond. Right? No! Not right. Absolutely not right.
This would be a bit like saying that Minnie Mouse is every bit as
beautiful as Marilyn Monroe. Well… maybe to Mickey… but that’s
So where did it all start? Buddhist texts contain the earliest
references to anklets. A nun is described as wearing an anklet…
also known as a ring for the feet. A quick aside… I rather like
this last description. The phraseology has a “ring”–you should
pardon the pun --to it. There are many references to anklets in
Indian literature. There is an anklet made with small bells attached
to it which is still popular today with the women of the region.
And… quite possibly… with the men too. What could be more
pleasant a sound than the tinkling of a loved one’s padded feet as
she approaches down the halls. Quick Matilda. Under the Afghan
before she spots us.
I am going to show you an anklet from Nupur with diamonds set in
gold with pearls bordering the upper edge. As a quick addendum…
gold anklets are considered sacrilegious to wear on one’s feet…
with only Royalty being exempt. There is great symbolic power infused
into the women who wear these jewels. An anklet called a "ratna"
stretches from toe to ankle… partially covering the foot. This is
the one you will all soon see.
I know I know. The excitement is dizzying. You can not wait. You can
not contain your impatience. You are foaming at the mouth. You are
straining at the reins. So go. Put on your sneakers and run. You
know where. And by all means don’t contain yourselves. Don’t hold
back. Tell me what you really think.
For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at http://www.tyler-adam.com where you
will scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that
says Current Tidbits. Click it… and you will see represented on our
pages… a “ratna” anklet of the highest order.
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.