Chhalla (Acute accent over the last “a”.)
The Chhalla is usually a plain and simple band of gold or
silver… sometimes set with stones and sometimes without. Some
folks wore these rings on their fingers…and some wore them on
their toes. Yup, you got it folks. It’s Toe Ring time. Ta-dumm!
Question is…why would someone wear a ring on their toes? Well,
it’s not so complicated. Imagine yourself in India. I believe
we’re back somewhere in the fifteenth century. The Hindu
goldsmiths of the time create highly ornamented jewelry. The
women of the day scurry about in a mad frenzy buying up these
rings as fast as the craftsmen can make them and as easily as
their pocketbooks allowed. Ah vanity…thy name
is…is…um…mirror? Yup. Mirror it is and mirror it was. One
of the more popular rings was a Mirror Ring. At first…you wore
it on your thumb. Hair’s a bit messy?..makeup on awry perhaps?
No problem. Stick your thumb near your eye, take a peek in your
handy dandy little mirror, and in two seconds flat…you’re all
Well…yeah…but what if you’re lounging about the house? You
belong to upper crust society. Maybe you’re putting on lipstick.
A nice new brand just out by Estee Lauder, or Chanel, or Revlon.
Or maybe you’re busy playing some music on a Lute or something.
Your hands are busy. A gust of wind blows through the room. A
mite of dust settles in your eye. You don’t want to break your
rhythm, everybody loves the way you play lute, but you have to
see what’s going on. What do you do? You raise your foot and
bring that big toe, upon which is fitted a mirror-ring, and you
look at yourself. Ah…all is well. You bring your foot back down
and continue your soothing melodies.
In those day it was common for Hindu women of better class to go
nearly barefoot around the house. Toe Rings worked well, and
aside from being ornamental and utilitarian, they also had the
extra added advantage of bringing a elevated degree of dexterity
to the feet and toes of the women of the day. For those women
whose husband’s had toe fetishes, all I can say to those husbands
is…you lucked out you lucky devils you.
Some rings worn on the big toe of the left foot indicated to all
that this Hindu woman was married. For some men–this was clearly
before true aphrodisiacs (like oysters for instance) were
discovered–the correct ring worn on the big toe not only acted
as a curative for ills, but it also served to heighten masculine
vigor. Yes sirree. I smell a market here. Now…for those of you
who want to place their orders… heh heh…we ship in a plain
brown wrapper and all requests are held in strictest confidence.
Visa and Master Card are, of course, accepted.
Now then, India was not the only place where women wore toe
rings. A quick addendum folks. It’s somewhere around the time of
the French Revolution. The climate in Paris during the winter
does not lend itself to lightly clothed couture. But the ladies
of fashion of the day gladly braved adverse weather in order to
wear clinging gowns and very little undergarments–for those of
you whose minds go that way…and I belong to that group. They
also went outdoors without hats and without shoes or socks,
preferring sandals instead in order to show… oh yeah…you got
it…their toes…bedazzled and beladen with golden jeweled Toe
Rings. Well…I guess it’s better than a nose ring…no?
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
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