The Holy Cow! Tour
This is the day I become enamored with Indian wedding jewelry. Originally a Moghul tribal custom, women receive beautiful gold necklaces from their husband on their wedding day, much as western women receive gold wedding rings. Theses necklaces are splendid in workmanship and of the most highest quality in gold and gems. They are best and properly worn with saris, with no collars, buttons or distractions to dim their dazzling splendor. I am absolutely smitten and immediately begin a search to find and buy wedding jewelry. It takes me a while to figure it all out, though. I have no idea what they really are--they look like fabulous gold necklaces to me and all I know is that everybody seems to have one.
I say to one woman, That is a FABULOUS necklace!
She: (murmuring with sweet smile) Thank you.
Me: I'd like to buy one of those!
She: (small smile but now with distinct upturned corners)
Me: Do ya know where I could get one?
Me: Is there a jeweler....?
She: I do not know. My husbands buys this for me.
Me: ...anywhere? a place where you can get a beautiful golden necklace? do you know where
She: (bigger smile)(dancing eyes)
(now downcast eyes but still smiling)
Me: okay. Have a nice day.
I say, to the GNY, what the hell? What kind of a day is it when I can't make friends and get information? She says, Honey, that woman had something she wasn't telling yuuuuu.
We continue to walk around the church and see Francis Xavier's mortal remains. We peek into the sacristy and I realize that in a few hours, Joe Montana will get up and go to the sacristy in our church in The Kan, EWA, where he will prepare to serve mass. We see the adorable creche, a beach scene, with sea grass and cows. We are captivated by the Indian women, their faith and their practice of dressing up in glittering saris, braiding flowers into their hair, gathering their husband and children and going to church on Sunday morning. The women are definitely in the lead at Mass in India. It is a real happening here at Bom Jesus and a delicious slice of unedited, untouristed Indian life. Dogs in the gutter, seminarians arriving en masse, men hand in hand, the old, the young, everybody comes.
I see a gorgeous woman with several of these spectacular necklaces. They all have black beads, some more than others. They are absolutely incredible! This beautiful woman has 5 beautiful children and they walk in front of her and she in front of her husband. I say to her as she passes, THOSE NECKLACES ARE GORGEOUS! She smiles graciously, in pleasure and surprise and as her husband passes I say, DID YOU BUY THOSE FOR HER? His broad grin turns to a big, thin-lipped smile and he blinks hard and says YES I DID. She turns and gives him a beautiful secret look.
What am I missing here?
Well, this: I find out later than everyone has one of these necklaces because you get them when you get married. And you most likely get your mother's when she dies. The black beads are traditional, to ward off evil spirits. Of course, the women don't know where to buy them, because they don't buy them! According to the men and women I talked to, women really don't know. Only men buy them. It is tribal custom and originally, the necklace you wore was of course, distinctive to your tribe.
All I know is that I love Sunday in Goa and I love these beautiful gracious people. They are quite delighted to speak with you, although taken back and a bit afraid. The children are delightful, the elder have sassy eyes, the marigolds are plentiful and the balmy, soft air is thick with the smell of sandalwood.
Peace be with YOU!
The Maharani Jabel
Old Goa, Goa, India