Blog post by Minu Venkatesh
When the sambandhi mami wanted me to pierce the nose for a nose stead, that the entire network of daughter in-laws (US/UK) had one, I was only too excited. Being a meticulous planner I had started my homework. Well, in this era of tummy piercing and tongue piercing and all available body piercings, nose was no big deal. But, as the time approached somehow I did not feel as comfortable as before.
First I had to get a nose stead, so I called up a store and they had 5cents diamond. Good, job half one. Took a bus and went to that store. Now comes, problem No 1, The 5 cents stuff come in a new fashion. It is round in nature and with my limited exposure to the accessory world I was totally unable to follow the mechanism. They kept on saying how everyone these days buys it. But as I had to pierce it was not acceptable (Reason No 1) and it was so Non-TamBrahm (Reason No 2). So quite unwillingly I had to compromise on an 8cents, the reason being a customized version if ordered would take at least a month to become a reality. 8 cents diamond was not as tiny as I had wanted. Then I console myself, c’mon girl, you are anyway wearing something, let people see it. It reminded me off my appamma who wore big mookuthys (both sides). It is still a mystery for me how appamma wore podavai (Kerala Iyers call Madisar Podavai) everyday when I stick to a thokatha jeans all the time. Hence I bought it with a smile, with the hope of wearing it in next one hour.
With my new hefty purchase, I walked the pathway to a little shop round the corner were the ‘thattan’ (the guy who was going to pierce my nose) worked. The shop was smaller than I had expected. Like in many strange movies, the man at the counter would not smile. He read and re-read the morning daily. I reached the thattan and gave my buy and sat tauten. He after examining my stead asked, “diamond?” I nodded in excitement. He replied, the make in the diamond is of such a way that the screw comes first and then the nut. Piercing is done by keeping the needle inside the hollow of the top portion. Once needle pricks in, you pull out the needle through the other side and tighten it with the screw. Diamond is inverse mechanism. Pullayarappa, I did not know this and got into the next problem-Problem No 2. Now the only solution left was to buy a local gold and pierce it with that. Had I known it before I would have ordered a 5 cents and bought this gold whatsoever. With that let down feeling, I sat down to pierce.
Now came the next confusion, where exactly do one pierce. With everything qualifying into fashion category I did not know which was traditional. All I knew was in order to wear nath (nose ring) it better not be too high. Then, with a wild imagination, after many pen dots messing up the right side of my nose, I and the piercing guy decided the exact position to pierce (yes, in that little nose area). Aha, in the process comes next problem – Problem No 3, that part of nose is a little thick and the needle would not pierce in very easily. He had to apply much of his energy to let it go inside and the pain I suffered was obviously my problem- Problem No 4. Finally, matter over, and my nose had enough brown lines and brown marks from his squeezing and pressing and in between sparkled a golden light on the base of a red hue. Thanking him and paying him his dakshina I bid goodbye!!! Man, so much for a nose piercing. I wondered what all stories the tattoo guys and fashion freaks had or maybe they do not have many stories for they do not watch their life as much keenly as I do.