(Continued from last week’s post)
Mahesh’ employers were really intrigued with this riddle and decided that there had to be a solution out there – after all, this was a situation faced by many people in the same income band as Mahesh. They decided to do a little research of their own and understand the solutions adopted by others – spoke to their maids, the neighbour’s maids, a few colleague’s drivers etc., they also spoke to a jeweler that they knew. They finally came up with a few interesting solutions.
The first suggestion was that Mahesh invest in a gold coin with a small hook on top, one that could be used as the second pendant on any necklace. This would solve the usability problem and ensure that it could be used as jewelry on social occasions. Mahesh’ wife shot down this idea though – she’d seen her mother and grandmother wear such pendants, and felt that such jewelry would look old-fashioned and signal that they lacked the money for buying a prettier pendant.
The second solution, suggested after much research and discussion, was to invest in buying a thin plain gold bangle. As they found out, the least amount of gold is wasted during making a plain gold bangle and the labour charges / making charges are proportionately lower than that for other forms of jewelry, hence the price charged is mostly the price of the gold. Thus you get good value for the money you pay, and the bangle is a piece of jewelry that can be proudly worn at social occasions, multiple bangles neither detract from beauty nor from social status. Also, if you decide to remake a plain gold bangle at a later stage, you don’t lose much since making charges were low and most of the value of the gold is retained.
While this solution sounded attractive, they realized that it was workable only for a much higher income group. With Mahesh’ savings, a gold bangle that he could afford would be such a thin strand of gold that it would not retain its shape and would get deformed easily, and then it’s utility as jewelry would drop drastically. So that sounded the death knell for the gold bangle option.
A solution was finally discovered via Suganthi, a neighbour’s maid. Suganthi’s household income was the same as that of Mahesh, and Suganthi’s family lived in a chawl quite close to the one in which Mahesh lived. Every year, Suganthi bought a 1 gm plain gold ring from a small jeweler nearby – the ring was small and affordable, and could be used as jewelry. After buying such rings for a few years, Suganthi would return to the same jeweler and use the rings to get a pair of bangles or some other jewelry made. She had no worries about the purity of the gold in the rings as she would be returning to the same jeweler to get the bangles made.
Viola ! A neat solution indeed.
- Zenobia Driver