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Nose Pin Tales: Supriya

I never liked piercings.

When I was a baby, my ear lobes were pierced. As I grew older, I made it clear to everyone: I will not have any more piercings.

Unlike me, my sister wanted to add more piercings to her ear lobes, and she wanted to get her nostril pierced as well. She would stick colored sequins on her nose to check if a particular one suited her, and walk around wearing it. My mother did not much like the idea but she finally gave her permission to have her nose pierced. So, as per tradition, an auspicious day/time was selected for the nose piercing ceremony. When I finally saw her with her pierced nose, I did not like it, not one bit. I decided that I never wanted to even try it.

But decisions change, and so did mine. Did my grandmother influence me?

My grandmother (Ajji) strongly believed in maintaining family customs and traditions, and she wanted her granddaughters to imbibe some/most of them, as her only daughter (my mother) never followed any of it. Ajji was a big influence in my life as well as my sister’s. Ajji would tell us, “Girls must pierce their nose when they are young, or else it may have to be done if the groom’s family insists on it for their wedding, or they may reject you, just because you don’t have a nose pin.” And I would argue, how did my mother get married without getting her nose pierced, or what if the groom’s family does not insist on it… all of this at the age of 8-9. I was very practical-minded, even at that age, and did not fall for any of those explanations.

Fast forward to many years later, my grandmother passed on, and I inherited her diamond nose pin. It was the last nose pin she had had custom made, and it was her favorite. She was probably wearing it when she died.

One evening, a few days after her death, my sister and uncle talked me into getting my nose pierced. I uttered ‘Yes,’ without being really sure about it. Right away they took me to a jeweler where we bought a tiny nose pin, and boom, I got my nose pierced.

There was no tradition followed that day. We didn’t consult a calendar for an auspicious date or time. The very moment I said “Yes” was the right time.

I realized, this can’t be reversed; it is going to remain with me.

My in-laws were not interested to know if I wore a nose pin, let alone what nostril it was on. And I could never wear my grandmother’s diamond nose pin; it was too large for my little nose.

I have now accepted the nose pin, and I experiment a lot with it, cycling between silver rings, tiny gold studs, and larger clip-ons. It is a firm part of my identity.