I was never really fascinated with nose rings. After attaining puberty, in Indian culture, most girls have to get their nose pierced. If not before puberty, then before marriage it’s obligatory. I was oblivious to the context of this tradition.

It was during my college days when I went to Vaishno Devi for darshan with my parents.We hired a horse to ride up to the shrine.My horse was fully decorated with nose rings, ear hangings, whatnot. I asked the horse caretaker , why the horse had so many decorations? The horse must be irritated with all those hangings. He replied that “didi her nose was pierced to control her”. Further he added that she loved those multiple hangings all over her. Looking at that horse I didn’t feel like she loved any of those things, the whole ride she was shaking her body to get rid of those. His nose piercing logic got embedded inside me. During my marriage—which to be clear was my first marriage that was a disaster and ended up in an year— my ephemeral mother in law was in shock as my nose was not pierced. They gave me some time to get it done before marriage. I got my nose pierced with some weird gun type instrument. I just had to look the other way and from the other side, the person shot a gun through my nose, the bullet was nose ring. After a few days, an inflammation happened on my nose because of my overactive immune system. I went to doctor who told me that I had to remove the nose ring and she prescribed me some antibiotics. My immune system from childhood is hyperactive against any foreign bodies. At last, I was able to marry without a nose ring . All other ceremonies before the wedding, was without a nose ring. Anyhow mother in law was cooking stories to explain to the guests as to why the bride was not wearing a nose ring. On the wedding day some press type nose ring was arranged because its was obligatory as I had explained before. Mother-in-law not explained to me that the nose ring was compulsory . She didn’t gave any reason, just told me that it is compulsory. I recollected the horse caretaker’s reason. I wondered what except vital organs like heart, lungs, brain is compulsory. Without other body parts or organs we can survive but without vital organs we can’t exist physically but who cares. Funny part was that in the marriage album, the photographer showed his creativity. With the help of photoshop he managed to implant a nose ring on my nose as he also couldn’t digest me without a nose ring .
During my second marriage, again the nose ring took its main role. This time my beloved husband had some kind of allergy from a nose ring. He commanded his family that he doesn’t want that the bride to get her nose pierced. His grand mother was insisting that it’s compulsory but he won and at last the nose ring was cancelled on my wedding. Still no one gave me an answer why? I got the answer to my question as to why the horse wears a nose ring from the informative horse caretaker. For us its just COMPULSORY !!!!

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Preeti Devi

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