CHENNAI: The Sanskrit word for jewellery is aabharan — bharan means to protect, cherish. And jewellery is supposedly worn to cherish and protect the human body as well as our sensibilities, our physical and mental well-being and more.
Tasteful adornment suitable to circumstances, enhances our aesthetic sense and poise. In ancient traditional practices, doctors would prescribe an amulet to be worn to protect the body from some disease.
Even today magnetic belts are worn to enhance the circulation to a specific part of the body to help it heal. Gold which is an inert metal is said to protect our aura and wellness and is considered auspicious – and so are the many precious stones that are used. Adornment and simplicity are not mutually exclusive. If you look at the people in the mountains, in the villages and in the tribal areas, you will see that they are leading truly simple lives in every aspect.
They have spartan habits but deck themselves with jewellery.
Simplicity in life is very difficult to achieve and it is not just a matter of being simple in outwardly appearance but in all aspects of our life. Are all our ideas or possessions just about indulging in a pretension or are we really being honest?
Nature has no pretension and celebrates both simplicity and adornment. Design elements for embellishment are found abundantly in nature which expresses itself through a fine precision and elegance in the features of plants and animals.
In the crown and feathers of a peacock. In the eyes of a swan, in the stripes of a zebra, in the mane of a mare, in the eyelashes of a cow, in the hood of a cobra, in the wings of a butterfly, in the edges of leaves, in the colours and patterns of flowers, in the roughness of bark, in the swirls of a creeper or a frond of a fern, in the embedded caves of a conch and so on.
And these can aid us in our design of embellishments. However the design of clothes is a problem that is peculiar to us. Yet it is feasible to not get trapped in fashions where function is neglected.
People in cold countries are aware that in order to protect themselves, one must be covered in several layers. The air in between the layers serves as insulation and keeps you warm. They cannot wear clothes meant for the tropics even if they wanted.
Comfort is important, as is personal expression of who we are. When simplicity and adornment serve each other, then we achieve visible balance.