On August 19, 1943, my great-grandparents married in a mosque in Punjab. That summer, my great-grandfather worked hard to buy his fiancée a wedding present. Back then a gram of gold only cost 100 rupees, but now costs around 3,000 rupees. My great-grandfather bought his wife a gold necklace adorned with diamonds.
In 1947, the partition of India caused havoc among Hindus and Muslims, and my great-grandmother died in a bloody riot. My great-grandfather kept the necklace until 1961, when my grandparents married in Qatar. My grandma wore the necklace as her sole connection to her mother. In 1995, my grandma placed the necklace on my mother’s neck as she recalled memories of the piece. According to my mother, “I felt the love from my family when I wore that necklace. It gave me the confidence I needed for the big day.”
I am the next person to receive that necklace, the 4th generation. The necklace serves as a connection between our new home and native homes. It reminds us of the family and culture we left behind, but the memories we cherish will always travel along with us. The necklace influences our family to retain traditional wedding ceremonies and rituals, even in America. Each story evokes a memory to our past because it reminds the recipient of the giver. When my mother opened the jewelry box of the necklace, she flashed back to memories of her mother. The feeling, luster, and colors of the necklace brought tears to my mother’s eyes.
– Minhal Mahmood