India / Other / Southeast Asia

Update on My Face

It was something that had been on my mind for a little while. I have wanted to get a nose piercing for a few years now, but generally when I considered it in the US, it turned into a quick internal discussion of pros and cons and I would talk myself out of it before I ever got very far into the process. I was starting to think I would never end up going through with it.

But something about India finally nudged me past the obstacles I had invented in my head and last weekend I got my nose pierced.

Partly because I’ve always liked the way nose piercings look, partly because of the cultural commonality of nose piercings in this country and party because I am constantly reminded here that there is no better time to push yourself to try something new and exciting than right here and now, I finally went through with it.

Last Saturday, just before sitting through a 3-hour Bhagavad Gita recitation chanted entirely in Sanskirt by a dozen middle-aged women in sarrees, I decided to stop mulling things over and just go through with it. So Emelia and I ventured to an upscale jewelry shop on Karve Road just a short rickshaw ride from our house.

After several miscommunications with store attendants that had us hiking from the first to third floors several times before figuring out exactly where we needed to go, I picked out the piece of jewelry. 535 ruppees (about 8 USD). We were pointed to a door leading out the back of the store where a man sat on a stone stool in front of a glowing flame.

He looked up from delicately passing a pair of pliers back and forth through the fire and gestured to us to sit on the bench to his right.

I felt the cool stone bench against my legs and took a deep breath, preparing for him to pierce the skin with the newly purchased ring. I thought I knew what to expect since several friends in the program had relayed their experiences to me already. I knew there would be no sterilization of materials and that he would just press that piercing through my nose in one shot. No needle. No preparation.

“Stand up,” he said, ring dangling from the tips of the pliers.

I hopped to my feet., one hand of my hip, preparing for the pinch that never came. Just an incredible, yet momentary, pressure and eyes watering. The piercing was finished in less time than it took me to choose the jewelry and it cost next to nothing. The man smiled and held out a small hand mirror for me to inspect his work.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and thanked him. His head wobbled right to left in acknowledgement and we turned to make our way back out of the store. New purchase prominently displayed on my face.


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