“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Sunday, November 14, 2010


‘Bought 150 sovereigns gold jewellery from X jewelers; of course there is the rest I have bought over the years’. She said it oh-so-casually but the sense of pride was quite obvious in her voice. The mother is a former colleague of mine and she had come to the Bank for taking in/out the said gold.

My Sunday chores had to take a break so that I could attend the marriage today. The daughter, whom I have known since her birth stood on the stage, all bedecked in heavy gold jewelry and silk sari.

The price of gold is skyrocketing, giving sleepless nights to parents of marriageable daughters. P says, ‘Ooph, thank God we don’t have a girl! What would’ve we done?’ I retort sharply, ‘We would never do this, that’s what. If we had money saved up, we would give it to her, that’s all.’

Looking at the closed circuit TV which was showing the final moments of the marriage (the hall was so crowded and the photographers had closed around the couple like vultures denying us any possible view of the ceremony), I muse on gold.

Gold – just a worthless metal- you can’t boil a glass of water in a gold kettle (or can I? I haven’t tried!) and the whole bloody world is obsessed with it. The newspapers break out with headlines on the soaring price – it is Rs.15,000/- plus for a sovereign of gold; i.e., 8 gms.! Go to any small town in Kerala; the largest number of shops will be the jewellery shops. In the cities, massive showrooms come up every day – exclusively gold jewellery shops – of course, there are the alternatives of Platinum and Diamonds for the really rich. And how much of the 15000/- is for the gold? Most of it is swallowed by the shop wallahs who wouldn’t even give a proper bill for the purchases.

Who can really afford to buy gold? Only the filthily rich – and the middle class aspiring to be filthily rich and would go to any extent of corruption and greed to achieve that! The poor – they drown in their filth…

Why don’t we all say NO! to gold? I am sure that will bring down the prices of everything else too. I bought big onions today –Rs.40/- per k.g! I can afford to, but think of the millions who eat dinners of Roti and pyaaj?

Say NO! to gold –and say it loud.


Balachandran V,. Trivandrum, 14-11-2010


  1. Alchemy must be a serious stream of study in the Universities of Kerala MG and Calicut.

    That will solve the issue.

  2. I have always said no to gold!Platinum for me please!! just joking.. golds and diamonds and platinums and pearls just from lockers to lockers travel. I am happy with a bead and a bauble that is placed on my wrist with love.

  3. I'm anti-gold too. Except for my ring, I don't have any gold on me. I don't understand why people are so fascinated with the yellow metal.

    When the gold prices were hovering around 12K, my hubby suggested we invest in gold (ornaments or gold coin/bar), bcoz prices are bound to get higher. I argued fervently. I said the prices would come down eventually. Now it has touched an unbelievable 15K! What beats me is, why are people still buying!

    I've got 2 daughters and don't plan to cover them in gold when they get married. Hopefully, the gold-fever dies down by then :)

  4. @RGB: It does not rest with us; we have to show our children too that the real value of life is not measured in gold and silver. Guide them early. I see the women's magazines ( Vaniitha, the Malayalam fortnightly has the highest circulation in India/ Asia amongst its kind)- gold-laden beauties adorn most of the pages. Women with a different opinion should write to them, threatening to boycott the magazine for encouraging the gold-hoarding culture.

  5. @Sujata: My jaw was about to be dropped down to the floor, but thank God, I read fast! :)

    As a mother of young children, Sujata, would you care for a suggestion? When you come home to India, take the children around the cities and villages - not to the shopping malls but where the majority of Indians live - in slums and humble dwellings - and show them how to set the right values of life...

  6. "Gold gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace.Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.“
    Warren Buffet

    Now, wait! dont be so happy that everyone is supporting your view.

    "Both the past few months and a long-term look into historic time series show that gold is substantially less volatile than equities (e.g. MSCI World). Only the shares of junior explorers with low market capitalization deserve the label “highly speculative”. In the past ten years, the volatility of the Dow Jones index has been 16%, whereas that of gold has been 12%. The correlation of gold and the S&P 500 index has been -0.15 since 1990, as confirmed by a study of the World Gold Council. The volatility of gold has been substantially lower than that of oil, other precious metals, the GSCI commodities index, and most equity indexes in the past 20 years.”

    Now, I dont have to tell you why people invest in Gold,you being a banker.The same applies to diamonds and other precious metals.No one is forced in to buying it.No one asks you to wear it. There is a time old wisdom in giving gold to children.When the time comes, it will take you out of the wrecks you are in.

    Do you think your currencies will survive the physical elements? No.

    It is good to hear talks on justice and equality.You probably mean it too.But seriously Balan,do you think it is possible for you and me to bring down all the mountains and fill the seas and make a level ground tomorrow? Nature has its rules,and everything will go back to its place.It applies to human too.

    I agre with just one thing.It is good to have values,and learn the value of sharing.Saying "No" very loudly to gold,doesnt solve any problem in the world.

  7. @Doc: I'm afraid you are off the mark, Doc. I'm least concerned about 'solving' the problems of the world; I am just concerned about the problems. I am yet to learn about anyone who has solved the problems of the world.

    But just because we cannot solve the problems doesn't mean than we should join the caravan, does it?

    'No one is forced in to buying it.No one asks you to wear it.' Are you telling me that the advertisements have no influence? Look at cigarette smoking for eg. Does the younger generation smoke as much ours did?

    And it isn't just about gold, you know. It is about the attitude of hoarding, of greed et cetra et cetra.

    When I attend a simple wedding with no flaunting of wealth, no show of extravagance, I smile. It makes me happy. When I look at my wife dressed in an elegant, simple cotton sari, I love her. Middle-aged women wearing tons of gold and sheets of silk and looking like street side whores on a roll make me puke.

    So, writing like this about gold makes me happy. And when somebody agrees with me, that makes me happier. Together, we believe and do what we feel is right. That's all. No naivety about changing the world!

  8. :-) this brought a smile. You know women tend to buy jewelery as an "investment"

    why not go for gold ETFs? Alas!! you need to stick thos ETF certificates and bonds on your clothes when you go for weddings! Weddings and get together happens to flaunt your gold jewelery.

    I am reminded of this incident. I wore an exquisite ruby and emerald neck piece set in antique silver to a wedding which took place in a remote village in Karaikudi. An old lady who noticed me smirked and asked which goes something like "enna ma, paasi mani potturukka. Thangam chain illaya". She thought it was a regular plastic bead necklace just because it didnt have an ounce of gold in it.

    So its gold, gold and gold which commands respect. what to do!! Things must change.

  9. I can say very little about gold. We hear both the pros and cons of it here. I think every human has to make a decision on their own ability to invest, if that is what they want; given that they have completed their homework before they make a move in any direction.


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