It is becoming rare, if not non-existent, seeing someone ferrying colourful glass bangles. A common scene in the past decades, the sight of a these sellers, both man and woman, carrying around a bulging white sack on their shoulder used to bring joy to women of all ages. With the big white cloth sack on a shoulder and a wooden frame briefcase on one hand, they would cry: 'lace-fita-lace', 'churi niben churi' and so on.
Although the calls for buying 'kacher churi' or glass bangles is not heard anymore, the love for these colourful bracelets are certainly far from gone. The love amplifies during Pohela Boishakh, as the traditional getup with saree is hardly complete without a set of clinking bangles. We hear from few women from diverse backgrounds, about their personal feelings regarding this age old Bengali jewellery.
“I remember finding a box when I was a child. Curiosity got the best of me and I opened it without thinking much. My eyes were greeted by a luminous glimmer of red, blue, and green. The round shapes were staring back at me. That day I fell in love with glass bangles. Later on, I swould spend hours playing with them just making clinky sounds. Nowadays, with loads of responsibilities as a mother and a wife, I hardly get any time to indulge in looking at these pretty things. I compensate that with stacking them up around my wrists whenever there is an excuse for it.”
- Ruba Parthib, housewife and poet
“As a saree-crazy, fashion enthusiast - bangles are in fact, a necessity of my everyday life. As a journalist and entrepreneur, my style includes mostly cotton handloom sarees which is incomplete without glass bangles. Everytime I cross any 'churiwala' in the streets of Dhaka University, I have to stop and get myself few dozen of glass bangles even when I have many. Sometimes I just fill my hands with colourful glass bangles to add colurs in a gloomy day. Life seems much better then!”
- Sabiha Aknod Rupa, founder of Menka, a hub for handloom saree
“I've been selling bangles on the premises of Dhaka University for the last 28 years. My family has been in this profession for three generations. I often come across customers who get really indecisive when they have to choose from all these colours. Yes, it is confusing. Because all are so beautiful. One of my favorite aspects of this profession remains selecting colours for my customers.”
- Komola, glass bangles hawker in the Dhaka University area
“As a girl I think bangles are a must wear for girls/women, especially when it’s Pohela Boishakh. Growing up, I saw my mother wearing them and it made me want to wear them as well. Bangles are also great accessories for gifts. When they are kept inside a room even the room looks vibrant. Moreover, I think they enhance the gorgeousness in a girl/woman and hold the tradition of the Bengali culture.”
- Anika Tabassum, Makeup artist, Makeover Mania
“I own a huge collection of glass bangles. Some are inherited from my mother, some from my maternal aunties and a whole bunch from my elder sister. I wonder when I look at those, how everyone has different tastes. While wearing them I like to add a twist, such as drawing small shapes on surface which gives them a whole new appearance. Sometimes glass bangles make me so nostalgic. I have strong memories of vacation during childhood at my grandmother’s home and the heavy rainfall through the holes of bangles.”
- Nusrat Zahan, housewife