for families of a certain caste, diamonds are a part of their culture–and my family is one of those families…

they are gifted and worn in celebration of weddings but also in daily life…they are a woman’s prized possession and are cherished and passed on for generations…

my trips to india have always included looking at my aunt’s and cousin’s jewelry…this time was no different except that we were seeing the diamonds before they were set and made into anything…

but what captured my attention was not the diamonds themselves but the sea of slum dwellings that was the view from the window of the jeweller’s home…

i was struck by the stark contrast between the diamonds and the slums and yet i found beauty in both…

a few years ago i was lucky enough to see the late Alexander McQueen’s (iconic fashion designer) exhibit, Savage Beauty, at the New York Met–it is one of the most exquisite and mesmerizing exhibits i have ever seen…

his quotes about what inspired him were displayed throughout the exhibit and the one that struck me the most was: “I think there is beauty in everything…[b]eauty can come from the strangest of places, even the most disgusting of places…[i]find beauty in the grotesque…”

i found myself thinking about his words as i looked out at the slums and we explored the streets of mumbai today…

i could not help but see the beauty in the slums, the garbage that you cannot escape, the buses, rickshaws and cars that pollute the air, the broken down buildings and streets, but mostly the people who are left to find their homes on the streets…

it is not lost on me that all of these things also represent the huge disparity between those of us that have the luxury to look at diamonds and those who must sleep on the street and the tragic consequences of this disparity…

but i think (maybe naively) that if we turn away rather than look at and find the beauty in the very things that are hard to look at, we will not care…
and if we do not care, than nothing will ever change….