We are snowed in. Nowhere to go, nothing to do...but cook. I have spent the whole day today making some Georgian? (Or is it Azeri? Might be Russian) salads, and marinated a humongous chicken for my mother’s signature plov.
In theory, two couples are coming for lunch with their kids tomorrow. But, looking outside, I have some serious doubts.
You see, as soon as we see any snow in the UK, we freak out, forget how to drive and hide indoors. Trains get very scared, too and hide in depots. Shops run out of milk and bread and basically, nothing functions. Not such a bad thing, to be honest, if it happens on the days when I am supposed to be driving into work. I would not mind that at all. But, of course, such is my luck that it had to happen on a weekend, getting in the way of my social arrangements. Oh, well. I might just have to eat it all by myself.
But that is not what I wanted to talk about today.
I wanted to talk about diamonds. Not a very sensitive topic for those of us who cannot expect any this Christmas. Or for those of us who have never been given any at all.
Because, on a mummies night out earlier this week, I have realized that, however hard we might pretend that they don’t do anything for us, we all secretly love diamonds.
In my Baku days, when I was young and single and actually did not care about diamonds, I had a very pretty and very openly materialistic friend. She was so brutally honest about her love for expensive jewellery that some of her admirers thought she was just kidding. But of course, those admirers never became her boyfriends. And the ones who made it to the boyfriend stage, had to deal with some very unusual behaviour.
Once, possibly on the night of her birthday, I witnessed my friend run to her bedroom to retrieve a magnifying glass to analyze the quality of the diamond ring her then boyfriend presented her with.
‘Can you believe she is scrutinizing it like that in front of me?’ He exclaimed.
And she was laughing and kissing him’ But of course! I need to know just how much you really love me! ‘
Of course, such passion for diamonds is unusually extravagant. But what about some other types of us, girls? The types who you would never imagine even thinking about anything that sparkles?
That night, on a mummies’ night out, I ended up talking to a mother whom I barely knew, but already formed an opinion about. Always dressed very modestly, without any make up or high heels, she suited my Environmentalist category beautifully. Someone who is a bit of a hippy; perhaps spiritual, does not eat meat, and whose interests would never- ever! -involve any expensive jewellery.
As we sat there, discussing some aspects of Christmas, she suddenly reached out to touch my hand. She wanted to have a closer look at my eternity ring. She said it was catching the light beautifully. ‘We live in a place where you can really do some serious diamond spotting, don’t we?’she added thoughtfully. I explained that the ring was a baby/Christmas present years ago and she laughed, showing me her hands. She said that she had no idea what it would take for her husband to get her a diamond ring.
And I was shocked.
If you asked me to point out one woman in our entire village who would not care about material things, I would choose her. And yet, there was so much disappointment in her voice!
I told her a story about this Azeri girl I knew, who had got engaged in Scotland, and came back to Baku sporting the smallest diamond I had ever seen in my live.
‘I chose it myself.’ she told us proudly. ‘He took me to a shop and I insisted I wanted this one’.
'It is not about how big this stone is', she added. 'To me, it represents a piece of my fiancé’s heart!'
'Hmm...' whispered my materialistic friend. 'That is quite a teeny piece of his heart he gave her!'
The hippy mummy laughed. 'Why did she choose such a small ring then?' She asked.
Well, I told her.. Isn’t it obvious? We all want to show just how little these things matter to us. Just how non-materialistic and noble we are. So imagine the poor man's shock when, some years after, his wife expects and wants him to buy her some expensive gifts. Maybe she does not even act or look like someone who would want a diamond ring. Maybe, she looks like a vegetarian environmentalist type. And yet, deep inside, she would love to be given something special. Because, trust me. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.