Colour me Red :-)

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It either has dedicated lovers or staunch haters; there’s no in-between. The whole process of transformation from dry light green to wet dark green to dry blackish and then the final lovely crimson is enthralling for few, while others simply equate it with the droppings of milking sacred animals.

Get it yet? What else can it be, other than the humble Mehndi, or Heena as it is more eminently called? For the record, I’m amongst the lovers. 😀

I belong to a traditional Marwari family (with almost none of their qualities though) where some or the other big or small ritual is observed almost every other week, especially by the women in the family. Any festival or puja is considered incomplete without the women flaunting beautiful mehndi designs on their palms and sometimes even legs.

Though mainly considered a female thing, at the time of weddings or important occasions even men are made to apply it as a symbol of good luck. My Dad was never averse to it and willingly sat down to get his hands smeared with it. Thankfully, A is the same. My brother, on the other hand, would talk to me only through a handkerchief over his nose for at least two days. 😛

When I was younger I studied in a convent which thankfully did not have the ‘no-mehndi’ rule like most convents today. Even when nothing more than a flower could find place on my tiny palm, my Mom would expertly make a rather beautiful one. Her skills might’ve rubbed on me, since I got quite good at it myself when I grew up.

There is something nostalgic about the whole thing. Blackmailing our near and dear ones to feed us when we were drying the mehndi on our hands, fighting with the magically appearing itchy feeling every time until finally requesting someone to do the needful for us, dusting the wayward shards of dry mehndi stuck to our clothes and from our bed the next day, etc. was fun! 🙂 🙂

Whether it is applied on hand or used for hair-conditioning, I simply love its smell! The way Mom sieved it through a muslin cloth and then soaked it with Nilgiri oil overnight gave it the aroma and shade that the chemically made readymade cones available in the market cannot even come close to.

Which side are you on? Do you have any anecdotes to share?

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77 thoughts on “Colour me Red :-)

      1. On others? I actually practiced drawing it on Mom’s hands. She would take her peaceful afternoon nap while I drew on her hands. She had no patience for my crawling pace otherwise. 😂😂😂

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    1. You did the plucking too? Wow…that’s so cool. We had to make do with the packets my Mom got outsourced from our native.
      Yes, Mom said they applied with matchsticks too. By our time I guess modernisation had set in. Ever since I remember we used cleaned plastic bags of milk and made them into cones.

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      1. It never was for us .. I mean cities take you away from such small fun experiences. As we grow older there’s so much else to know and learn that something right in front of us gets taken for granted.

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  1. I love colouring my hair with Mehandi. Not just reddish orange tinge, you can experiment with various Colors. Indigo leaves with henna gives Burgundy, coffee and tea decoction with henna gives copper brown. 😀😀
    There are few options I found on internet to color your hair purple using henna, I am yet to try that. 😂😂😂

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    1. 😂😂😂 Is it? I love colouring my hair with henna too. In fact I did it just yesterday. That’s when the whole idea for this post developed. 😊😊😊😀
      I use tea decoction mostly while soaking the henna and add some lemin juice to it too.

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      1. I don’t know, I read it somewhere that lemon or curd removed moisture from hair and makes it rough.
        Tea and coffee powder I use spoon each, boil it in water, cool and strain. Mix with henna and keep it overnight. once you apply you can keep it for an hr or so, by then you will get brown color.😊

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      1. Oh that’s a different topic altogether. On the face of it, let’s just say people think manhood is not doing something girls like and enjoy doing. Right?

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  2. Suprisingly I love getting those pretty desings drawn on my palms too. And the smell, I’m okay with it but my friends aren’t, very like your brother. I also heard that the darker the color it leaves, the more your husband/future husband is going to love you. Haha. That is something I was told when I was a kid. I don’t believe it though because mine’s usually dark orange. 😀

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    1. Haha…yes the darker colour and love connection. I forgot that while writing. 😛 Even now anytime I apply it I tease my husband that if it isn’t dark he’s going to pay for it dearly. 😂
      I think women mostly enjoy the colour and smell. Guys think its a girl thing so may be that’s what puts them off. Their loss. What say? 😁

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