I feel, therefore I am...

Friday, January 19, 2007


I like my hands decorated with mehendi. In fact I remember to have pestered my mother to buy neatly wrapped mehendi cones, refrigerate them and then doodle at random on the left palm. (My first attempt at modern art!)

I don’t remember when was the first time I saw this rich green powder with a wild but intoxicating smell. But I vividly remember to have performed all the rituals of mehendi making; how the color changed from light green to rich green as water and tea extract united to give a luxurious silky paste; a concoction waiting for touch of creativity. Then I remember to have wasted several match sticks to make domestic designs or ultimately just smear the paste all over my palm…in sheer irritation…

Then a neighbor willing and able would take pity and promise to draw something for me…but only late at night. And how I waited patiently for her to finish her chores and trailed behind her as a constant reminder and then gaped in awe of the delicate lines falling in perfect intricate shapes. May be I was fulfilling vicariously my desire for perfect symmetry which my randomly wandering mind so completely lacks. I would do everything; so that the design would turn to that perfect shade…neither too dark nor too light. Somebody told me then that the color stands for marital bliss. The darker it turns the greater the bliss…did I believe? Not exactly. But still wished it would be true, coz mehendi would turn black on my palms.

Sometimes I don’t look at mehendi as thing of beauty to be enjoyed for a week. Is it not the very female mind; as intricate, as secretive and dark but pregnant in colors? And have you ever tried mehendi on the back of your palms? It will never show its true colors. So is female mind. Its intricacies and depths are hidden from the insensitive crowds. To a world deaf and blind to the sweet whims and secret fancies of a woman, this humble plant will make no sense beyond “heena”, the lowly.


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