Family matters, India, Me, Thinking hat

Colour me Red :-)


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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  1. I love henna. Someone feeding me and doing all the things for me for those few hours , makes you feel so pampered. ????????

    1. Exactly. It feels so special to be pampered like that! ????????

  2. i too love the smell of it..used to apply on hands when i was a kid.. pluck the leaves, grind it, then apply it on hands using some sticks.. all manually done.. it was a kind of play for us…

    1. Did you write on walls too? Henna writing ????????????

      1. yaa.. why not..;)

        1. Even I did that. Since Mehandi on hands were not allowed in school, I used to smear it on walls, paper and on others too.????????????????

          1. and i used to have regular fights with grandma for wall writing..

          2. ???????????????????? That proves it. Let girls be anywhere…they have the same naughty germs in them. ????????

          3. true…i liked it ‘naughty germs’ such a lovely word, no..

          4. Haha, yes. For lovely people like us the words need to be lovely too. Isn’t it Akhila? ????????

          5. absolutely my dear naughty germ..????????????????

          6. ????????????????????????

          7. 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. ????????????

          8. Holi hai!!! And smear it on them. ????
            Just joking, I used to smear Mehandi on my friend’s hands. She used to make these beautiful designs on her hand, her brother and I used to spoil it.????????????????

          9. You devil!! ???? My bro would come and push me while drawing..or he would threaten that he will play holi with it on my face wearing gloves. ????????????????

          10. Haha.. reminds me of this- once during holi , my friends and I, mixed all Colors, it turned out grey, they smeared it on their face (I am allergic so they put it on my hands and arms). Next day, their faces were still grey.???????????? They attended school grey-faced.????????????????

          11. Grey-faced..????????????????
            Allergy saved you…warna tumhara bgi muh grey ho jaata! ????????

          12. ???????????????? kyun hamesha muh Kala karna hai? Kabhi kabhi shades of black try karna padta hai????????????

          13. Nahi nahi yaar…laal…neela…kaala…sab colours try karne chahiye. No offense to any colour! ????????????????

          14. I forgot to mention this in prev comment -fifty shades of grey.????????????
            Ya, rainbow faced.???????????????? Vibgyor????????????

          15. ???????????????????? Did you see the movie?

          16. Na, I don’t read it watch such things. I am still a kid.???????????????? I am just 10yrs old you know.????

          17. Ahh! Good you told me your age baby, you were going to get a package with a stack of I-cant-tell-what now! ????????????????

          18. ????????????????????????????

          19. ????????????????????????????

          20. Typo -read or watch.????

          21. Read I assumed…watch I was curious. I watched only halfway. Go5 kinda boring.

          22. Curious??????????????????????????

          23. What else? ????????????????????????

          24. Curious about what?????????????????????

          25. Newton’s third law of motion. Does it apply there? Is it worth it? ????????????????

          26. ????????????????????????second law also holds good I think…????

          27. Ohh, it does?? ????????????????

          28. ????????????????????????????????????

          29. ????????????

        2. Haha….exactly! ????

      2. ???????????????? Oh yes!! The cones were like pens na…I used them to draw flowers and leaves on the wall. Got good spanking for it too. ????????????

        1. ????????????????????

          1. Seriously! ????????????????????

          2. I only tried it on others wall, not our house. See, I am a good girl.????

          3. I was a good girl too…but the other people came and complained na. ????????????????????

          4. So they are bad girls and boys. ????????????

          5. Yes. ????????????????

          6. Neighbors of varsha, are you guys seeing this?????????????????

          7. Hahaha…I think they assumed I grew up after having two kids. Genes don’t give up so easily though. ????????????????

          8. ????????????????growing up is like moving out of comfort zone isn’t it.????????

          9. ???????????????? sadly, yes. But it can be fun to keep the gun on others’ shoulders and continue. ????????????

          10. See, we can be harmlessly devilish too. ????????????

          11. Not all Devils are bad. It’s a wrong notion people have that Devils are mean.???? Look at us, are we mean or bad????????????????? We are awesome????????????????????

          12. Yes, exactly!!! Awesomeness was coined for us. People just have a hard time grasping it. ????????????

          13. ????????????????
            People reading this conversation between us are going to bang their heads against the wall.????????????

          14. ????????????????

    2. 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.

      1. may be i belong to your mom’s era..or grandmom’s era..;)

        1. Hahaha..I wouldn’t think so. Kerala is different. Your exposure to nature there isn’t even imaginable for us.

          1. he he lol.. you said it…and i would say, the nature ‘was’ so close to us in the good old days.. but feels a distant as we grew older..

          2. 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.

          3. hmm.. nostalgic..

          4. Yes. ????

  3. 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. ????????????

    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.

      1. Lemon makes hair rough right? Try tea and coffee decoction. You will get a nice copper brown color. ????

        1. Lemon I use for dandruff actually. I don’t think I felt any roughness as such. Next time will do that. Coffee and tea in equal quantities I assume?

          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.????

          2. Hmm ok. Dahi I heard too…but not about lemon juice as such…
            Rest of the procedure is the same for me too. Will follow your henna recipe next time. ????????????

  4. The post is very nostalgic. It reminded me about all the good things that come with Mehendi ????????????

    1. I got nostalgic while writing it too. I don’t get to apply it now as much and really miss it.
      Glad it rekindled some memories for you too Prajakta. ????????

  5. I have never tried it.. All the fun stuff seems to be for ladies.. There shud be for men tooo.????????

    1. I mentioned men too Bikramjit. If only they let go of their manhood for some time they can enjoy it too! ????????

      1. I know you mentioned men.. I am saying from my view..

        Hmm let go of manhood. . But does anyone know what manhood is..????

        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?

  6. nostalgic….. enjoyed reading…..

    1. I’m glad Sudhir. Thanks for dropping by. ☺

  7. 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. 😀

    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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