As a mom, attending birthday parties, giving gifts, getting return gifts has become routine now. Two-three days ago, there was a birthday party for my friend’s four-year old daughter, my young friend.
I had been to the market to buy a gift for her. As I entered the shop what caught my eye were dolls lying on the shelf, arranged attractively. This instantly reminded me; I had once seen this young friend of mine very busy and fondly playing with her doll. And I thought she would like one as a gift. So I bought a pair, an Indian doll couple in traditional marriage costumes!
I wished to buy something else too. May be the chocolate candy, lying in the glass cabinet, I thought!
But I felt something was missing. The picture seemed incomplete, I wasn’t satisfied.
“What would she like?”, “How will she react when she opens the gift?” I was trying to put myself in my young friend’s shoes. I was in her shoes but was also carrying the baggage of my experience!
Something else was needed. Something in the picture was missing… I wanted to see her euphoric. Indeed something was missing!
All of a sudden, my eyes fell upon a Mehendi cone. I picked it up right away. And, gave the green signal to the shopkeeper, and said, “Ab yeh gift pack kar dena! (“ Now pack this gift”). The gift was wrapped in beautiful paper.
I was delighted!
I too felt like buying a Mehendi cone and so I bought one for myself. Mehendi cones in the market indicated that Rakhipoornima was around the corner.
I got home and marked my calendar, so that, I wouldn’t forget to apply mehendi, on my hand.
Without fail, the next morning, I took the cone from the refrigerator. Yet, somehow till late at night I totally forgot to perform this “task”. My son saw the cone lying on the table and he reminded me. I guess he likes to see the mehendi designs on my hand or maybe he likes to watch me draw patterns, the mehendi magic!
“Thanks!” I said to him. And, took hold of the cone, just before going to sleep.
I sat cross-legged, with a pillow to support my back, in a comfortable posture to focus my mind. I took a long breath. I was applying mehendi on my hand after about two years.
My mehendi safar or journey began then. I took off the pin from the top of the cone and pressed it slightly. It had a nice flow, as I had wished for!
Hmm… What design should I make? I was looking at my plain hand for a while. I thought I should draw a very simple design. So, I started with a big circle.
My safar continued for the next 30-40 minutes. I drew a main a pattern, and filled it up with pretty minute designs inside, spreading them out till they covered my palm and fingers. Keeping a balance of empty and colored spaces while creating the pattern. I completed my design in this way. I liked what was now black in color.
I looked around to share this sheer joy but only I was awake!
I carefully hung my hand carefully at the edge of the bed.
Next morning when I got up I found the bed sheet and pillow “safe” from the stain of henna. Instead Mehendi was glued on my hand and it was pretty.
I was curious to see if the mehendi had colored right? I scratched a small glued dot from the pattern. And found a beautiful brick colored dot underneath and then I carefully scratched the mehendi to reveal the entire pattern.
Aaahhh ! A beautiful dark brick colored pattern!
I put my hand in water. What a shine it had under the water! A shiny, radiant sheen! Even more beautiful!
Mehendi rang layi thee!
I was very tired when I started my mehendi safar. But when the cone came into my hand it took over and I was energized.
In those 30-40 minutes, my fatigue disappeared. I relaxed and experienced the pure joy of creativity, joy through art, the joy of a beauty! I felt reconnected after so many days. It was like a sudden and unexpected spell of rain.
This was a pure joy that came from the small things that have roots in culture and traditions.
Was this a gift from the month of sawan, the beginning of the monsoon?
Immediately I called my young friend’s mom and asked her, “Have you opened the gift”?
My young friend had opened it. And she had already applied mehendi on her hands. On her own hand and on her mom’s hands too!!
Mehendi rang layi thee!!
* Mehendi - henna.