Mehendi and Sangeet, are an integral part of most Indian weddings.
Though I have heard from my grandmother that Mehendi was a near-taboo in our community in their time. Times change. My grandmother had no mehendi in her wedding, my mother had the simple one with 5 dots and I had an elaborate design right upto my elbows. At our request, grandmother also obliged and put a symbolic mehendi at my wedding.
I had decided to indulge in mehendi for M, according to my earlier theme ‘passion’. So I did. With the wedding anniversary approaching, it was very nostalgic.
Here’s my mehendi and a few tips – beginner to beginner :
1. If you have time, practice the designs on a paper first. Use the Mehendi cone as one would a pen.
2. Choose your design from one of the Mehendi genres – Arabic, Traditional Marwari, Bangle, etc. You can even make a design of your own. I picked designs from Pinterest.
3. Mehendi application is a process of intense concentration and patience. The lady who applied Mehendi for me at my wedding took 8 hours in all to complete both hands and feet! So make sure you sit with the correct posture and have arranged for hydration prior to starting.
4. The tip of the cone should be cut narrow/wide according to the size of the lines you wish to draw. Some people use 2 cones – one for the outline (broad) and one for the intricate patterns inside the outlined shape.
5. Don’t be too fussy over the accuracy of the shapes. Mehendi thrives on improvisation. Even the experts improvise on the reference design as the area of application depends on the size of the palm.
6. Enjoy! Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ll improve with practice.
7. If you are planning to have a meal while the Mehendi is still on your hands, leave out the tips of the fingers for later. However, make sure you apply nail colour (if you plan on it) even before you start the Mehendi.
8. Put on some songs (preferably Bollywood) which are effervescent in their tone.
9. Remove the Mehendi after at least 6 hours of application. Heat your palms on the stove and then apply some oil. It prevents the Mehendi from water. After approximately 6 hours of removing the Mehendi, apply Vicks Vaporub or a similar balm-like concoction. You’ll see the Mehendi darken within minutes. Do this for up to 4-5 days and the Mehendi will stay good for at least 10 days.
10. Finally, the purpose of applying Mehendi. Of course, you do it for yourself. But then, Mehendi is also representative of your love for the someone special in your life. And his, for you. Do not forget to show your love for him (and hide it from the world) by putting his initials or even his whole name or scattered alphabets in-between the flower petals or the checked patterns inside the Mehendi shapes. (That way, only he would know. That is, if he discovers. 😐 ) It is also said that the darker your Mehendi, the greater is his love for you. (I advise taking it with a pinch of salt, as the Mehendi colour largely depends on the henna concoction and the warmth of your palms.)