Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mehendi better than tattoo ?

Getting people together is difficult, getting them together for a photograph is more difficult and if they are related to each other it’s the challenge of the day.
And if you want them all to be covered with different Henna designs at the same time then it’s the challenge of the decade.
So here I am with a top view of four pair of hands. They belong to my wife, sister, daughter and niece.
Actually it was no great feat for me as all of them are crazy about covering their hands (and feet if possible) with lovely Mehendi (Henna) designs, so they just jumped at the opportunity and this was the end result. click on the picture to see the full pic
Lawsonia inermis
I always marveled at the artistic talent of these skilled ladies who do their work in a jiffy, sitting for about 2 to 3 hours at a stretch silently producing design after design from their memory. They never refer any design books nor make any calculations about where to start and where to end.
As for the designs done on a bride’s hand (and feet) it is said that the groom’s name is embedded in the design (the alphabets scattered all over)
On the wedding night the groom is supposed to find all those alphabets till the complete name is formed. So the more skilled the mehendi lady is, the more the groom is going to be tormented.
Can you spot the name in the design below? This was done on a bride’s hand. I clicked about 10 or fifteen frames here and this is the best I could get.
And nothing like a smiling face to highlight the mehendi.
Mehendi and smiles
All said and done Mehendi is much better than a tattoo. For the simple reason its painless and will disappear in a week or so.

Its said that the more the spouse loves his wife, the more darker the mehendi gets. (so ye men make sure that your wife’s mehendi gets real dark the next day)
In India Mehendi ceremony is something that takes place on the previous day of the wedding and its fun as its an occasion to get together and have fun.

And then its also one reason to make your hubbies physically feed you as “you see I cannot pick anything with my hands, can you hold the glass for me?

A few notes:
Wash the area to be decorated with a good soap (one with a mud base) and water.
Mehendi should be kept for 2-3 hours till it is fully dry.
Scrape off the dry Mehendi and do not wash it with water for at least 24 hours, to ensure maximum colour.
Apply a mixture of lemon and sugar, at least twice, to the dry area.
After the tattoos are dried completely get some steam passing through cloves over the gas and apply Vicks for a good darkened color.
When the Mehendi starts fading and appears patchy, it can be removed by applying cosmetic body bleach.

Dont's :
Do not use an oily soap as this can prevent the color from setting properly.
After the mehendi is applied avoid washing the area with soap or water.
Avoid staying close to the air conditioner as it dries up the mehendi.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

We the "normal"

Sometimes traveling by train is boring and again it depends on the co passengers. But I had the good experience of traveling by the Deccan Queen, in which there were two blind men sitting opposite me.
What an experience. They were playing chess !!
It was a pleasure to observe and learn from them.
The minute they sat down, they set up the small magnetic chess board in between them. I observed their moves and found that for every move, they had to practically feel all the pawns on the board. Not only were they playing, but they were talking about every thing under the sun. The weather , the politics, anything.
When the train neared Lonavala, one exclaimed
“Lonavala jawal ala, chikki gheyache kaay?” (we are approaching Lonavala, should we buy chikki?) I am still trying to figure out how they gauged that? The distance? The smell of chikki?
The game progressed, the ticket checker came, one fished out the tickets from his pocket, got it examined and continued playing.
“Arey wah , Hatti marla ?” (bravo you killed my Elephant?)
There was not a dull moment through out my journey.
My observation was that the blind/deaf/dumb people “talk” more than a normal person.

For a photo exhibition of the Flickr group, the students from the nearby school were called for the inauguration. The fact that they were challenged (hearing impairment and mute) did not hinder their enthusiasm. (click on the pictures below to see complete picture)
Appreciation from the right quarters.
They examined each and every photograph and discussed among themselves the finer points.
I just went on clicking their gusto and animated talk.
sign language
We “the normal” people are the dumb ones as we rarely converse.

The real anguish of a deaf and mute couple was well enacted by Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bhadhuri in Gulzar’s Koshish.

By the way how does a blind man solve a Rubik cube puzzle ?
Designer Zhiliang Chen has come up with a new Rubik cube.
There are six different basic materials involved. They are Metal, wood, textile, rubber, plastic and stone. Different materials give people different senses, which thus enabled the blind men to play.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The missing beak

If you see that halo above me its because I was the only one who went to church on new year’s day while others were sleeping off. Not that I am that holy holy type and I do give the Sunday services a skip at times.
When you are out of the church after the Christmas / New year service there are these little guys selling all sorts of assorted balloons
This small boy was frantically trying to keep up with the demands of the customers.
I found that most of them were rejecting this pair of birds as “one beak is missing
I offered to pick it up and he was very apologetic and said “kum diya to chalega “ (Its OK if you pay me less)
You should have seen his smile when I offered him his full 10 rupees.

Back home, I was having my morning tea when his smile floated back, and I thought why not a photograph of the bird with the missing beak and my morning cuppa tea. After all its nice to see someone with a genuine smile early in the morning on the first day of 2010.