What do you do on a lazy Saturday afternoon? (Obviously the lucky ones who do not work on Saturdays!! )
I hennaed my hands! Yes that’s what I did to kill time! The last time I put henna was on my wedding and I was taken in by its strong smell. It was a traditional bridal Indian design for my wedding and it went right up to my elbows and halfway up my calf on my legs , all done by a professional.
So this time I decided to try my hand at putting henna without any formal practice. I had never even attempted putting henna on others hands because I simply didn’t know how to go about. I remember a couple of my Gujrati and Marwari friends who were very good with this. The designs seemed to flow out of the mehendi or henna cones without any smudging. I always wished that I could put up a henna design myself. I had this henna cone lying around in my refrigerator since ages and thus began my venture with the traditional art.
Since I did not have a mehendi book, the next best resource I could think of was the internet. After scouring the net for easy designs and patterns (you see, I am a beginner), finally I picked up a simple design. Although all the designs looked a bit topsy turvy and coiled up, I decided to go ahead with the chosen one!A mehendi cone is nothing but plastic sheets twisted into cones, and filled with the mehendi or the henna leaf paste. Initially the paste wasn’t coming out as fine as it should be but with a few nicks, it came out well. And then curve by curve, and with a few creative imagination of my own, I completed the whole design.
Then began the long long wait for the henna to stick to my hands and dry. Usually we used to put henna on our hands at night and then scrape it off in the morning for that lovely colour. The henna used to scrape off on its own while sleeping and when we got up in the morning, the first thing would be to clean up the sheets. I hated that part the most! To end this rigorous task, we simply used to cover up our hands with a cover and sleep peacefully at night without the fear of staining the pillow covers with henna.
Once dry, I lightly applied a sugar and lemon syrup coating on the henna with a cotton swab, so that the henna doesn’t flake off. Now once your hands are covered with henna, all you want to do is scratch your head or your back, or suddenly relieve yourself!! Aaaaaarghh!! Need to take out my Physics book and check out if any of the great scientists know what theory fits here! All I wished for is the morning sun…and voila, the henna had developed a deep color on my palms already. After keeping my palms ramrod straight for 12 hours, the pleasure I derived was amazing when I scraped off the henna from my palms. What lay beneath was beautiful…the fruits of my labour!!!