Showing your henna is like
telling someone a secret about your soul.
art of henna is a common and intimate spiritual tradition in India among
brides. With the lower arms and hands as her canvas, the artist improvises a
drawing directly on the skin, channeling energy and translating body language
into meaningful pattern.
mother, daughter and cousin with henna walked by us after lunch in the Ashram
yesterday. Lacking a common language, Shay and I smiled and pointed to their
arms to compliment the henna swirls so foreign to us. After a fifteen minute game of
charades, we were zigzagging arm in arm with the women past the cows through the street
market to find henna. The daughter, Maneesha, insisted we be her canvas.
on the cool marble of the courtyard, Maneesha held Shay’s hand with her own and
painted with her other. She applied the henna as if frosting a cake, applying
even pressure with grace to the cone-shaped tube. One swirl led to a petal led
to a line, led to a dot, to another dot, another dot, unveiling brown mud that
danced down the arms to the fingertips.