Monday, May 16, 2011

I Wanna Hold Your [Henna'd] Hand

I'll admit it, I had an India bucket list.  Eat delicious food (check), not get sick (fail), see a cow (a thousand checks) and get myself invited to an Indian wedding.  I wasn't able to swing the Indian wedding, but I did manage to capture a small part of the wedding fun by having my hands henna'd.

As luck would have it, we didn't have to search very far to find a reputable henna-er.  A salesman of famous Udaipur miniature paintings just so happened to have a wife who was a seasoned pro.  Of course he did.  And he offered us a low, low, special price.  We snapped up his offer with only a minimum of haggling.
Please look.  This brush, very fine. Made from hair of squirrel. 
So while the boys went for a shave, Jenn, Erica and I took a rickshaw through the winding streets of Udaipur to the modest home of the painting salesman, his wife, and their two young boys.

Jenn and I enjoy a masala chai on the roof while the wife collects her supplies.
We all plopped down on the couple's bed and the wife set to work, doing each of our right hands first, and then moving on to the left ones.   

She didn't speak much English, but we managed to communicate nonetheless.  She assured us that she was using "highest quality henna" and that she was drawing "typical Rajasthani design!"  She asked us why we weren't wearing lipstick, if we were married (if not, why? If so, children? Gasp! Why no children?) and showed us all of her saris.  The boys played cricket in the street outside and we told her that they were very handsome.

When the henna'ing was done, we were instructed not to touch anything until it dried.  Once the dye had set, we could scrub off the black stuff and our hands would bear the distinctive orange color of the henna.

My unscrubbed hands
The next day!  Lookin' orange for sure.
The three of us were super psyched about our henna'd hands!  What an authentic, typically Indian experience we had just had!  The novelty wore off about three days later, but unfortunately the henna lasted another three weeks.


  1. cool. can we hire her for zoe's wedding?

  2. I can't believe the boys missed out on this (though the shave looked pretty cool).

  3. Mom --- Ooooh... traditional Indian destination wedding??

    Josh --- They certainly got their own cultural experience :)


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