The Mehandi Designer
Well! Our vacation in India flew past and here I am again!
As usual, vacation was a blast. This was our evening schedule- Kunjunni and Kunjichechi would come over regularly every evening. When it would be time for dinner, Kunji chechi would make a beeline for the kitchen. She would be the one to flip the chapattis for she really loves to cook.
At 8, everyone would make themselves comfortable in the living room. Then we would watch “Sell Me the Answer” until the show ended at 9, which was the time Kunjunni and Kunji Chechi would get shooed away by Granddad to go home. Mom and I would watch them cross the street to their home and then wave to them from our window. Everything went on like this for a few weeks.
When we went shopping for groceries once, I spotted mehandi cones and bought one. I like putting on mehandi and I rarely find good quality cones too, so this was a golden opportunity.
When I had put it on my palm and showed it to Kunjunni, he was intrigued. Kunji chechi asked me to put mehandi on her hand too, and we did while watching ‘’Sell Me the Answer”. Even Kunjunni drew a flower.
The next time as I applied it Kunjunni watched me. He sighed “I want to put on mehandi too, but I can’t. I even like long hair and tying and styling it but I can’t do that either. But what to do, I was born a boy.” I chuckled and went on.
Kunjunni declared one day that his school was holding a mehandi drawing competition at the end of August. The winner would also get a prize. He wanted to go for it. I encouraged him but also warned him it was going to be tough. But he decided it was worth a try. First he had to find someone who would allow him to draw on their hand on the day of the competition.
Well long story short- none of the girls in Kunjunni’s class OR the next class allowed him to. But finally, FINALLY, a guy in his class agreed, and even that was because Kunjunni told him that not only the winner would get the prize but the partner too.
I never really realized he liked this so much, but soon he had decorated Grandma’s and Mom’s hand. Kunji chechi and Valyamma said ‘no way’ even before he could ask.
After Kunjunni signed up, most of the other guys decided to go too. Some were thinking of doing Batman or Spiderman designs. I raised my eyebrows at that one.
Three- quarters of the girls joined too. It’s tough competition.
‘’You know, a person has only two hands. And not everyone is going to allow you. Plus you are going to need a lot of practice. So where are you going to draw the next time?” I pointed out while he decorated the back of Mom’s hand. “I’m going to have to stick with paper.” He said grimly.
The school had originally planned a face-painting competition, and then later changed it to mehandi designing. Probably good too, because if everyone was reluctant to offer a palm, a face would be out of the question. “Plus nobody has a smooth face” Kunjunni said. “Except you”, Kunji chechi snorted. “You haven’t grown a mustache yet.” Kunjunni glared.