The ‘BINDI’ Woman

All my childhood, I grew up seeing my mom following one ritual everyday, putting a “Bindi” on her forehead. Never ever she skipped this part of her dressing up. For me, this red dot on forehead was the most fascinating part of all and almost every woman around me adorned it beautifully. Watching my mum getting ready, I was always excited to put a bindi on my forehead. Sometimes, to make me happy, she used her kajal or eyeliner to apply a tiny black dot on my forehead. I’d skip away satisfied, sporting a big grin on my face.

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No matter to which part of the country a woman belongs, the relationship of mom and bindi is eternal. Now that I am all grown up and married, I love wearing bindis and have the freedom to beautify my forehead 24*7. But there is always some kind of hesitation when it comes to wearing bindis in our everyday life. And though I was never questioned or forced for wearing a bindi in my family, it made me wonder sometimes that all these years I have seen my mother wear it everyday and I don’t wear it?? Or think a lot before wearing it?? Why???

Many of us consider bindi to be of  ‘religious significance’ or all about ‘Hinduism’, but the reality is different. Wearing bindi is more of science and spiritualism than religion. The point right between our eyebrows, on our forehead is the point where the major nerves of the body meet. This point signifies the point of awakening and the position of the third eye. Apart from this, the point is also known as the position of the sixth, and most important chakra, ‘Ajna chakra.’ This connects directly to the pineal gland, known as “The Third Eye” in science. Being highly sensitive, this point receives as well as dissipates energy very quickly. Applying a bindi stops this outflow of energy, leading to less fatigue. The traditional bindis are made up of cooling elements like ash, sandalwood and turmeric, which strengthen the lower chakras and bring stability. People also associate bindi with married women, though children and single women also commonly wear it. Parents put bindi on their newborn babies to ward off the evil eye.

In modern times, however, the bindi’s symbolism is no longer strictly adhered to. Bindis now comes in all shapes, sizes and colors, and are largely used as beauty accessories. The portrayal of women has also changed very much over all these years. It is more of a fashion statement rather than being a part of daily attire as in my mother’s generation. Despite strongly identifying with our Hindu Indian heritage, we wouldn’t consider wearing a bindi in our day-to-day life for fear of being treated differently, or even maligned, not an unreasonable fear in these times. Everything going around us, be it, movies or advertisements or fashion shows, we hardly see any leading ladies wearing a bindi. We are blindly aligned with the fashion industry and keep altering our choices according to what’s latest, what celebrities follow, and most of all what everyone is following!!

People are apprehensive about wearing bindis just because they blindly follow something. I suggest a better approach is to cheer an attitude of engagement and contemplation before you decide and hold onto anything in life. Be curious, ask questions, do your research. What is your understanding of the bindi? Do you know the science behind it? Why are you wearing or not wearing it? Does a trend, a thought or a random friend influence you? Is your behavior likely to cause somebody pain or discomfort? Are you adding to a wider culture of insolence that you would otherwise not support? Or are you flinching just because you wore a bindi to a bar last night? We all do silly things at times, but nothing can stop you from being bold and decisive once you know what you are doing.

Despite its decline, bindi may never completely dissolve; its role is evolving. For the young woman of today, it is now a fashion accessory that makes up her traditional look. Also, it could multiply sales of a daily soap on an entertainment channel to millions. I don’t say or believe that wearing bindis can only prove us to be culturally sound, but don’t think of them as an insult either. We have started generalising bindi with not just traditional wear but archaic outlooks and narrow mindsets, which might not be true. You can’t judge a girl or a woman if she wears a bindi frequently. A woman draped in a saree with a bindi can be equally progressive and educated and modern compared to a woman wearing crisp pantsuits for a business meeting. It’s all in our mind. The quintessential Indian woman is an epitome of grace and beauty. With every step she takes towards equality and freedom, her beauty grows manifold. Short hair, long hair, fair skinned, dark skinned, tall, short, with bindi, without bindi, these things just add to her identity and make her more powerful and empowered. She is not afraid to explore and try new styles. She is not afraid to wear a bindi and rock it in a completely different way that’s edgy and absolutely adorable.

Discover ways and means to make the best use of these ‘doting dots’ and see how far you can stretch your limits. Maybe you will uncover your real style beyond the established and conventional norms. You never know, until you try!!!

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