Tuesday, October 25, 2011

0 Fuss over the red dot

"Have you kept a bindi?" - a simple little question that irks me a lot. Not keeping it can signify many things as you will find in this post.

What is it about this red dot that is so commendable that it has to adorn a women's forehead.

A colleague who had been working with me for 2 months suddenly asked on one fine day - Are you a Christian.. a Muslim maybe? I was stupefied by the question ..Of course I am fighting to get married to one;-) but my name prominently emphasizes my Hindu roots. But what made this lady doubtful? She said "You never keep a bindi. So I thought you are not a hindu". Not that I have a problem being categorized into any religion but the fact that this little red dot dominated my identity was worrisome.

Some people advocate that it should be only "maroon" in color because a black bindi will bring ill luck. I have seen that serial ladies (on TV) flaunt all colors - blue, violet, green - some of it looks ugly but nevertheless traditional right. It signifies marriage and the husband's longetivity is threatened by what you keep on your forehead. After all, women are forced to shed their identity after marriage and again forced when the husband dies to metamorphose into "no needs" widow.  And our symbol Bindi does just that - steals identities.

To give an accessory unnecessary importance is nothing new to the great Indian culture - the flowers, the Saree and way its tied, the bangles. I have heard some explanations as to why this is good - "In earlier times, bindi was made from turmeric and other herbs (pure kumkum). When kept between the eyebrows, a bindi warms the nerve/area below it. This nerve contributes to concentration and brain power". Agreed, this might be true. When you press this area you do feel some relief and when you perform yoga too, concentration on this area is emphasized.

But our bindis are different - they are made out of plastic and tiny in shape and even if the above argument is true, our new bindis dont serve the purpose. And what about men - dont they need the intelligence too? Why are they not forced and why does nothing change for them before and post marriage? And pat came a reply from one old lady "Men dont need these symbols. They are more important for a women". 

Any answers please??


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