February 19, 2012

Deep Red Love

[This post was previously titled Mehen'died', but I decided to change it, because one of my readers thought that it was about a girl named Mehen who died. :) Also, I didn't like the title much myself]

She gazed at her henna-stained hands. At the deep red, almost-black colour, the intricate and elaborate design. She brought her palms up to her face and breathed in the fragrance of the mehendi deeply. “Aah…”



She had always loved mehendi. She loved the fragrance of it (that most people hated), she loved how the wet mehendi felt so cold against her palms, she loved how beatiful the dark-green colour paste looked on her palms, she loved how the colour turned from a dull orange to a deep maroon overnight. Her hands never used to be henna-free. Soon as the colour started fading, she would mix a fresh batch, make a cone out of empty milk packets, add tea decoction to it (for the colour), and apply it meticulously to her left hand. She would dab it with a lemon juice-sugar mixture once it dried, and she would do it at regular intervals. She would sleep with her left hand outstretched, so as to not stain her mom’s freakishly clean bed-sheets. And then she would excitedly jump out of bed the next morning and run to scrub the dried sticky mehendi off. By the next day, the colour would have deepened. She was famous in her school for her perpetually henna-stained hands.

But more than anything, she loved how the mehendi depicted the idea of marriage. She had seen hundreds of brides with their henna-stained hands, glowing on their wedding day. She hardly noticed the colour of their sari or the shine of their jewels. The first thing she noticed was their hands. And if the bride was someone she knew very well, she wouldn’t hesitate to take their hands and take in the fragrance of the mehendi. She couldn’t wait for her own wedding so that she could apply elaborate, intricate designs on both her hands and feet. Somehow, others just didn’t get how heavenly the smell was. To her, it smelled of hope, love, happiness. It symbolized the future. It symbolized the warmth of the man she loved.



“If the colour of your mehendi turns out to be very dark, your husband will love you very much”, her cousins had giggled. She sat there, gazing at her palms, at the deep red colour that matched the colour of the deep red Kancheevaram wedding saree that she was wearing.

But today, the mehendi didn’t smell of hope or love or happiness. It smelled of broken dreams, broken hearts and broken lives. Of promises that couldn’t be kept and moments that couldn’t be forgotten. Of compromises and apologies. Of a future that was unimaginable and a warmth that could not be replaced. She felt weighed down by the weight of the sari, the jewelry and the jasmine flowers that decorated her hair.

She took one last look at his message before deleting it from her inbox and her life. “I’m sorry, for everything. For entering into your life, for falling in love with you, for giving you hope. But I had to let you go. Maybe in another life, another birth… Take care, be happy, and always remember that I love you like no one else can love you. You deserve the best, and I’m sure your husband will give you just that. Love…”

But she couldn't delete it. Would deleting a message help her delete him from her heart or her mind? She saved the message to another folder, like how she had saved everything about him, about them together, to a folder named 'Past', and got up from the chair. It was time for the muhurtham. Time for her to move on to her future. Time for her to get married to the man who the Gods of Mehendi had predicted will love her a lot, because the colour says so.

81 comments:

  1. This was a beautiful beautiful piece Chechi. I myself am in the middle of a post about mehendi ;)
    Utterly remarkable writing :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. OMG ! This feels like you have written about me (except the last part)!! I do exactly the same things and yes the mehendi gets real dark on my hands and I wonder the same thing ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) Maybe the Mehendi Gods have loads of love in store for you. :)

      Delete
  3. Loved it..! beautiful <3
    Although it ached!

    ReplyDelete
  4. My heart nearly stopped! Lovely story. (well not a predictable one :D)

    Keep writing :) :*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought it would sound cliched actually. Well, glad it's not. :)

      Delete
  5. Wow!! I so so so loved this.

    I was almost there. Almost.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Beautiful. That is all I can write now. Hope is what keeps any person going.

    ReplyDelete
  7. love affairs end, but love lingers on.
    or so i hope.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I liked the last line the best.

    (The narration could have been a little more crisper?)

    P.S. - Was this post written mostly with that last line in mind?
    Just asking, because I sometimes write stories similarly. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Also, just noticed the title for this story. I wish it weren't so flippant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope, I didn't write it with just the last line in mind. The last line came only at the moment. :)

      The title kinda sucks, I know. :( I couldn't think of anything else at that time. Then I just let it be.

      Delete
  10. nice story. I was always so jealous of people whose hands the mehndi gets dark colors in. Mine , ti gets only to a sickly dark orange however long I put it on..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww.. Maybe you should try the lemon juice-sugar mixture. Or eucalyptus oil.

      Delete
  11. Wow, awesum one Spiff..

    nice title, nice story, nice twist :)

    actually, I believe in this story - I knw someone who hd this same issue.. n eventually ppl just learn to compartmentalize it into a folder called 'past' n move on..

    Mehen'died'....Beautifully written, Spiff!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Raj. :)

      And you're right. This can hardly be called fiction. Happens in real life too.

      Delete
  12. Such a beautiful story...reminded me of my childhood when I too was a Henna-freak..i did each and every single thing that she did...applying lemon-sugar, sleeping with my hands outstretched...getting scolded by Mom...well that craze has faded with time...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My craze for it still hasn't faded. :) I still love it, but I just don't apply it so much anymore.
      And thank you. :)

      Delete
  13. Divya,

    Here is a little something. U might be getting this, over and over again, I guess.

    http://devanexpresses.blogspot.in/2012/02/versatile-blogger-award.html

    ReplyDelete
  14. The way you have amalgamated our most traditional belief and an inevitable event in life! At loss of words for the simplicity of the whole post yet such a unique thought! hats off!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You just made my day, babe. Thank you so much. :)

      Delete
  15. Nice.. you should do fiction on your blog more often.. ah, the smell of mehendi.. I love it !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not great at writing fiction. that's why I don't do it more often. :/
      It's a divine smell, isn't it? :)

      Delete
  16. nice header..
    sigh..story be well..nice..
    god bless..tc

    ReplyDelete
  17. nice header..
    sigh..story be well..nice..
    god bless..tc

    ReplyDelete
  18. Kill me if it pleases you, but I thought some one named Mehen died. My silliness aside, nice post. Try fiction, works for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :D :D There! I changed the title. Are we better now? :)

      Delete
  19. I love the bittersweet feeling the post has left me with. There's hope and there's a fresh beginning. That's how I see it. Nice template. :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow.. Nicely written... Although I thought mehan-died was a cool title..!! Deep red love is nice but title-wise i think it turned from intelligent n cool to common and mushy :) just my view.. The content was beautiful though :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nooo!! Don't say that! :( You really think Mehen'died' was better?

      Delete
  21. I quiet liked Mehendied and the pun in it.

    You make me long for some Mehendi. Gosh! it's been so long.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe I should put it to vote and change the title back. :P

      And go go, go put some mehendi.

      Delete
  22. I wrote a comment and when I tried to publish, it has vanished... :( anyways here it goes again..

    I had always dreaded this situation in my life..of losing my love...forced to accept someone else in his place...living with that void.. got lumps in my throat reading the last para...feeling so grateful to God that I got him forever...tat no more nightmares of losing him..

    Sharp thoughts and words :) :) and the title is just apt..

    ReplyDelete
  23. Awww...you've done it again! Oh and I think Mahendied would have nailed it. The more morbid, the better.

    But that's just me. I was born in the dark side you see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya, it was way too morbid. :/ Thanks babe. :)

      Delete
  24. mademoiselle! An award waiting for you at my blog :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Awww..... that was just so touching - resignation and hope.... very, very nice!

    ReplyDelete
  26. But why hold on to something that has ended, especially when you are about to begin a new chapter in your life?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because it was an important part of your life, and no matter what, some thing just can't be forgotten?

      Delete
  27. why is my comment not thr! I did comment erlier :(
    and I have always believed that the mehendi colour being dark and saying tht this shows ur husband will be awesome or your mother in law with her great, is just done to inculcate in the bride some hope..
    Beautifully written!

    ReplyDelete
  28. That's a wonderful post! Oh! I read your blog after a long time. And I just realized how much I've missed your writing! :) Your blog will be my regular reading material this summer! As it had been last summer! :D
    Keep ooon posting! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, I was wondering where you had vnished off to. :)

      Delete
  29. A beautiful post.

    when I read the first para, I almost felt you were writing about me. Could so well relate to it !

    Would love to read more :)

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your username reminds me of the amount of Kismi bars I used to hog as a kid. :)
      Thank you. :)

      Delete
  30. ow...so well written..and touching

    ReplyDelete
  31. This is brilliant stuff. Though a little filmy, but brilliantly written.
    Following you up :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Main hoon hi thodi filmy. :P
      Thanks babe! Love your name. :)

      Delete
  32. Hmmm..Okei it reminded me of some memories I'd rather forget.So I thought I'll not comment.

    But then I liked it.Totally.There is sadness,there is hope..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya, I've read that post of yours.. *hugs*

      Delete
  33. You earned pretty good bucks on this one too.. Hmm?;) ah! I almost had the fragrance of mehendi uplift around me. I sooo love it. And wait for my wedding day too tht way:) mehendi and it's charm!
    Here in north India we say it's the mother in laws who'll be kind to u if u have rich coloured mehendi!:D but that's a joke:p sigh.... If only life had perfect things to offer, it wouldn't be called life then.. Right?


    Is this my first comment on ur (s)cented blog?:) PeeVee told me u too are a great fan of Calvin n Hobbes!:) hifive on that8)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh MY! Reading such stuff disturbs me! But yea,what's life without hope.

    ReplyDelete
  35. this is my first on ur blog..simply loved the way u write..!

    ReplyDelete

My blog is a foodie, just like me. It's favourite food is comments. So please do take a few minutes out to leave a comment. And please be nice! :)