Today was my chance to learn the indian skills of rangoli, mhendi, sari draping, roti rolling and to cap it off a spot of Bollywood,
We started with rangoli, essentially the ancient folk art of sprinkling marble dust in intricate patterns and symbols on the outside threshold of indian homes. The green pot represents Pongal, the harvest, an overflowing pot is symbolic of a good harvest and the white lamps, well even I got that one -Diwali!
Apparently, the "good" southern indian housewife, gets up in the morning, washes all her floors, wets the area outside the house (so the marble dust does not fly away) and does her rangoli (like the flower above or an even more intricate pattern) to frighten away any bad spirits that arrived in the night, and all before showering or even a cup of tea.
The "bad" south indian housewife - our teacher was very scathing about this - produces something not quite as beautiful:
I had to have a go - looks pretty straight forward - sprinkling sand on the ground - no way!! Something about pinching the marble dust between your thumb and next finger, rubbing your thumb and a steady line of vibrant color will be produced - dream on!!
One "exceptionally bad, unmarried" south indian lady! - but it was a lot of fun.
Next came mhendi, the painting of intricate lace patterns on your hands with henna. A bit like frosting a cake!
Then sari draping - how a strip of silk, with a few twists and turns, in few minutes can become the most elegant mesmerizing outfit! Our ladies looked wonderful until they moved! Apparently, for us foreigners, you can buy the pre-stitched/assembled, ready to wear version which will safely negotiate an evening out without unintentional reveal!
Last but not least, the Bollywood lesson, what fun and what a work out. Luckily I was taking the pictures, so no glimpses of me in action - but we all managed a few minutes of (almost) co-ordinated dance, complete with scarves, hip wiggling, sultry glances and cheeky moves: