By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Nov 19:
Like every year, a host of Mehandi (henna) artists sprang up in different parts of Mumbai during Diwali, to make a fast buck by offering their designing services to women who invariably get their hands painted on the occasion of the festival.
These henna artists come from far off places, including Mira Road, Bhayander, and Nalasopra since they get clients easily during festivals. They sit on pavements and carry out their craft. On average they earn Rs 2000 and above per day. These artists, normally operate from their homes and offer their services during marriage ceremonies, etc. But during Diwali, they find to operate from the Mumbai pavements, more lucrative.
Speaking to “Imphal Times”, Shaheen, one of the artists said that since they operate from street corners, they are not required to make special efforts to look out for the clients, who automatically come to them. Besides, no client bargains about the charges. They create a unique and unusual self-portrait of hands, using abstract art. Normally Shaheen operates with three others- Nasreen, Munna, and Riyaz run her “Mahek Mehandi Arts” at Dadar in Central Mumbai. She also conducts the Mehandi coaching class at home.
Usually, Rs 500 and above are charged for full hand Mehandi (Front + back) in parlors and boutiques. However, these roadside artists charge anything between Rs 150 to Rs 200/-.
Ruksana, another artist who specializes in Rajasthani Shading and Arabian Colour Tatto is also one of the Mehandi artists operating from pavements during Diwali, Karva Chauth ( a festival celebrated by Hindu women on the fourth day after Purnima in the month of Kartika), and other festivals. The tradition of applying Mehandi is an integral part of many South Asian weddings. “This year there is a little slump in Mehandi work, but we are happy that we got at
least some work in these days of the pandemic”, Ruksana said.
Mehandi is a form of body art and temporary skin decoration originating in ancient India, in which decorative designs are created on a person’s body, using a paste, created from the powdered dry leaves of the henna plant.
Needless to say that attractive Mehandi designs attract women who like to get their hands painted with different designs and patterns. Aren, Linda, and Helis from Nagaland, working in Mumbai, were among those, who got their hands painted from on the henna artists at Swami Samarth Nagar at Andheri in North West Mumbai. Speaking to “Imphal Times”, they said that have been getting their hands painted from these roadside artists since they provide quality service at very economical rates, compared to beauty parlours charging astronomical rates.