Thanks, Catherine (and a visit to an Indian henna market)!

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Posted by Rupal on September 11, 2002 at 10:22:49:

In reply to: Re: Namaste from India posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on September 10, 2002 at 13:49:01:

I wrote down a bunch of your questions and i hope to answer them
tomorrow morning! I had the greatest time today in an area of Mumbai
called Bindi Bazaar (pronounced Bajaar by my relatives).

This area is the best place to find readymade mehndi cones, books,
oils, etc. in central Mumbai, and the mehndiwalas have the most
amazing tool. They have a large apparatus, about 4 feet high, with a
metal vat which has about 2 gallons of volume. They fill this vat to
the brim with henna paste. coming out of the bottom of the fat is a
spiggot with a lever, and the artists use this spigot to get equal
volumes of mehndi paste into each cone that they roll. Using this
technique they make about 50 cones in a few minutes.

As for cone rolling, the most common cone used is bi-layered (this is
the kind of cone that i've sold on my website, in case you need to
picture it). The inner layer is a plastic sheet and the outer is
decorative mylar. The artists put one sheet on top of the other,
slightly offset, and then they quickly roll each cone in about 2
seconds, using 6" x 8" dimensions and rolling the tip from a point
1.5 inches in on the long end of sheet. They then stick a pin into
the tip, THEN they secure the cone with tape. They work so quickly
it's amazing.

Hmm, what else is at the market? tons of books, oils, perfumeries,
tons of different powders. I was hoping to find some bright green
powder to buy but since suppliers add dye to hide bad mehndi powders,
color isn't a safe indicator of quality anymore. Down the street
from the mehendiwalas I bought 10 different colors of Rangoli powder,
and i'm armed and ready with several books to do rangoli at home.

I will also be bringing back books from Saroj Oza, aka Khannabhai;
his designs are very traditional and very beautiful, so if anyone is
8nterested please let me know. my email is
anyway . . .

Nail polish mehndi is also huge in India right now. I might ask Usha
and Ekta about how it works, but it really is a technique of applying
nail polish directly to the skin. as i mentioned before this
technqiue seems less than great to me, but it is all the rage since
it's easy to remove. I might try to get a small nail polish design
done just to see how they carry it out.

Anyway, talk to you all later. i'll send an update once I meet
Ushaben. Acc. to my aunt, Usha taught me henna when I was a little
kid, but i have no memory of it. i'm excited to meet her though!



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