Bindi: Status Symbol and Fashion Statement

Girl 1: What’s that?

Kalki: Bindi.

Girl 2: Where’d you get them?

Kalki: You can buy ‘em for like a buck at any Indian grocery, I have a shit-load.

Bindi is a forehead decoration worn in several South Asian countries, including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The word comes from the Sanskrit word bindu, meaning “a drop” or “small particle,” and is usually seen as a red or maroon dot. They may also be an elongated pear shape, or a series of lines on or around the forehead. Hindu women wear bindi primarily, but men may have these markings as well. Traditionally, the bindi is placed between the eyebrows – the area said to be the sixth chakra and seat of concealed wisdom, or representative of the third eye.

hindu-bindi

In India, the bindi still holds the symbolic significance of Hindu mythology for many women. In Nothern India especially, married women wear bindi as a marker of social status and to convey commitment to their husband. However, there are different regional variations of the bindi, and in much of South Asia the bindi is more of a decorative item worn as a fashion statement, regardless of religious affiliation or nationality.

bindi_2

The kind of bindi Kalki gives the girls are sticker bindi – disposable substitutes for the traditional kind made with kumkum or vermilion powder. Sticker bindi come in many colors, designs, and sizes. Some look traditional, but others may have rhinestones or other embellishments.

bindi cards

Women often wear bindi during ceremonial events and important rituals. By bestowing each of the girls with bindi, Kalki is acknowledging that they have completed a significant rite of passage.

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