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Deepika Padukone Arrived Wearing This. What Does This Symbol Of Marriage Mean?

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Post the uber private wedding in Italy, Deepika Padukone came back home with husband Ranveer Singh in tow, and a maang full of sindoor. The couple’s homecoming pictures are nothing short of delightful – like lovebirds lost in reverie.  They came home to their loved ones, and their loving fans, in matching outfits and all the symbolic accessories of being married. But, wait… the last one holds true mostly for Deepika. She is the one adorning the accessories that instantly communicate ‘shadishuda‘ to anybody who takes a passing glance at her. She’s got the mehendi, the chooda, and the sindoor.

In the year, 2007, Padukone, in her movie Om Shanti Om, dramatically asked, “Ek chutki sindoor ki kimat tum kya jano, Ramesh Babu?” Now, we’re not Ramesh Babu, but we will attempt to answer the question.

It depends. Do you want herbal sindoor (about 70 rupees)? Or, a cosmetic one (over 200 rupees)? If you want one with sparkles, then it will cost you a bit more (about a 1000). But, you can make it at home with amla, turmeric and lime, and it will barely cost you anything at all. Apparently, this is the most recommended, and is how it was prepared before it became a commodity. The reason is that the ingredients allegedly increase sex drive. This also explains why unmarried and windowed women aren’t allowed to wear it.

But, don’t be disappointed. This red concoction, though, primarily a symbol of a Hindu woman’s marital status, is allegedly auspicious. According to Hindu astrology, this is the house of Mesha, which is the house of good luck. The red powder is also considered a harbinger of good luck. Hence, it is applied on the head, where the hair parts. It is also a symbol of the feminine energy of Parvati. It is said that a man who puts sindoor in his wife’s maang will always be protected by the goddess Parvati. The colour red is also a symbol of power, but it seems that this power is reserved only for married women, and for the benefit of their husband. Allegedly sindoor has health benefits like stress relief, and improved cognitive abilities. The other side of the argument is that the product we buy in the market contains lead, which is harmful for our health. In any case, this sounds like a consolatory price for the woman who now, is a walking billboard of her marital status, thanks to the shringar in her hair.

But, let’s not digress… ek chutki sindoor ki kimat. What is it? The woman’s autonomy? The woman’s worth outside of her marriage? The woman’s health even, maybe? The woman’s freedom to choose how she’d like to dress – married, or not? Submitting to archaic social practices? Ek chutki sindoor, or ek chutki regression?



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