Lambi Kahani of the Lambi Bindi

There are certain things that I have loved from when I was a little girl – the tiny nose stud, the bindi, Kajal for my eyes and of course sarees. I have never fallen out of love with these things. In 1978, when we visited my maternal grandparents in Tirunelveli during school holidays, I asked Seenu Mama about getting my nose pierced …  I was nine years old. He told me that it will hurt and asked if I was ok with it. I said yes and he brought the “thattaan” home. I sat on Appa’s lap and got my nose pierced on the right side as South Indians do. I didn’t cry. A little bit of blood formed a scab around the stud but soon it was fine and Appa had got me a tiny pearl stud that I wore till he got me the tiny diamond one in 1989, which I wear to this date and will wear it till I live. It reminds me of Appa everyday and it means the world to me because I met Krishnan soon after wearing it !!

Am rambling … but let me ramble in the right direction for this blog. The second item on the list, the Bindi has been a mainstay right through. First it was just the “saanthu pottu” or liquid kumkum that came in a tiny bottle with an applicator stick. It would last through the day if you didn’t sweat or go out in the rain.

The Eyetex liquid kumkum

I would collect all kinds of colors in liquid Kumkum but by the time I got married the sticker bindi had made its appearance. I started wearing the round red or maroon bindi but I always wanted to wear the “tilakam” or “gopi” bindi as my paternal grandmother would. She would wear it in the purple color kumkum and I still wonder how she drew it using the kumkum paste… I think she must have used a small wooden twig. When we moved to Delhi in 1997 – I was in Bindi heaven. There were all kinds of colours and shapes in bindis and I started matching them with my saree. Slowly the “lambi” bindi or the “tilakam” bindi started becoming smaller and smaller…. the really long ones went out altogether and I don’t like the smaller ones because I have a huge forehead :):). I also don’t like bindis that have glitter or tiny beads stuck on them. I want them just plain.

When I met Lakshmi through her awesome FB saree store – Kalpavastram, we started to discuss our varied interests and one of the things both of us like is the “lambi” bindi and the purple coloured “tilakam”. She and I thought we should get back to the old kumkum paste + kumkum powder solution but its really not that practical. She sent me a few packs of the “lambi” bindi that she buys from a store in Mumbai but they were very big for me. After nearly six months of her sending the bindis over, last month, I picked them up and found the address of the store and a phone number.

On a lark I called the phone number given there and much to my delight a person called Devendra ji answered the phone and said he can even send the “bindis” by courier to Gurgaon !!! We shared pictures of the type of “bindi” I wanted over whatsapp (How did we ever live without whatsapp???). Unfortunately his father fell ill before he could courier the “bindis” over to me.

KVAFA friends came to the rescue. We had our reunion in Delhi this year on Aug 16th and 17th and Sarbjit was going to Mumbai after that. He was returning to Delhi for a couple of days before flying out. So I immediately pinged him to find out where he was staying in Mumbai so that I could get a local courier to pick up the bindis and hand them over to him. Before checking with Sarb, I pinged Jayanth to see if someone in his Mumbai office could get them over. He got me a person’s name and address to whom I could get the bindis couriered. While all this was happening, I also pinged Rose and she simply asked me to chill after giving her the address of the shop. She went over, picked up the bindis and handed them over to Sarb :):). This is why you need school friends … they would do silly things for you, go out of the way to pick up something just because you were in the same class and friends all those years back. Apparently Devendra Ji even made extra slips of bindis just for me ! This is truly great customer service – Indian style. Krishnan and I went and picked up the “lambi bindis” from Sarb when he was back in Delhi. Not just the bindis, he also gave us a box of dodha burfis from Jallandhar’s Lovely Sweet shop …. We were in Jayanth’s office after collecting the bindis as LIC needed some papers to be signed and most of the burfis were eaten up by the three of us because they were just too yum. What fun.

The following are the two pictures of the two types of “lambi” bindis that Devendra ji sent over – his shop is in Andheri (W), opposite the railway station. I need slightly longer ones than these, but they are a good size and I have since been wearing only these everyday. Just enjoying the “lambi” bindi, much to my mother’s discomfort because she likes only the round bindis… after all her mom-in-law (my paternal grandmother) wore the lambi bindi so how can she like them, and if she doesn’t like me doing something, I have to do just that …. hahahahaha.

Really “lambi” story about the “lambi” bindis :). Thanks Rose, Sarb, Lakshmi and Devendra Ji – I remember you guys everyday as I put one of these on my forehead.

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