When I was 16 I had my I-want-a-tattoo period but, although it was something common among people of my age, my father always threatened to throw me out of the house if he would have seen a single mark on my skin. Since I needed my parents’ permission (and it was clear that I wouldn’t get it) I gave up.
However, when I was thinking of an idea for this blog my tattoo period came out again but this time, probably influenced by an Indian friend of mine, my curiosity drove me to the millenary tradition of Mehndi tattoos, better known as henna tattoos.
So, resolved to get my first henna tattoo, I asked my friend for help.
At the beginning she seemed a bit hesitating because, even though she would have loved to “see a piece of India” (as she claimed) on my skin, she wasn’t an expert, and those kinds of tattoos are quite complicated. Anyway, I managed to convince her, and our search for henna paint could start.
We thought that looking for henna would be easy but we spent more than two days entering every shop that could sell it without actually find anything.
When we were almost about to give up we eventually found a small shop in Camden Town where we bought a black readymade henna paste. My friend explained to me that the traditional process would call for fresh henna leaves mixed with oil, but if we had struggled to find readymade henna we couldn’t hope to find anything better.
Moreover we were running out of time and my friend was quite worried because the paint takes more than a couple of hours to dry. We hadn’t that much time, so she had the brilliant idea to start tattooing on my hand on the train back to Kenton!
There were 18 stops between Charing Cross and Kenton and at every stop she drew something on the palm of my left hand letting it dry when the train was moving.
I don’t know if everybody in the tube was staring at us wondering what we were doing but that was definitely the feeling I had.
Once we reached Kenton my hand was completely covered with weird decorations. On the palm there was a sort of half moon linked to the fingers by lines of dots. Furthermore every fingertip had a different ornament ranging from the full coloured thumb, to stars, dots and stripes on the other fingers.
The henna took two hours to dry which meant that I couldn’t close my hand or touch anything the whole time. Nevertheless once dried it didn’t look as bad as my friend thought it would be and I was quite satisfied with the result.
Now it’s up to you to judge the work!