Bindi that tiny dot that Hindu women put on their forehead, intrigues a lot of people When I visited Amsterdam many years back, my Dutch friend’s girlfriend kept quizzing me about a tiny blue bindi that I wore with a kurta. I saw firsthand how foreigners are so in awe of our traditional dress and adornments. My first exposure to the bindi was probably through my mum. She always had a bright red bindi on her forehead that looked immensely pretty and brought her face alive. She only wore saris and traditional Indian salwar kameezes, and it really suited her. Most Indian married women of her generation wore their bindis stringently. She also regularly wore her glass bangles and toe rings. For her, they were a symbol of being a married woman that she proudly sported. My sister and I wore more western clothes and having been brought up in Mumbai, would not be seen dead with a bindi on our forehead and oil in our hair teamed with something like jeans or skirts.

But I did wear colour-coordinated bindis when I wore salwar kameezes or churidars like many girls of my generation. Bindis then really complimented my look. After marriage, unlike my mum, I did not really take to wearing bindis or any other traditional symbol of marriage. If it was a festival or a traditional gathering, I dressed up with gusto. My husband did like me wearing bindis with traditional Indian wear that I mostly did but never wore it with the western clothes that I tend to favour. I can live in my jeans. So comfortable!

Then I came to live in the South. I noticed that women, even young girls wore a small bindi on their forehead. Apparently, it is a custom here. Would love someone to elaborate the significance. Little girls wear it with their school uniforms too sometimes clashing with strict school guidelines. Slowly, I started wearing really tiny bindis, mostly embellished ones. And now with two kids, even with traditional Indian wear, I somehow lost the habit of wearing bindis. Along with painting my finger nails and so many other things that I did regularly when I was younger and let’s say more enthusiastic.

Recently, I started going to the temple on Saturdays. And that is when I reconnected with the tradition of wearing a proper round maroon bindi on my forehead. The other day, my younger son asked if I had gone to the temple. I answered in the affirmative. He said he could make out since I wore a bindi. That made me smile. I didn’t realise how I had gone from liking bindis to hardly ever wearing a bindi person.

Then he asked why do you wear a bindi? I know it was used to beautify one’s looks and along with sindoor (vermilion) is considered an overt expression of being married. But then young girls or those who are unmarried also sport bindis. So I guess, bindis have become more of an adornment than a religious symbol, worn or not as per one’s wishes.

So, there you go, one tiny conversation led to these bindi tales. 🙂 Would love to hear if you sport bindis and like them?

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24 Thoughts on “My Bindi Tales

  1. What a cute post Rachna. I used to love wearing bindis all through my working days. I’d draw out ones with liner. Once all of us friends challenged each other to use a letter of the alphabet each day to draw a bindi – like an A to Z of bindis :-D. That was fun. Now it’s all gone. I hardly ever have the need/opportunity to wear Indian clothes so bindis are out, except on festivals or special occasions.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Have you heard of The Wind Done Gone?My Profile

  2. I really liked this post. I had no idea that unmarried women and girls were wearing bindis on their forehead now. Is it a new trend?

  3. In my family, wearing a bindi used to be an unwritten rule. How my Mama ji would pester us to put a bindi, even when we wore jeans and stuff. Then, we grew up (thankfully) and became more rebellious. We would wear bindis only when we wore sarees or salwar kameez.
    Now, I am mostly in jeans or track pants. Even on days when I wear a churidaar, I forego the bindi. I do apply an artistic bindi with a black liner when I wear sarees. That’s something I love! This reminds me of a colleague in the school I taught, who used the liner to draw such magnificent bindis! I was so inspired by her!

    I too have given up applying nail paint now. Guess, with age, I changed. 🙂
    Cute post, Rachna! 🙂 <3

  4. Kept nodding to everything you have mentioned Rachna. My Mom has always worn her Bindi – a nice round one. I always wear them only when I wear traditional wear. Not sure of the reason why it is worn, but it sure makes one look beautiful 🙂

  5. You look so pretty in all the pictures! <3

    I love western wear and am mostly always in them, but whenever I go traditional, I go all the way with biindi and all. I love the concept of a bindi, it can change ones face altogether if done right. But, I'm never the one to go with a bindi and western wear. I probably will never be able to pull that off!
    Soumya recently posted…Action Replay + Gratitude List: July 2019My Profile

  6. I used to occasionally wear bindis when I used to live in Delhi and especially on festive occasions and family functions or gathering at the relatives’ places. In Bangalore, I forgot all about the bindis and once in a while if I did wear the Shilpa bindi, it came as a surprise to my friends who were the same as me – the non-bindi types. I think I like wearing them.
    Anamika Agnihotri recently posted…When reading and writing are not enough… #MondayMusingsMy Profile

  7. You look so pretty with bindis. My mom wears maroon bindis. She wears the shakha and pola as well. I don’t really wear bindis. When I used to perform on stage then yes, I would put on bindis. But even with traditional wear, I felt I didn’t look good with it. Slowly though I now wear bindis some days when I’m wearing traditional attire. But that too occasionally. I think bindi enhances the looks of so many women and it is an accessory now and I like it that way. To be put if and when a woman wants to just like you do.
    Nabanita Dhar recently posted…How Women’s Rights Are Being Sabotaged With Gender DiscriminationMy Profile

  8. Such an interesting article Rachna. I am from the South and I have a bindi most of the time. Though I rebelled during school and college about not wearing it with western wear, now it is a standard tradition in South for married women. I cannot do it with stones, since I have a big forehead and it doesn’t suit me at all. The regular maroon stickers or sindoor are ones I prefer as it suits me well, irrespective of the size, usually the bigger the better.

    Coming to the story I was told, just like Shiva’s third eye, the chakra is all about intuition and inner wisdom. Though as kids, my cousins and I were told, it was easier for strangers to mesmerize us if we don’t adorn a bindi. So we were scared and abided by their ground rules. Later, I learnt about bindi being the 6th chakra point out of 7 chakras and it enables us to access our inner wisdom with a greater ability and behave unbiased and truthful at all times, if we work on our chakras well. Even as a widow a hindu woman can wear a black bindi, whereas they say married women are forbidden black.
    Jayanthy G recently posted…Why School Parent Communication Apps Are Essential TodayMy Profile

    • Thanks for that detailed explanation. That helped. I had helped about the chakra theory from someone. Is it only applicable for women not for men? Yep I saw that black bindi on a widow which is again a South Indian tradition, I think.

  9. We were strictly told not to wear bindi with school uniform. It does look very pretty with Indian attire. And I think women look very beautiful with Bindi on the forehead. Don’t know about the religious reasons, but I always wear when when I am wearing a saree. 😀 I hardly get a chance to wear one now.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…From the hospital bed!My Profile

  10. We were strictly told not to wear bindi with school uniform. It does look very pretty with Indian attire. And I think women look very beautiful with Bindi on the forehead. Don’t know about the religious reasons, but I always wear when when I am wearing a saree. 😀 I hardly get a chance to wear one now.😀
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…From the hospital bed!My Profile

  11. These days I only don Indian outfits for poojas or special ocassions, and so bindis are almost as rare. But I loved reading your Bindi tales. Made me nostalgic about the time I used to be more enthusiastic about color coordinating them etc. Like they say.. good old days.. that make me feel really old these days. 😀
    Shantala recently posted…Dear Ijeawele – Best Quotes on How to Raise a FeministMy Profile

  12. This post totally resonated with me Rachna. I seldom wear bindis since I am mostly in tees and tracks and they look weird together! Still any traditional dress or event demands the forehead be adorned as well. As a child, I remember my grandfather used to insist I wear a small red “chandu pottu” a liquid vermillion from a bottle. He said it declared us to be Hindus and also it would protect me from anyone trying to hypnotizing me. Sigh, don’t remember how I outgrew that fear. Anyway, I think bindis add beauty and grace to any face, especially with traditional clothes.

    • Wow! That sounds bad that box about hypnotizing. Those bottle thingies were quite cute though I never used them. And I agree traditional wear especially saris demand bindis. 😊

  13. I used to collect bindis as a kid but never really wore them apart from once or twice. I don’t dress in Indianwear ever so I guess I don’t really wear bindis either. Mum would always wear a bindi – tiny ones mostly but even with her jeans. Again, possibly one of those things that were an indication of being married. Thanks for sharing your bindi journey 🙂
    Sanch @ Sanch Writes recently posted…July 2019 ReflectionsMy Profile

  14. Oh this is such an adorable write up Rachna. And you do look quite good with the bindi.

    I used to wear bindis for formal dress up occasions with the saree/ lehenga kinda stuff but I would keep losing the bindi. It prompted one typical relative to comment that I will never hold onto a husband – he will be the wandering types as you cant even hold onto your bindi. Apparently this has some connection in the marriage context – I didnt ask any further as she is one snarky lady who has opinions on everyone and their uncle.

    But to date my bindi falls off and so I am not very gung ho about wearing one.

    There is this cousin of mine who draws on her bindi every day with black and other colors – love that and had tried it too but I ended up wiping it off by mistake on most days.

    These are my bindi tales 😉

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