Last month, I had the chance to listen to a very different speaker at the TEDx forum in Mangaluru.
Mumbai-based celebrity image consultant Aroona Bhat, also known by her sobriquet The Funky Bindi Queen, spoke of her experimentation with the humble bindi over the past many years. What started with a little bit of innovation for self-use quickly grew into a passion and opened up myriad ideas in her mind on how to think beyond the dot, and how to bust the myths around them. Sooner than later, she found herself in the Limca book of records for having created the largest number of bindi patterns. And, as she reveals in the course of her talk, the bindi becomes a cynosure, the bulls-eye that is the center of attraction occupying prime real estate on the human face.
"Not just a cosmetic face value", Aroona goes on explain as she extolls the therapeutic and curative benefits of the bindi, and how it helped overcome some of the challenges she faced in real life.
While the average Indian knows what a bindi is, do we really know the history, meaning and importance attached to it, and the different perspectives? That is the stuff Aroona reveals in this talk, which is seriously informative on one side yet her pitch is all about the glamour quotient as well - a new fashion idea for the youth.
And yes, it can sit anywhere on your temple too.
Aroona's focus is on the bindi, symbolic of Hindu tradition, and one that goes on a woman's forehead. Known by different names - the bindiya, the sindhoor, the teeka and so on. This is a piece of art that goes on forehead of men-folk as well, and on the holy cows too. In Southern parts of India, it is known as the naama or naamam, and is distinctively recognized by either three vertical lines or three horizontal lines. And the orientation of these lines famously identifies the two prominent sects of Brahmins - the Shaivites and the Vaishnavites. In the north of India, the same is called a thilak, and its style and color have its own regional significance and meaning.
And here is Aroona's first set of game-changer men
To those who need a quick primer, the bindi in its simplest form is a red dot worn as a stick-on or painted on the forehead. Initially meant to symbolize a married woman, the meaning how now metamorphosed a lot and today, it is a fashion accessory that is has the potential to take on the attention of international fashionistas.
Watch and listen to the TedX talk here (see below)