Since returning to England I have continued to wear sindoor. It is uncommon to see anyone wearing sindoor here, even among the Indian Brits so the red powder in my hair has caused some curiosity and lots of questions.
Whilst at work I am regularly questioned about my sindoor. Here are a couple of examples:
- “Did you hit your head and cut yourself?”
- “Oh that thing on your head looks really painful, what happened?”
- “Did you dye your hair?”
- “Why do you have red stuff on your head?”
- “Is that a Muslim thing?”
- “What is that?” (whilst waving a finger extremely close to my face)
Just today a lovely woman asked “What does the red powder symbolise? It looks very beautiful”. So sweet of her to ask nicely, quite a few people have asked in a really hostile tone. I told her the reasons I wear sindoor…
The main reason I, personally, wear sindoor everyday is that applying sindoor everyday reminds me of the moment we became husband and wife. It is traditional for married Hindu women to wear sindoor in the parting of their hair, this tradition is more than 5,000 years old. A symbol of their desire for their husband to live a long life as the Goddess Parvati protects all men whose wives wear sindoor. Applying this red powder also supposed to activates the third-eye (ajna) and crown (sahasrara) chakras and brings health and prosperity to married life.
I may be thousands of miles away from my husband now but applying sindoor proudly everyday somehow gives me an extra dose strength. I don’t mind when strangers (politely) ask me “what is that on your head?” because I am very proud to wear sindoor and can openly share my reasons for wearing it (and enjoy seeing the relief on their faces when they find out I don’t have a head injury!).