A group of us came together to celebrate a friend who is about to have a baby. It was not a baby shower but a mommy party in the Indian fashion. Hosted by Manisha, it of course included her amazing cooking, including ragda patties and other yummies.
I wish now that I had taken more and better pictures; my documentary skills are rusty. But I also was having such a good time!
We had a ceremony in which each of us presented the mom-to-be with symbolic gifts and showered her with rice and spices (literally). Manisha brought in two friends who do henna tattooing to decorate the baby belly and the hands of the guests.
The henna goes on as a dark paste, applied through a needle-nosed bottle. It smells strongly of eucalyptus. The artists are quite talented, and fast!
I took this with my cellphone. My tattoo had to be on the back of my hand, since I was driving home. Others got the tattoo on their palms. The paste is allowed to dry, then covered with a mix of lemon and sugar. The acidity helps darken the design; the sugar helps the paste stick. You leave it on for as long as you can, then scrape it off. I did so before I went to bed.
When I woke up today, the stain had darkened considerably. It will continue to darken today, if I can keep from getting it wet. Then it will last for a couple of weeks. Jackson is happy, because it means his bath will be delayed. He really needs one; he now matches the gray carpet.