Collected by Razan Lillie
Sharing with the beautiful phenomena the political/spiritual nurturing rupturance, Krupa---
Krupa: i started doing graffiti because of mehndi, but that's a different story
in india, my mom, grandma, and my aunt would grow a ton of desi plants in the small plot we had left after the new neoliberal government stole our land and my grandma had to sell the rest because she was a single mother.
mehndi is a funny plant. it stains your fingers as soon as you grab it from the plant. in gujarati, the word for plant/scrub is "choaud" which also means "release it." me and my family would harvest the leaves, dry them under suraj-dada (grandpa sun). then grind them to a powder, add some tea (cha) and water. there was a time that we put on mehndi the traditional way -- with twigs -- but the new neoliberal government was giving us this new object called plastic, so we later stared rolling up plastic, paper, and tape cylinders to pour the paste onto our bodies.
i have been blessed with having met so many arabs, desis, and even burmese relatives who i have been able to re/member our relationships to the other herb...
my relationship with mehdni has always been inherently social. and that's been the intention of the creator for putting both mehndi and people in the same time-space together. its not really one i want to describe in words because it's a feeling that is only understood through community. i am deeply grateful for it. and it's funny because none of what i learned about mehndi came through books. it didnt even come to me through my family, though they played a huge role. what allowed me to create new meaning with mehndi as being around people in the struggle. becca talks about how she feels alive in the struggle with community. gabe talked about his philipino friends who were intentional about their identity when they were in a white town. i share many sentiments from their reflections...
Razan: Krupa’s wild stories paint regenerative protective ink on my own skin, soul and mind. Her gardens weave themselves and unravel within me---:
In another world, our hands collide as we reach to pluck the same mehndi leaf.
Dragon and fish we dance into fires and oceans, soothing hysteria and burning death.
We dance in the same body. Tracing revolution with a burning grace.
In another world, we give birth to our descendants.
Gathering silk to cover our skins.
Stargazing every night side by side. Our kohled eyes giving belief to the supernatural mystics that come out at night to sing and dance our protection.
In another world, I braid her long, strong mehndi dyed hair.
I am just another depth of her being. The strong curling roots of her hair.
In another world, we collect healing charms in abundance.
Our divine manifestation always breathing.
Our souls never knowing the fear of robbery.
In another world, our marriage is celebrated.
Prayer precedes existence.
And we are metal pots. Drop us on the floor inviting us to be shined once again.
In another world, we are mehndi leaves growing side by side.
A young gurl and her sisters invite us into their homes.
We stain their fingers with our agency as they pluck us.
Preparing ourselves to enter their cores.
With Krupa, all comes to be. our dances shake all confusion into charm
if our momentum in this life is a preparation for anything i hope its too lift us into another world---