A BREATH OF HENNA TESTIMONIAL -
A WOMAN OF TWO WORLDS
Walking along Dundas till she takes a minute to whirl in her new Louboutins, Shivani Sharda caught my eye. The modern day scene from chunri ke neechay kya hai except here I was appreciating her journey in India through a technological advantage. She replied to my direct letter on instagram and I jumped a little like SRK and decided to set a date for tea. She is a woman of colour; a hustler with lustrous locks and a smile that keeps you thinking, God I wish I had her. In Sukhwant's arms, she's a jewel and forever more his BABE OF A BRIDE. In the background all you here is, 'You only live once ‒ that’s the motto nigga YOLO
And we 'bout it every day, every day, every day' - DRAKE.
When I was young, I would watch bollywood, mesmerized in the adornment where women as Brides was the epitome of happiness and all I wanted to do was dress up, get married and do it all over again. Well, it doesn't work that way, that's what we're told. It works once and when you find him, it's like that Yash Raj film where you have the movie on repeat. I'm referring to that dil wale moment. Guess what, you can dress up over and over again especially when you're in love - self or with someone else. I enjoy the combination. Culture is our chai latte from Balzacs, for Shivani Sharda whip up a latte any day. This Bridal testimonial isn't to compare her to the sweetness of chai but it will have your heart set on the warmth that illuminates from the birth of cardamom in boiling water and sugar cane crystals. The rich colours from her beautiful photographs, captured by MANGO STUDIOS in Toronto at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre are heart clenching.
The mood was set when we started to adorn her at 8 am this past spring. The mehndi songs from the 60s to 80s created a harmony moving through the inside of my henna cone. Every detail was lovely; from the D.I.Y tent setup in her backyard to the crisp air we had that morning. The dewy grass had a scent of freshness that instilled memories from our childhood of dancing in the rain. She giggled a little and I couldn't control myself and smiled. When you work hard, do your business and keep to your goals, every response is one from a consult from a corporate perspective. Here, she was free. Every woman deserves to feel alleviated during their Mehndi. Her laugh created a fruitful ambiance of her family members, loving aunts where she shared her rising moment.
During the session, her guests started to arrive and when her cousins; a great group of festive men, circled her as she was the trophy win, the mehndi dances had officially begun. The marigold fire had begun with family disembarking through the doors of a blessed home; the symphony of flutes, a sitar and a set of tablas set the array of dancing folk and celebration. This was the mood and it was perfect.
Shivani allowed me to create something that was traditional and modern. She loves mandalas, couture and Toronto, which made her design even more unique to render. During her consultation we discussed how animated her Bridal Henna Diary (including patterns from her invites - above) should allow the floral elements to dance throughout her arms and feet. The design was complete and it breathed into her skin as she transitioned from bride to be to a bride.
Her energy uplifted when her husband Sukhwant walked into the garden of bliss to see his Bride adorned in her Bridal Henna. Every minute holds a moment to worry but every journey holds an awakening to glow within. Shivani's tears and laughter brought out her true values to the traditions that are instilled in all of us even if she is born here. Many of us do not understand the weight on our shoulders as women of culture. No matter our geographic location, we need to continue to instil our values into the crops we plant and water them with the abundance of rituals of stories. Community is a form of gratitude. A part of mine are fashion savvy, culturally-adhered, creative women who all have wings while working in an industrial driven routine. It's important to balance out life and not just be a part of the book but write your own.
We still talk about how beautiful the experience was and that her moment was completely hers and blessings were countless. Congratulations to you both, Shivani and Sukhwant.