Dora’s Mehndi

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“Come,” says the Pakistani aunty patting the empty chair in front of her holding the fat cone that releases swirly flourishes swiftly. It is tempting, but I shake my head politely, “Not this time.”

Kyou?” meaning “Why?”

“I just don’t want to go to work with mendhi on my hands,” is my response. I know I’ll have a lot of questions to answer from my second graders. Curious stares. Ooh-ing and Aah-ing. Distracted by my painted hands rather than the board I’m pointing at. So I refrain.

Fast forward four years later to my mostly-stay-at-home-life. Z spots the gold cone in the fridge and demands for mendhi. On the cool wooden floor we sit while the cone makes rudimentary swirls on our hands. After she is satisfied with the swirls, she sits on the couch and watches Dora The Explorer while her mendhi dries. A few minutes later, she asks, “Where is Dora’s mendhi?”

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I don’t remember what I answer, but I remember what I don’t answer with a pang.

Dora will probably never wear mendhi. Right now, you think everyone is like you. They aren’t. You are the minority here in the US. You are one of the rare ones that will wear mehndi. And whether you choose to wear mehndi or not, or whatever items that will be specifically for just you, your culture, your religion, I hope that you are proud to wear it, that you relish it, whether Dora or anyone wears it or not.

***

Also, have you heard about the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign? It is something I recently read about, and feel strongly about. I love children’s literature and would love for the children book world to be 10x more diverse than it already is. You can read more about it on my friend Aisha’s blog here or here. Then participate ! Who knows? Maybe Dora might wear mehndi some day! And if I do go back to teaching, that I wear it proudly at school if I so wish!

 

Pics below from last week.

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About Doodling Through Life

I doodle. All the time. Doodling helps me make sense of the world around me. When I doodle, whether it be swirls or figurines, I am transformed to a world in which my doodles live, and my thoughts become clear. My mind breathes. Through my art medium of pencils, paint, potting soil, and pixels, I thrive. I am a teacher and have taught 2nd grade in Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, Georgia for 4 years. I am currently a Stay-At-Home-Mommy to a ___ daughter (she was born in June 2010—you can do the math !) and a ___ preschooler (she was born November 2012) who is exploring my creative outlet via the aforementioned 4 P’s! So far, I’m an author whose book Lailah’s Lunchbox was published in 2015 via Tilbury House Publishing. I have 2 new picture books projected for 2019: Amira's Picture Day (Holiday House, 2019) and Let Me Show You The Way (Eerdmans, 2019)! I’m an Atlanta based children-family-lifestyle photographer on weekends. Thank you for stopping by!

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