Sequin-studded strawberries or a fierce, stylised trishul? A leafy mini-painting or a geometric inlay? Wearing your personality on your sleeve is passé — let your forehead do the talking.
On BookMyBindi.com, a website launched in October 2015, you can scour through more than 1,500 designs of bindis, repurposed for the 21st century. “We want to break the myth that bindis can only be worn with Indian clothes,” says TV actor Prabhleen Kaur, 32, co-founder of the website. “You can wear them with jeans, with skirts, with crop tops to music festivals — or even a funky, colourful one with a swimsuit!”
“I have worn a bindi with a bikini, and it looked fantastic,” says Aroona Bhat, 40, an image consultant and co-founder of the website, who holds a Limca Book Record for the largest collection of handmade bindis, all designed herself, each in under a minute. “I have never repeated a design.”
Born to a traditional Brahmin family where girls were not allowed to exit the house without a bindi — no matter what they were wearing — Bhat got bored of the simple dot and started to experiment, using liquid colours, lipstick, eyeliner, ash on her forehead. Kaur, tired of wearing the same bindis on set, was introduced to Bhat, and the two decided to launch a website for unique, customised bindis.
“All the designs on the website are meant to be worn with both Indian and western clothes,” says Bhat. “We do a collection for men too — with black and maroon tones.”
Bhat’s designs are free-flowing, inspired by everyday objects. “I also did a series of bindis inspired by the characters in the film Bajirao Mastani,” she says. “Using the crescent and Marathi styles sported in the film, I designed a collection of about 20 bindis.”
The website also takes custom orders — you can either modify the colour, size or shape of an existing design, or ask for one made from an idea you had.
“I like that the bindis here are concept-driven, unlike what you will find anywhere else,” says Sucheta Bhattacharjee, 38, an Indian classical music trainer and regular customer of the website. “I have bought bindis shaped like strawberries, musical instruments, trishuls — I wore a shiny pineapple bindi with a casual dress, and everyone asked me where I got it. My students said I inspired them to wear bindis with casual clothes, and I thought that was fabulous.”
What: BookMyBindi.com, a website for unique bindis
Cost: Prices start at Rs 199 for a strip
The author tweets at @panktimehta