My contention of the wearing of pottu or not wearing a pottu sparked a debate that not wearing a pottu will disintegrate our culture and custom. As an Indian Hindu girl, pottu is seen as a must a typical patriarchal perspective. If an Indian girl chooses not to wear pottu, the opposite gender gets incredulous and quickly criticize the girl for not following Indian culture.
See, I can rephrase. How many Indian guys wear veshti sattai nowadays, to places they go? Do you wear it to schools to meet teachers, to the hospital or Thaipusam? Most comes to most, guys only wear veshti sattei to temples, that too, not exactly a dime a dozen. Ladies wear pottu to temples, the priest gives vermillion and ladies dab it on their foreheads.
My Indian female teachers wear sari to school and one of them, (she was married) didn't wear pottu. Do any Indian male teacher wear veshti sattai to school or work?
You see, it had come to the point where comfort overrides culture.
The tacit unwillingness of Indian guys to wear veshti sattei is never questioned. Nobody say a word when guys don't come to temple wearing veshti sattei but if an Indian girl doesn't wear pottu, judging her on that basis becomes all too easy and it also contains double standards and subtle subjugation.
In most cases, the only time an Indian guy wears veshti sattei is on his wedding. A girl too, decks her hair up with flowers, wear a glittering sari and a kunguma pottu. Humans are social creatures. Humans meaning both male, female and other so why target to a specific gender. This logic should apply impartially, not partially, encompassing, not narrowed.
A tiny dot, if it not worn by women would damage our culture and identity? If not wearing pottu is considered pernicious to our culture so is the not donning of veshti sattai on a regular basis. It works both ways.
In India, ladies wear sari at home; ladies here, don't. Again, comfort triumphs over culture Sari is only worn for auspicious occasions here.
One might argue that when it comes to fashion, comfort is often sacrificed by women. True. Wearing high heels, platform shoes, tight fitting jeans and mini skirts, heavy earrings and chokers are extremely uncomfortable. But, do ladies wear all that when they are at home? No. They only wear the stuff above when they go out to work, clubbing and socializing. At home, comfort reign supreme and culture as well as fashion are compromised.
This sweeping change is called keeping up with times and needs. Culture is not lost if we don't wear our cultural costumes or pottu. It is a matter of liberation, an emancipation of human proportion.
Years ago, humans went everywhere by foot. Now, we are travelling in cars. As we progress, comfort becomes something to be indulged in. It is not excess; it's convenience. This quote is apt to this topic
In a time where female astronauts are orbiting space,note the late Kalpana Chawla, this type of talk is very demoralizing. Kalpana Chawla can only wear an astronaut suit in space. She can't wear sari out there and make sure she has pottu on her forehead.
Tradituonally, Indian women wear pottu for religious reasons. The spot where the pottu is placed, typically between the eyebrows, is thought to be the location of the sixth chakra, ajna, which is believed to be the seat of concealed wisdom. The pottu is placed in order to retain the energy and strengthen concentration.
Most Indian women don't do the research as per why pottu is worn, even I did not.
I never wore pottu during school days, just an upward streak of vibuthi which disappears as soon as I get of the crowded school bus in the morning.
My Indian schoolmates have criticized my quirk of not wearing pottu, saying that I am not Indian enough and even disrespectful of my religion since I don't wear pottu. Does a tiny dot in between my eyebrows determine my identity and religion? If it is so, then I should have a pottu on when I was born.
Wearing pottu these days is no longer a matter of religious conduct or the identification of an Indian woman; it has become a fashion statement and a matter of preference and volition, to wear pottu or not to wear pottu. It is a right, not an imposition.
The idea of pottu is a red one for married women and a black one for maidens. Some married women wear a streak of vermillion at the parting of hair on their foreheads.
But, commercialism and globalization didn't spare pottu. We now have colourful sticker pottus of all shapes and sizes worn by both married and unmarried Indian women. Westerners have started to wear pottu. From Indian culture, pottu has become a global phenomenon.
An Indian girl is an Indian girl whether she wears a pottu or not. Don't judge her character by a tiny dot on her forehead; that tiny dot doesn't determine her character.
Selena Gomez wearing pottu