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Remember to Embrace Your Roots with Alta

A Symbol of Beauty and Tradition.

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In the tapestry of Indian culture, there are threads that weave together stories of tradition, beauty, and significance and passed down through generations. Among these is Alta, a symbol of beauty, tradition, and heritage. As a woman deeply connected to my Indian roots, when I sat down to write about Alta, my mind wanders back to the vibrant memories of my childhood, where this traditional red dye played a significant role in our family tradition.

Growing up amidst the bustling lanes of Banaras, I was fortunate to witness firsthand the profound bond between Alta and the women in my family. I remember, before every puja or auspicious occasion, my Nani would summon a skilled lady to apply Alta and I used to watch in awe as the lady carefully applied Alta to everyone’s feet, her fingers gracefully tracing intricate patterns, each stroke infused with beauty and reverence. In those moments, Alta wasn't just a pigment; it was a ritual, a symbol of femininity, and a bond that connected us to our ancestors.

Reflecting on my childhood, I am filled with nostalgic memories of Alta's presence in my family. to the feet of all the women, including us kids. Though as a child, I may have found the colorful feet a bit bothersome, today, I cherish those moments as precious reminders of our cultural heritage and familial bonds. I realized that Alta held deeper significance beyond its aesthetic appeal. It is not just as a cosmetic pigment but as a symbol of defiance against cultural erosion.

In Odisha, during the Mithun Sanakranti celebration, Alta takes on a special role, signifying the celebration of womanhood and menstruation. The act of applying Alta to one's feet becomes a powerful symbol of fertility and auspiciousness, connecting women to their cultural heritage in a deeply profound way. This tradition resonates with me on a personal level, as it celebrates the beauty and strength of womanhood in a society often marked by taboos and misconceptions.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of modern life the vibrant hues of our cultural heritage were overshadowed by the monotony of Western influence, a red color liquid made from Ratanjot reminded me to embrace the kaleidoscope of colors that make up my Indian heritage. Alta became a bridge that connected me to my heritage, reminding me of the strength and resilience of generations before me. With each stroke of the brush, I found myself reconnecting not only with my roots but also with a sense of identity and belonging that transcended generations. Whether it was during festivals like Durga Puja or weddings adorned with Alta, each brushstroke carried with it a sense of belonging and pride in my cultural identity.

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