Long Island Traditions
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Ranjan Desai

 

Ranjan Desai is a resident of Deer Park. Born in India in 1948, she learned the art of Rangoli and Mehendi from her mother. Upon completing her education, she served as a middle school teacher in India for over 20 years. In 1994, she moved to Spartanburg, SC, where her sister lived. Ranjan’s son moved to the United States in 1992 in order to pursue his education. When Ranjan came to the US, she continued to practice the art of Mehendi, using materials that she brought from India along with others that were available in this country, such as eucalyptus oil, lemon juice, tamarind juice, or water from tea for a darker color. When asked why she continues this tradition, she replies “when it dries, it’s red—which is the color of happiness. It gives you beauty.” Ranjan is committed to preserving these traditions, along with teaching her children and grandchildren the language of Gujarat. Today, her daughter-in-law is learning the art of Mehendi, so that future generations can have a traditional Indian wedding.