Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The picture I was referring to in a comment I made earlier about why I like Madras, rather what about Madras do I like a lot.
This kolam was made on the streets surrounding Parthasarathy Perumal Koil. This kolam was prepared in a span of 10 minutes by a young girl whom I have known since she was a little kid. The speed and the mind boggling precision with which she worked must be seen. I looked down the road and there were more women at the same job (though with different designs). A wonderful sight indeed.


  1. ahaan...a kolam there..Interesting!! A nicely done one, I should admit.

    I should also admit I cannot draw such big ones, though I can manage ones till "10 dots 10 rows":).

    I feel Kolams have been a means of creative expression in Chennai, for many years, apart from the rich heritage of music and dance. My mom spent her childhood years in Mylapore and she says that she and her sisters used to go out every morning during Margazhi thingal (Month of Margazhi) to Kapalishwarar koil and see all the kolams that have been done on the way. Her biggest regret to this date remains that we live in a flat and there isn't much space to draw big kolams..:)

    With increasing number of flats, I can see that the art is slowly vanishing from many areas.

  2. Nice kolam. It is very beautiful. It also reminds me to something in Bengali called 'Alpona' and something in Gujarati called 'rangoli,' though the later includes the use of bright powdered colours. Alpona is perhaps the Bengali word for Kolam, it is drawn with a mixture of chalk powder or something like that. It is used especially during Lakshmi Puja. Whereas rangoli is a famous thing, used mainly during navaratri

  3. There is no interval between thought and action. The hand draws as the image is formed in the mind. Zen in Kolam :-)


  4. Dear A,
    Good to hear that you can handle a 10 dots 10 rows kolam! Yes, Mylapore does that to people who have lived there fairly long; it makes it difficult to find any other place good enough. Margayyi/~zhi is still the nicest month to be in Madras (its a lot cooler then!). I knew this one lady who would sing while she drew a wonderful pattern on the floor. She would sit in this wonderfully lady-like (feet tucked under her with her left hand supporting her on one side). In that was born beauty...

    Dear A,
    Rangoli too started out as plain rice flour based design before innovations crept in. I have seen an alpona when I visited Cal during a Durga Puja. I was busy looking at them while my sis got her alta work done. I love the way you guys combine reds and whites.

    Dear M,
    Totally agreed. And I could notice it in her motions. She was practically lost in it while she speedily kept moving her hands in large curves and rice flour magically adhering to the design in her mind.

  5. Having got used to GIMP & Photoshop, I tried Kolam for diwali. After struggling in vain for more than an hour with Kolamav, I settled down to simple chalk. Yeah you are right, neither did that work. Finally had to compromise with sticker kolam. After all small is beautiful. Isnt it?

    This snap reminds me the ease with which the art and creativity flows subconsciously from them.........

    - Dheepak Ra

  6. Hi D,
    I have enjoyed myself with Gimp. Really nice piece of software. I think it is mostly the problem with the mouse movements that have prevented fine pieces from coming out of it. Ever tried turning the mouse upside down and using a pencil to draw something on the mouse ball?
    Kolamav can be tough, but practice is all that it needs, not rocket-science. But drawing a perfect piece is usually done in the absence of conscious effort.
    You are so right in your last statement...
    Seen your comments on Renuka's blog. Will drop by sometime soon...

  7. Parvati10:02 PM

    "Beauty is His footprint showing us where He has passed." - the Kolam is truly beautiful! I especially like the sharp ended trishul like shapes in the outer circumference.

    Though personally, I am very partial to "pulli kolams" (that others draw of course!) which look like speeding snakes taking great care not to touch the dots for some conscientious snake-sacred reason or the other!!

  8. Hi friend,

    Check out my new blog on Kolam