Tuesday, April 15, 2014

To Amma, with love....

For somebody who has been born and brought up in a tam-bram family, the practice of adorning the threshold and entrance of the home with beautiful kolams (rangolis or patterns drawn using rice powder in South India) is a daily ritual.
Sights like these where women decorate the pathway of a home/temple with intricate patterns is pretty common in South India.

And like many women in most south indian households, my mother too would wake up early and go about doing her daily routine.
One..She would make a fresh batch of coffee decoction in the quintessential coffee filter...  
& Two..She would sweep and mop the tiny 2/2 feet space in front of our flat in suburban Mumbai to make small, beautiful kolams out of rice powder.
Each morning a new design, a new pattern.
Floral, geometric, free hand...nothing planned or thought out before.
Just spontaneous and  free flowing.
On festivals like Pongal, the tamil new year, etc., kolams used to be done using wet rice paste with just the right consistency...neither too thick nor too watery.
She used to dip a small piece of  muslin cloth and soak it in this paste and hold it between her palm and two fingers(the ring and the little finger).
This soaked piece of muslin would give her a continuous supply of the paste for  huge, elaborate patterns.  
As a kid, I used to be amazed, how, on Krishna Jayanti she used to dip her closed fists downways into the mix and make small feet patterns, adding little toes, from the doorstep right till the puja place.
Much long lasting than the loose rice powder.
Although beautiful in their own right, my liking is biased towards the kolam versus the colourful rangolis done in the north of India.
I find them humble, unpretentious.
The stark white against the grey
 I have so many vivid memories of her... preoccupied, bending over an elaborate design ...always enthusiastic.... be it a cousin's valaikappu- seemantham (ceremony held for a pregnant woman to bless her and her yet to be born child) or at a relative's engagement ceremony or even our building's annual puja.
 When I chanced upon these images on the Internet the other day, it brought back a world of memories of my mother.
Its a skill I am yet to master...
Some day I will, maybe!!??!!

warm wishes,

Images 1. here & here
2. personal (my mother's work of art)
3,4,5 & 6. Pinterest.

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