My first brush with the kolam was to watch my Amma draw the kolam at the threshold of the home . It was an early morning ritual daily wherein the threshold would be swept, sprinkled with water ,cleaned and then with a handful of a mixture of rice powder and rangoli powder she would hastily draw a small pattern. Even in the biting cold of a winter morning this was a daily ritual . I learnt from her that the rice powder is mixed so that the ants can feed on them. What a kind gesture of our ancestors who thought of this practice . After all even an ant falls under ” Aththi Devo Bhava” !!!!.
On festival days the display was of a bigger size with an outline of what we call ” shemann” in Tamil ( gheru in marathi I think, red oxide powder basically) which would be maroon in colour and would brighten up the pattern. This was an activity taken care by Amma as the mornings were a rush hour for us to get ready to go to school , later it was hostel during college days so my encounter with this ritual actually started in my early twenties before leaving for work place in the morning. I was entrusted with this work by my Periamma ( Amma’ s elder sister) as I volunteered for it when I was staying with Periappa and Periamma. I learnt a few basic patterns from her and I would also remember the pattern that my neighbour aunty would draw at her threshold. This is how my journey into the kolam world started. Since we resided on the ground floor , everyone had to pass through the ground floor ( there was no elevator in that building) so I was conscious enough to do a decent job
After getting married, morning time became busier with kitchen activities before rushing for work place and somehow this ritual disappeared from my routine except for festival days . It was only a year ago during ” Marghazhi ” month I got interested in this art form again to bring it into my daily routine. I hope it continues.
A Padi kolam is a basic square pattern with 4 lines each along the 4 sides .It is generally drawn on fridays is something I came to know last year. Padi means a ladder/steps in Tamil. We can keep extending/ building it up step by step and so I assume like a a ladder/steps extends to upper floors , thus this name similarity perhaps.
Day 4: Padi Kolam for Friday