Margazhyi Kolams Day28:

Margazhyi month is synonymous with kolams, kacheris ( vocal carnatic musical concert) and devotion. It seems it is considered to be more of a spiritual month in South India.

In a musical concert among the many musical accompaniment instruments the Veena is a string instrument and the Mridangam is a percussion instrument.
Today is Sankatahara chaturthi ( Sankashthi) which happens to be an important day connected with Ganesha

Day 28: My kolam has the Vignahartha, the remover of obstacles on a Sankashti day along with the Veena and Mrindagam emanating melodious tones .

Margazhyi Kolams Day27:

Meerabai was a beloved and true devotee of Krishna who composed lots of bhajan for Lord Krishna and wanted to marry Krishna . finally she merges into the idol of Lord Krishna .
In South India , similar to Meerabai we have Aandal who composed songs for Lord Ranganatha( Vishnu) and was a true devotee of lord Ranganatha and wanted to marry him. Aandal’ s wish comes true and she gets fully decked up as a bride to marry the Lord and like Meerabai she too merges into Ranganatha’ s idol.
Margazhi day 27 is called ” koodarai” and is special for Aandal

A special hairdo is an important part of a south Indian bride’s attire similar to the bharatanatyam dance style. One of the ornaments worn on the hair is the ” Rakodi” .

Day 27: Today I have drawn a rangoli similar to the ornament “Rakodi “which Aandal would wear as one of the ornaments as a bride.

Margazhyi Kolams 2018-2019

Today after a year when I was looking at last year’ s Margazhyi kolams I felt nice that there is an improvement . The first thing that came to my mind is the saying that I have heard my Amma say. ” paada paada ragam, mooda mooda rogam, ezhadu ezhadu ezhatu, thakai Thakai  Thayhil, padika padika padippu.”
 In a nutshell it means practice,  practice,  practice is what is required to improve in any sphere.

Margazhyi Kolams Day24:

The kolam is drawn using two methods , the dry rice flour and the wet rice flour . The wet rice flour method is called the ” makolam” and is normally used for special occasions to hold on to the kolam for a longer time. I am not yet comfortable with this method.
In “makolam” a piece of cloth or paper is dipped into the wet rice flour liqid paste , placed between 3 fingers & pressed, the fingers act like a pen with the wet paste spreading evenly in a smooth continuous flow.

I also find the floral free hand patterns difficult. I feel both involve more dexterity, speed, concentration and coordination between hand and eye and practice too.

Day 24: I thought of attempting a bigger size free hand floral kolam since I have been avoiding it for long

Margazhyi Kolams Day21:

” Vaikunta Ekadashi” a very auspicious day in Hindu calendar . It is considered to be the day on which the doors of Vaikunta (heaven) will be kept open for the devotees. Special poojas are performed in all Vishnu temples . Many people fast on this day
Vishnu is identified with four symbols: (conch-shell) shankh, sudarshan chakra, (mace) gada and a lotus . Vishnu has a tilak on his forehead called the ” namam”
Vishnu devotees normally wear this namam symbol while Shiva devotees wear the three striped viboothi ( sacred ash).

Day 21: A Sikku kolam, with Lord Vishnu’ s Namam in the centre and the sudarshan chakra and shanka on either sides of the Namam.

Margazhyi Kolams Day4

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

Margazhyi kolams Day3

Beautiful Peacock patterns are an all time favourite when it comes to rangolis , especially during festival times. No wonder that this bird managed to be a National symbol ( bird) of India too because of its colourful beauty. As artefacts too they have managed to hold their charm.
I am not attracted to cut glass , Crystal glass , white metal , black metal and marble but I love to feast my eyes on stuff made of bronze, brass, wood and terracotta. The sight of a hanging bronze diya is something that attracts me very much.

Day 3 kolam: A hanging diya ( lamp) Peacock

Margazhyi kolams Day2

As the Rangoli powder leaves my fingers to fall on the mat and form a pattern , my eyes long to see symmetry and my heart longs for neatness . I still have a long way to go and a beginner like me in this art realizes how this form of art simultaneously takes care of counting (math), drawing, logic ( to create a pattern with lines, curves, arcs, dots), dexterity of fingers, exercise to mind, fitness to bend or sit down all at one go. !.
Day 2 kolam: A simple Padi kolam

Pongalo Pongal

Pongal-o Pongal

Happy Pongal, Makar Sankranthi, Lohri to everyone in India. It is the festive season now.

What I remember of Pongal as a kid is waking up early in the cold winter morning and walking towards the drawing room to catch a few more winks on the sofa half asleep waiting for Amma to call us to come to the kitchen. We would wait for the milk to boil and rise and shout ‘Pongalo Pongal- Pongalo Pongal’ and prostrate before the Pongal Panai (pot) .It was a time to feast on chakkarai (sweet) pongal and venn (salted) Pongal with some other delicacies that Amma would prepare .

Fast forward a few years.

I am the one who is buying the turmeric leaves, applying turmeric and kumkum to the pongal panai (pot), tying the leaves securely to the pot, cleaning the gas oven and kitchen counter top in the morning ,adding the required ingredients in the panai and simultaneously keep calling my kid an hubby reminding them that its time to wake up.  Now my son ambles half asleep towards the sofa and then to the kitchen when its time for the milk to boil and rise up.

I am more than happy and satisfied by the time I prepare both the varieties of the pongal dish and the “neivedhiyam ” is offered to the Sun God!  So the lunch and breakfast of the day is done minus any more delicacies that my Amma would prepare.

Pongal literally means “boiling over” as the milk is allowed to boil over, signifying abundance.

I look forward to this morning every year

Perhaps I manage to follow certain customs in ways convenient to me during the current times with some short cuts . Our beautiful traditions have evolved radically but the essence still remains the same  and they keep reminding us about the beautiful culture that we belong to.

WOW: Look Outside Your Window- “A BREATHTAKING VIEW “

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

This is a view from my window in summer. What a beautiful sight it is!! I tell myself  as to how lucky it is to start my morning watching the beautiful bloom & enjoy my cuppa along with the newspaper sitting in front of the window.

The flame of the forest is all over the place now. It was sometime in the first week of April that I noticed tiny buds sprouting .

These Gulmohar trees with their fiery orange flowers in summer seem to be competing with the fiery sun rays to me.

How I wish that I was a sparrow [they are hardly seen in cities these days 😦  ] or any other bird and I could soar up in the sky and be perched on the branches and sit among the orange blossoms & keep chirping to my heart’s content.

Wishful thinking !!

There are some other equally nice things that summers offer apart from the king of fruits. It’s the melodious voice of the koel. I often get to hear their voice from far off while I am in my home. I have realized that summers offer a feast to the eyes, ears and taste palate too.

My earlier place of residence in the city of dreams offered me to enjoy the koel’ s voice during summers apart from the famous Alphonso mangoes.. My current place of residence in the city of pearls offers me an additional visual treat .

The koel’s voice reminds me that the rains are not far off. As I walk on the orange carpet of flowers as I set out in the morning I really wish that the sweepers while sweeping the roads during the course of the day do not remove this beautiful carpet made by nature.!

Just a month or more and mother nature will adorn herself with a beautiful green colour as the showers will bathe the entire vegetation around and it will be time for me to admire the different shades of green.18951434_1342029902513014_7724045216683687700_n