Pleasing Asymmetry

Kolam is an ubiquitous art form widely practiced in the south of drawing patterns of dots, lines and curves laid just outside the main door of the house, every morning, welcoming ‘gods’ and visitors to the house. Unlike the welcome-mat, the kolam is never stepped on. Usually simple, on festive occasions, it gets more flamboyant and even embellished with flowers.

Every morning the area is first cleaned by splashing water out of a bucket by the maid or the housewife marking the start of the day for the entire household. An energizing sound, not annoying in the least unlike the strident alarm clocks, announcing the arrival of a new dawn and all is well with the world. A sound that I wake up to even today when we visit my sister-in-law’s place in Chennai, to the accompaniment of an orchestra of bird-calls – it meant Thaayamma, an illiterate old lady and a ceaseless wonder, at work pulling off in a breeze a non-repeat elegant design on the wet floor with no shake or break in her kolam.

The white flour – no artificial colors – used to make the kolam up is intended to be food for ants, insects, etc. – unfortunately these days in many places powder from pulverized pebbles, by no means edible, is used for reasons not known to me yet. Infrequently, flour paste is used if the kolam is needed to last longer and not easily blown away.

The ‘canvas’ on the floor also lets the womenfolk to show off their artistry and creativity, with houses trying to outdo each other during festivals. The women learn it largely from their families when young though books are available these days.

In general, it may not be too wrong to say the kolam on the outside often reflects in some ways the state of well-being on the inside.

Kolam‘s are also drawn inside the house in the pooja room where gods are worshiped.

My wife’s doing today, more as a ‘welcome’ gesture than food for non-existing insects, a simple traditional flour kolam, with two leaves instead of the usual four, generating a pleasing asymmetry:

 

End

 

 

PS: In the north the art takes the form of Rangoli that is far more elaborate and filled with colors especially during festivals.

5 Responses to Pleasing Asymmetry

  1. Nithya says:

    Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chitra says:

    Loved how you “art”iculated the art of kolam. The whole soothing experience
    Loved the kolam Muktha did.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Vidya says:

    Kolam is beautiful when one does it perfectly Sometimes it looks alangolam to my eyes when I pass through a few houses in the morning Not that I have mastered the art but am happy with the simple kolams I put in my thayis absence .

    Liked by 1 person

    • tskraghu says:

      You’re right – the kolams in the south by and large are simple without flourish and done without sweat except those on special occasions. The geometry and the symmetry therein are pleasing to the eyes. Alangolams can be real eye-sores. Thanks.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: