Welcome To Kolams - Poem by chandra thiagarajan
Kolam is the Tamil name for dainty floor decoration with designs
Which has now been developed literally into a science
‘Tis drawn on the floor with rice powder and colours
And is at times decorated with lovely flowers.
In Tamil, Kolam implies beauty, form and play
‘Tis a graceful art making the home sacred every day
‘Tis the beginning ritual as the day dawns
When in Hindu houses the front yard porch lawns
Are swept well and with water cleaned
And when still damp the Kolams are gleaned
Usually cow-dung is used to wax the mud floor
Which is believed to possess anti-septic properties galore.
It is normally drawn with bare deft fingers
Using pre-determined dots over which beauty lingers
Kolams are also composed on cement floors with paints wonderful
And are also executed with chalks colourful.
There exist various types of Kolams—Dot Kolams
Line Kolams, Maa Kolams, Colour Kolams and Curly Kolams
Boxes etced with tiny holes are tapped for Print Kolams
Rollers filled with kolam powder are also used to draw other Kolams.
Different Kolams by the women-folk are intricately drawn
With symmetry, precision, and complexity, early in the morn
They use imagination and execute the Kolams of their choice
Through innovative messages for the special occasions they voice.
Kolams are known by various names in India—as Hase in Karnataka
Poovidal in Kerala, Rangoli in Gujarat and Maharashtra
Alpana in Bengal and Assam, Chowkpurna in Uttar Pradesh
Madana in Rajasthan, Aripana in Bihar, and Muggulu in Andhra Pradesh.
Temples and prayer rooms are embellished with Kolams
Prosperity is bestowed to the people through Kolams
The main purpose of the Kolam is a sign of invitation
To welcome all, particularly Goddess Lakshmi's ingression.
Ants that file through on the Kolams can zealously have their meal
Birds and other small critters also can have their deal
Kolams may be trampled upon, or winds or rains, sweep it away
But the next morn beholds another new Kolam on the way!
The month of Margazhi is very special for Kolams' frills
When women vie with one another to show case their skills
For special festivals Kaavi (red brick powder) is used
To outline the impressive art form to make others amused.
Various Patterns of different Kolams' invasion
Are passed on from generation to generation
From mother to daughter and thence forth to her daughter-
This intricate art from time immemorial is still sought after.
Kolam is a great perplexing and challenging art of purpose
It stimulates the mind, body and soul of all-of course
But now in the city life of Flats, Vinyl stickers of Kolams, have arisen
To fix it and have an easy go with the Kolams chosen.
Poet's Notes about The Poem
Margazhi is the 9th month of Tamil Calendar and is considered auspicious which falls between Dec 15 and Jan 14 of the Gregorian Calendar.
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