“Exquisite Dots and Lines..."

Say Margazhi, and the thought that comes to our mind is Music, Dance and colourful kolam. When the buzz is all about music and dance happening in various sabhas (with some of them offering tasty treats), I wish to throw some light on kolam.

Kolam plays a very important and significant role in our Indian culture. It is a pattern drawn using dots and lines connected beautifully and intricately in geometrical forms and decorates the entrance of the house everyday. There are various types of kolam, some done by joining dots placed in certain order, some with lines or as a free-hand drawing, some with just the white rice powder, some with colours and so on. Special kolams are drawn for various special events and festivals; and inside the pooja room. The tradition of this kolam has been carried on from generations to generations.

In Hinduism, every religious aspect or tradition is followed, because it carries very deep meaning. When we try to find the reason for drawing kolam, we can understand that it is not only a way to beautify homes but is also believed to drive away the evil from ones home. There are many rules to follow when it comes to drawing these kolams. So it is not just an ornamental beauty to the home, but is essentially a rich tradition. According to some stories in ancient Indian literature, it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi, the God of Wealth and Prosperity, resides in homes that are clean, having entrances decorated with kolam.

So talking about tradition, kolam has to be drawn using powered white rice, white stone powder or chalk powder. Drawing kolam with white rice powder has been consciously defined by our forefathers so that the kolam drawn serves as food for the little ants, small insects and birds, thereby bringing harmony among all elements in nature. Also, since kolam is considered very sacred, it not drawn on dirty ground. The ground for drawing kolam is first cleaned with water mixed with cow dung and some people use turmeric powder and neem leaves. This helps to ward away the unwanted insects and purifies the air entering the home. It is also believed to attract positive energy and prosperity to the home.

Mostly drawn by women, the kolam, while beautifying the entrance of the home, also brings out her creativity. Moreover, to get the kolam right, she has to concentrate a lot which helps in improving concentration. Solving the sikku kolam and the other kolam designs increases the thinking power and creativity of the person drawing it. Another significance of kolam is that it serves as an exercise for the woman. In order to reach the ground and draw the kolam, she has to bend a lot, thereby stretching the backbone and improving its fitness.

Added to all these, drawing kolam in the month of Margazhi is very special because, usually during this month, kolam is drawn early in the morning when the ozone level is very high which is very beneficial to our health. Thus, the ladies get the opportunity to breathe in some fresh air and adorn the entrance of their home with beautiful dots and lines.

Retrieving His Master's Voice.