Pulivacha Kolam Podu...

V writes,

It was just a lucky year when I got a couple of days off early this month and it turned out to be diwali time. It was plain coincidence and after days of working over my thesis and defense I was more than ready for the festive break and by Wednesday afternoon I had elaborate plans for a party on Friday. Deepavali sweets, party foods were planned, lists made and all that was left was to shop and start cooking. I was looking forward for the experience. After days of eating lesa ippidi lesa appadi foods, I really wanted to eat some traditional foods to celebrate the day.

As expected, my plans to take off early on Wednesday evening to head to Hillcroft, Houston's Little India backfire with work being assigned at the last minute. And it was a frantic race to the stores before the traffic hit the streets. I have already mentioned why I hate shopping at Hillcroft and the reasons just don't change. Just more added every time I shop. After shopping at the Targets and Krogers, Hillcroft stores offer a chance for me to play hide n seek. You'll usually find things hidden behind cardboard cartons stacked or totally irrelevant items stacked next to each other. It sure is fun if I had the time. But being pressed for time, I was literally running from aisle to aisle and mentally ticking off my mental list. Almost done, I head towards the check out counter and I spot two cardboard boxes kind of blocking the pathway and the curious treasure-hunter and seasoned Hillcroft shopper in me made me take a peek inside the box.

The boxes held packs of pink, blue and purple powders. I held my breath, just the sight transporting me to another world. I still was not sure if I need to buy the kolam color podis after all I was pressed for time and I was sure I will not have time to decorate the small 2x2 concrete doorstep with a kolam. I almost walked away but I gave in and picked up the bags wondering how much they cost. As always you rarely find prices in the bags in Hillcroft and I stood in the que mentally drawing kolams and coloring them with my 3 colors. I was in a totally different world that I even don't feel like complaining about the happenings in the checkout lane.

After what seemed like eternity, my items were being scanned and bagged and as I waited, the guy checking out told me the price of each bag of the kolam podis and asked me if I really wanted it. By then I had no doubt, I wanted it no matter what. My grandmother who is the family's official color kolam podi purchaser would have a shock if I told her how much I spent for those three bags. But I wanted it.

And after frantic cooking on Friday morning, around 12.30pm I was done and decided it was time to indulge in and decorate my door step with my kolam. Yes at 12.30pm, the time when no self-respecting tamil ponnu is found drawing a kolam. After cleaning the area, I took the white rice powder and started tracing the lines. The feel of the coarse powder in the hands just felt right and I wondered why on earth was I not doing it regularly.

Mixing the colors I started coloring the design and soon it was a trip into memory land. The first mosquito started buzzing around (yeah Houston has mosquitoes and they are Texas sized!), I could literally smell the tortoise coils we used to light up in Trichy as we sat late at nights finishing off pretty kolams. I remember the designs to well, the girl with a head full of big flowers for my cousins birthday, the peacock one for a deepavali and so many more. It was one of those activities I loved so much when growing up. A part of my childhood, safely locked up in the back of my memory till I now.
I remember the competitions in school. I participated in the essay writing, the elocution, the quiz, the general knowledge and the rangoli competitions. I won everyone of them expect for the rangoli competitions. My lines were never straight and crisp as they should be. But I practiced for this one crazily every day, in the allotted space in my back yard. My grandmother and aunt supervising my progress. Every year, I scan the results of the rangoli competition feel dejected and then look at the other results.

I remember walking around my colony on Jan 1st and Jan 14th just to take a look at all the massive color kolams in the neighborhood. And I remember how angry I used to get when my baby bro stepped on one of the kolams or drove his bicycle over them.

As these memories filled my mind, my hand painstakingly drew the design. The lines even today are not straight or crisp as they should be. But I just have learned to accept it. And as I sat there, finishing up my design, I promised I'll write about it and draw kolams regularly. A couple of months late but still here are my memories.. to be treasured forever


Lavs said...

No snap of your kolam??

Pooh said...

I have pictures lying around. Just have not got around posting it. That is the problem when you use not 1 but 3 computers to blog ;)