Kolam : A beautiful morning ritual

Art by Marine Tellier

Mornings in springtime are a gift indeed. I was driving along the East Coast Road on my motorcycle in the early hours of the day. All of nature seemed so enthused about waking up to the sunrise. What a simmering symphony it was as the sun rose up by the minute. The play of sounds and lights infusing a freshness in the air, inviting all beings to express their highest creative selves.

On the way while riding through a village I found Tamil women stepping out of their houses with a little bag of rice flour. Dutifully they sat down and started making an artful pattern on the ground outside their houses.
‘Kolam’ as it is called in the state of Tamiladu, is an integral part of daily life. Symmetrical patterns are drawn on a grid of dots, welcoming good energy into the home. The rice flour used is an offering to ants and birds as well, integrating the web of life with each household.
Over the course of the day, the Kolam gets erased by the act of nature’s elements and human activity. But this transient art form finds itself again and again, every morning, resurrected lovingly by the women of the household.

What a wonderful morning ritual this is ! To draw a Kolam, to exercise one’s creative energy and discover new drawings and patterns every morning, with the pious spirit of sharing and embracing good energy. All troubles of life seemed to have stopped haunting these women who had a soothing calm in their heart as they made the Kolam.
To express your creative energy every morning and to realise its transience, yet to choose to make a Kolam the next morning with the same enthusiasm is a great character building exercise. It must subliminally teach one that art must exist for art’s sake and one must serve as a conduit of the divine creative force every moment.
As I drive back home, I see many finished Kolam adorning the earth in front of the houses. A little girl waves to me as I pass her house.
Kolam. What a beautiful way to start a day!

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