image courtesy wikimedia-kolam
I am going to draw Kolam today. I have specially practised that new Kolam for this day. I have already bought kolappodi (finely powdered limestone, different type of limestone), when I went to buy whitewash-limestone from the kiln. Mother used the whitewash-limestone to whitewash the house. House looks all new, like wearing new clothes, like me. I went to the vaasal with my kolappodi. Chiththi has found out what I am upto. "Eh, what are you going to do?" I am going to draw kolam". "No, don't do it. By the way how did you get kolappodi?" "I bought it". "Who gave you money?" "I bought from my pocket money" "Akka, look at your daughter" She is calling my mother. Neither herslef nor me are really afraid of my mother. She just wants to make noise about my kolam. She comes with a bucket of water behind me. "What?" !! "Why do you need that water for?" "I know you cannot draw kolam well. so, if you screw up, I will clean the vaasal". "I won't screw up, I have practised it well." where did you practise?" "In my notebook" "So, you have wasted your notebook!! Akka, look at your daughter. We buy her notebooks for her study and she wastes them for kolam.", then looking at me, "Kolam has to be practised by really doing it with kolappodi. Without that you won't get the fluency". "What, you will let me practise that in our vaasal, when you are coming with a bucket of water like this?" "What do you need kolam for? our vaasal is small, bulls walk by it and they will ruin all the kolam and so you should not draw kolam. In our house we don't do kolams. That is only for those komuttichettyaar ladies." "Why it is only for them?" "Listen, no kolam in our house". "I am not going to do it everyday. it is special day. Please do not ruin it." I have already cleared the area in the vaasal. I start drawing the dots, using which I have to draw the kolam. I start counting the dots. There are two types of kolam dot style I know. One is, alternate line of dots are inbetween the dots in the previous one. we call them "idaip pulli" litterally meaning "inbetween type dots" and the other type in which the dots are in line with the dots in the previous line. In both the cases, the centre line will have maximum number of dots and then it will keep on decreasing both sides, until we reach one dot or sometimes three dots only. So, it is always the centre line has odd numbered dots. In few special cases they are even numbered and finish at two dots, like the one I have practised for today. It has 14 dots at the centre line and it has two centre lines. I start counting the dots and continue my kolam. "Eh, eh, they are not straight. Didn't I tell you, you cannot do them". "They are fine". I conitnue. Karuvayan chiththappa goes holding his two bulls. "What mathini, Latha is drawing kolam. And, what are you doing with bucket of water?" "She cannot draw kolam, so I am going to clean it once she finishes it". "Latha, Chithi is going to clean it anyway, so, why are you drawing kolam?" "Please tell her to leave it chithappa. I have been practising it for weeks. I can draw well. And, it is special day too. " "Mathini, let her do whatever she wants. Even if it is not nice, let it be there. Why do you want to clean it?" "See you are going with your bulls. They are walking on the dots. Already two dots are lost because the bulls have stepped on them. In few hours all the bulls from all the houses and cows from all the houses will go by this vaasal and all the kolam will be lost. That is why I want to clean it straight away." If the bulls and cows ruin it, let them ruin it. The kolam will be there for atleast few hours. but you want to clean them straight away. that is worse isn't it? " "That is why I am telling you not to draw it in the first place". "Mathini, let her do. She is small after all. Why are you fighting with a small girl?" "So, small girl should stay as small girl. why is she drawing kolam?". "You draw lathappillai. I support you". But he leaves for the farm with his bulls. He has lot of work to do in the farm so, he cannot stay and support me. Chithi is sitting there drinking her coffee watching me drawing my kolam. Myself and Murugeswari akka have practised these kolams and we have been planning for days. We both have bought this kolappodi without our folks' knowledge. I can tell she is having similar session in her house, except that, she does not have chiththi, (well her chithithis live separately), but her mother compensates for that. I have almost finish......what, it is going wrong. I stop for a minute and look at the lines, have I drawn correct? It looks like one dot is missing. "Didn't I tell you, you cannot draw. I knew it!!!" "no, no. it is fine. I am just checking it". "Why do you need checking if everything is fine?", so I stop checking and continue to draw. Almost there. Looks like it is alright, except that it does show that I do not have real practise in drawing kolam in vaasal using real kolappodi. There you go, I have finished. I look at the kolam from all sides with so much satisfaction. Blang!! a bucket of water dissolving my limestone kolappodi washes the vaasal making it cleaner!!
Four Girls Series