I vividly remember Yellamma, our maid sweeping our front yard and swabbing it with cow dung paste and drawing a Rangoli. One such morning at the beginning of the Indian summer vacations, I had snatched the Rangoli Dabba from her and tried out my very first Rangoli ever. It was a small Rangoli, I had copied from the Rangoli book my Mom had got for us. Thereby completely relieving Yellamma of her Rangoli making duties. By the end of the summer vacations, I had become quite good at it and used to make very big intricate designs, until I got married and moved to Bengaluru. My Rangoli making became a distant memory in the hustle-bustle of the day to day routine, as I started making Rangolis only during festivals, that too only the basic ones like the Om, Swastika, Shree and, three-two dotted star. As years rolled by, the quality of these basic shapes also slipped. And, now I use stencils to draw Rangoli on festive occasion and feel bad about my inability to even draw a straight line, leave alone any intricate designs.
So, naturally, I was drawn to pictures of Rangolis, when I started browsing IG. One of the very first few pictures I clicked on was from this IG handle The Lotus Shakti, managed by beautiful Mrs. Hema Kannan from Amchi Mumbai. I am awestruck to say the least, as I am enjoying the stupendous fair of immaculate and impeccable Kolams ever since I started following Hema, somewhere around November 2019. These Kolams are something …hmm …out of the world…Celestial! These are not your everyday, run of the mill patterns, but have a deep thought and story behind them. While I am enjoying all the divine, heavenly kolams, I am so impressed by the small couplets/verses that accompany the Kolams, giving us a gist of the profound thought behind the Kolam. She has summarized this whole process of “How a traditional art form illuminates the spirit within”, in a TEDx talk. Sharing the link of the same here.
I must say, I am hungry to know more about her creative process and spiritual journey. To satiate the curiosity of people like me, Hema has authored a coffee table book, “Atma Shakti”
Hema has taken her passion for this traditional Indian art form to a new level by conducting regular classes and exams for those folks who are interested. In her pursuit to make this diminishing art popular, she has spoken at various events. She is regularly invited by many temples and cultural organizations to decorate the Mantapas and Antaralas. Here are some of my absolute favorites from the humongous collection of Hema’s Kolams.
|Sri Ram Darbar on the auspicious Ram Navami|
|Hema and her friends at the temple|
|Hema’s interpretation of an AdiYogi|
|Hema lighting 9 diyas at 9pm in response to PM Modiji call to appreciate the frontline workers|
My dear friends, I’m thoroughly enjoying all the beautiful pictures of the Divine Kolams. I thought of sharing my joy with you all if you guys are not already familiar with The Lotus Shakti. Here is another link to the video shot at Hema’s home on the auspicious occasion of Pongal/ Makar Sankranti.
You can see the exuberance and contentment on Hema’s face as she celebrates the festivities with her family and shares her journey as a Kolam artist. Her love for kolams and all the traditional customs is so evident, as she explains the positive effects of the customs of kolam making on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. Many of us are very much aware of these benefits. But, it is one thing to know and totally another thing to practice it so passionately.
Even as I am preparing to post this write-up, Hema is busy conducting an online Kolam class. How cool is that? It only adds to say that generation Z is equally interested and proud of our culture. The only thing is that they need to be shown the way ahead by focusing the light on our cultural heritage. Hmm…
I wish I could carry that big bindi as beautifully and elegantly as Hema does…Yes, the Red Kumkum on the Ajna Chakra, the ultimate power symbol of a humble spiritual seeker and a proud Santana Dharmik!
You can see all of Hema’s beautiful Kolams on her Instagram Page here
All images and video clips published in this blog belong to Hema Kannan and may not be replicated or reproduced without prior permission.
Text Copyright: This Adbhut Life!