CHENNAI: Spotting S Ramakrishnan in his KK Nagar household with a kolam powder box every morning is a more likely sight than him poring over a newspaper while sipping on some coffee. A civil engineer by profession, the 58-year-old has been drawing kolams since the age of 10. The activity, he says, is a stress-buster. It is also his passion and way of carrying forward the legacy. “I’ve been interested in kolams since childhood. I’d actively take part in festivals and functions.
Sikku kolam and rangoli are my favourites. Earlier, relatives used to call it a trivial hobby, but I took it positively. It helps maintain your physique and is more like yoga. My 2,500-dot swastika kolam was well-received at a kolam festival in Marina beach, a few years back. I suggest that people shouldn’t attach spiritual elements to this art and just see it as a medium for relaxation,” says Ramakrishnan, a part of Rangavalli Kolam Group in the city. For this Pongal, he shares four designs — an ilai kolam, two sikku kolams and one ordinary kolam. “Ilai kolam is common during festivals in Brahmin households and does not involve dots. Sikku kolam involves laying a pattern of dots. We connect in-between the dots with lines to form a design pattern. Sikku kolams especially help in problem-solving skills when practised regularly. It also helps us maintain our body posture while evoking creativity,” he says.
Knot sikku kolam
Keep dots in odd number starting from one point in eight directions. Start from one point and then continue covering every dot. Continue till all the dots are covered. The beauty of this kolam is that it can be drawn continuously without a break and it is a single continuous line.
This is a 11X11 kolam. First, a 3X3 dots is taken and a pattern is formed. Similarly, the eight set of 3X3 is taken leaving a row of dots in between. After completing the design for all the eight, the one in the middle 3X3 is also complete. Now, there will be nine independent patterns. To complete the kolam, the left out dots are connected using a crisscross line till all the dots are connected.
Sikku kolam involves laying a pattern of dots. The dots are connected with with lines to form a design.
This is done with liquid rice flour. Dip a piece of cloth and hold it in between your fingers to draw the kolam. Draw a lotus by pressing the cloth. You can use different colours to make an internal design and make it look colourful.
Ilai kolam is common during festivals in Brahmin households and does not involve dots.
This a 12X12 kolam. Each swastika is formed by connecting 4X4 dots In this kolam, the lines are drawn on the dots and hence more precision will be required to make the kolam look symmetrical.
Ramakrishnan’s 2,500-dot swastika kolam was well-received at a festival in Marina beach, a few years back