Rangoli is a South Indian art displayed at the threshold of houses. It encourages the creativity of women at home. It is an enticing Indian art.
It makes me proud and elated even after nearly thirty years, to think of my mother-in-law and her great affection to me. Even though she is no more alive, her memory intertwined with the initial years of my married life. To her I had been a very attached daughter and not an “in law”!
With fearful dreams I entered the large family of my husband with all the in-laws and the traditional cultures. But all myfears and superstitions were stripped off by the affection of the family members, especially of my mother-in-law.
You may wonder if Rangoli could paste hearts together. I still remember how “Rangoli” had been a uniting factor of our relationship!
When I got married my husband was living in Chennai, a South Indian city, in an apartment provided by the company in which my husband was a manager. The area we were residing was congested with apartments and private bungalows. There was a colony association to maintain the area which organized programs, competitions, etc. for the colony people. My mother-in-law had been very active in such activities. Her free and social movements earned her a very good impression on her in that area.
My mother-in-law had a very good artistic mind. She used to teach me so many things in cooking, hospitality, and even in drawing Rangoli in front of the entrance. Every day morning as long s she was healthy, she accompanied me and taught me different designs of Rangoli which adorned nearly every house in South India!
Rangoliis the welcome symbol at the threshold
Rangoli is a colorful design made near the entrance of a house drawn as an auspicious art to welcome guests. Usually they are painted or created out of colored sand or some powder. Drawings of symmetrical designs are drawn on paper which are displayed on floor with color powders.
Morning duty of South India
Every morning it dawned briskly to both of us with this entrance ritual. Usually we drew Kolams which are easier with dots and lines. But on festivals days and special occasions we displayed Rangoli. For Rangoli we used not only powders, but also flower petals, cereals, dal, turmeric powder, green leaves, etc. to look more lively and colorful. First we drew a design on the ground with a chalk on which they were filled with proper colors.
On a festival day
It was an occasion of Pongal Festival. The colony association had announced a Rangoli competition. My mother-in-law encouraged and coaxed me to participate in the competition. I was seriously planning with her about the Rangoli design for the festival. She suggested me the Chariot of Lord Krishna. She helped me with all colors and materials for Rangoli. A large Rangoli adorned our entrance. A suitable caption was given. The judges came. No wonder our affectionate cooperation could win the competition easily!