|I was 15 when i landed up from one of the north indian cities bang into orthodox agraharam in chennai. Tamizh was difficult to follow and that too the sundara chennai thamizh was unique.|
One of the first things which happened was the appointment of Kannamma as our house maid.Never had heard of a name like that and i was curious to see the person. A 4ft nine inches tall with pox scarred face ,i was frightened to see her.Perhaps she knew that for she must have got used to it by now for people were perhaps looking at her with aruvaruppu in their looks.She must have been well past 50 then.
Every morning I used to wake up and see the beautiful kolangals drawn by her.Each day it used to be an unique one and the size depended on the day and on auspicious days larger ones. The designs and complexity so intricate it was mind boggling. Come Margazhi our house used to be cynosure in the area because of Kannammas Kolangal.
Years rolled by i shunted betwee hostels and later after completing my studies all over the country before falling in love with one of the most enchanting girl with whom I got married.We had our wonderful life peppered with its own skirmishes and some times almost to the point of no return.
One such day after a virtual showdomn between us,we were sitting and talking with Kannamma about her life. as she was drawing the kolam.She laughingly told us that her husband was a drunkard and would return late night only to get more money from her.He knew that kannamma was working in many houses through out the day and was earning well by her standards! She used to part with a little money to him and hid the rest for her children and grand children. This itself seemed to be an achievement and she was beaming. When I told her what a worthless husband she had, she refused to accept it saying that he was a good man but just gone astray and he can go no where but come back to her only.What a confidence I thought.She added with a pause...,he is a wonderful person with some short comings.I also have my short comings does he not adjust with me.we have an understanding and we go on with life and our happines lies in our children and grand children. Though he snatches my money away ,even after he is drunk, he never forgets to bring sweets for my grand children.He is a kind hearted person..
My wife and me exchanged glances..what was this enigma Kannamma..She seems to be taking on life seamlessly as beautiful as the kolangal..Her kolangal never were only with straight lines.The dots were connected by straight lines and beautiful curves .Were the dots representing the years, the straight lines the rigidities and the curves the flexiblity in life.? Kannamma gave us a new meaning to lead life.The bigger her kolangals more were the curves.Perhaps thats the reason why her art was well admired. The life looked grander thru these lovely patterns.Kannamma never did a rangoli for perhaps they were expensive. She kept it just black and white, simple but intricate.
Kannammas kolangal were a lesson in our life .Whenever we had our misunderstandings we used to look for curves and not straight lines
Afterall Kolangal should never lead to Alamkolam
ps. By then Kannamma completed her kolam and lifted her head to see us, she had a meaningful smile on her face..Perhaps she knew we had tensions and perhaps she had contributed in resolving it with her Kolangal !!