Aug 30, 2012
Creativity was in full flow at the sixth edition of Parle-The Hindu MetroPlus Pookkalam Contest
Flowers weaved magic, yet again, at the Parle-The Hindu MetroPlus Pookkalam Contest at St Mary’s Higher Secondary School, Pattom, on August 25. Intricate designs and a play of colours offered a visual treat beyond words. Something that was echoed in the words of the chief guest of the valedictory function, playback singer G.Venugopal. “These days it is difficult to see pookkalams in our households. I feel such contests make up for that loss,” he said.
The sixth edition had 50 teams vying for the top prizes, giving a tough time for the judges S.Ajayakumar, former principal of Fine Arts College, Thiruvananthapuram, and artist Jinan. “The creativity and the talent of each team have to be appreciated,” said Ajayakumar. But, he did make a critical note. “Perfection is what each team aims at. With that in mind, many had powdered the flowers, giving the pookkalams a carpet-like feel. They can’t be blamed for that. But, it is better to give that natural feel to a pookkalam,” he added.
It was the team representing State Bank of India (SBI) that walked away with the first prize of Rs. 20,000, a holiday package and a number of gifts. The team, led by Sadma S. and comprising Akhilesh J.T., N.Padmakumar, Prathibha Vijayakumar and Prajisha C.Babu, came up with an eye-catching design that blended myriad hues – orange, red, white, green, violet and yellow – creating harmony in their pookkalam. The thick bed of tube roses stood out, feels the team.
“What came handy was the experience of Padmakumar, who has taken part in many pookkalam contests. He and Akhilesh came up with the design,” said Sadma, who works at the NRI branch of the bank with Akhilesh. The other three are posted at the SBI local head office at Thampanoor. Padmakumar’s joy knew no bounds when the prize was announced, since he was a part of the first-prize winning team of SBI in the first edition of the The Hindu MetroPlus contest. “We couldn’t take part in other editions since SBI was one among the sponsors of the event. We were hopeful about winning a prize this time. But when the judge made a note about powdering of flowers, we were a bit taken aback. However, we sailed through,” said a jubilant Padmakumar.
For the second-prize winning Team Radha, the celebration hasn’t stopped yet. “It feels nice when your hard work is rewarded,” says Radha M., the team captain, who works at the Sree Chithira Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences. “I love flowers and have been part of many pookkalam contests, especially in my office. I’m very serious about such contests. In 2010, I’d taken a team from my office to a previous edition of the contest and had won the first prize. We participated last year also. But, due to some last minute changes in the design, we had to be contented with the consolation prize. This time, we prepared well in advance and as the judge said, tried to give the pookkalam a natural feel,” she explained. The team members were Satheesh Kumar, Sreela Chandran, Latha and Surendran. What stood out in their design was asters in different colours and a green border. The team won Rs. 12,500, and a host of gifts.
Manjari, the team which came third, was headed by Kavya V.M., a final year (BA Malayalam) student of Government Women’s College, Vazhuthacaud. Chinju B.U., Aparna Sasikumar and Ajitha Singh, Manjari’s classmates, and Anitha Singh, Ajitha’s sister, were her team mates. “We’d taken part in the contest in 2010. We represented the college and had come fourth. This win was a total prize and very special. Although we had won first prize in pookkalam contests in our college in the last two years, we didn’t win any this year. So, we had to make up for that loss and the third prize at this contest is a big thing for us. We’d expected a consolation prize, that’s all,” said Kavya. Consolation prizes were given away to 10 teams. Also, Rs.750 was given to all teams towards meeting the expense of the flowers.
The prize for the best-dressed team went to the all-women team representing CRPF, Pallippuram. Sapna Ajay Bharat, Vidya Jayakrishnan, Aditya Dinesh, Pallavi Ajay Bharat and Rajani Vijay were the team members. Aswathy Thilak and Rejith Karunakaran Nair were chosen the best dressed female and male respectively. Sheila James, proprietor of Czarina boutique, chose the winners.