Floral designs were a matter of intricate detailing at the debut edition of Parle —The Hindu MetroPlus Pookkalam Contest 2012 in Kozhikode

The staple to the unconventional — ‘Parle’ The Hindu MetroPlus Pookkalam contest sampled the journey well. It had it all — simple, pleasing designs; a dash of experiment and even attempts to tell a story in flowers. The 30 flower carpets that symmetrically dotted the quaint Guruvayoorappan Hall at the Zamorin’s Higher Secondary School early this week were a flush of hues.

One design captured the zest of Onam through an ‘Onasadya’ in flowers. The next brought out another Onam vintage — a snake boat in motion. The Kathakali was the centrepiece or a fleeting presence in a couple of floral designs. A festive day was translated into flowers by another.

The prizes went to those who kept it simple, but dug deeper into the technique of a pookkalam. They experimented with colours, brought in flowers and hues traditionally not heeded to and created with them surprising and mindboggling combinations. Purple, black and mauve realised they could be the stars in a floral arrangement and those who dared to try them aesthetically found themselves among the prizes. The technique of laying flowers, the slow stages in which a colour merged into another — were all noted by the keen eyes of the judges.

“The harmony of colours and the perfection in layering of flowers were given their due,” said artist Francis Kodankandath, who co-judged the contest with mural painter Sasi Edavarad. “How these colours spoke to us was vital,” he summed up. Sasi pointed out the professional touch a few of the designs had.

The winning formula

The winning-team Sarilaya Kurikkathur comprising Vineetha, Pramod Kumar, Binusha, Neethu and Brijesh believes it is their attention to detail that stood them apart. “We concentrated on keeping the design simple, yet treating it with a difference,” said Pramod Kumar. We paid attention to colours like purple and also different shades of green, he added. The team is a pro in the field and has been part of pookkalam contests in the city for the past 10 years. Their experience came handy, said Pramod, but they also did their home work, he added. “We sit together, draw up the design and also do a sample test, some times taking part in a smaller contest, just to see if our design works,” said Pramod, who works with the Fire Force.

Sarilaya Kurikkathur took home Rs 20,000, a holiday package, “Onakkodi” from Parle and a gift hamper from Prestige. Swaralaya Residents’ Association won the second prize including a cash prize of Rs 12,500 and Team Priyadarshini Peruvazhikkadavu came third winning Rs 7,500. Consolation prizes of Rs 1,500 were given to 10 teams. Ashik John won the prize for the best dressed man for his kurta-mundu attire, while Beena in her traditional veshti-mundu, paalakka mala and flowers, took home the prize for the best dressed woman at the contest. Springs School team won the prize for the best dressed team.

At the end of the day, it was the spirit of onam and the zest of celebration that brought everyone together. Akhila Sasidharan, lead actor in movies Karyasthan and Teja Bhai and Family and the chief guest,went back to her school days when the pookkalam competitions marked the beginning of onam holidays.

“We used to fret about the designs days in advance,” she remembered. The riot of colours at the contest impressed her and she rued the job of the judges, whom she said, had a tough task at hand.