Society

This woman makes kolam that matches with her sari

Colour fills the residence of Mumbai-based Usha Kunisetty, especially during Navaratri season.

This year, Usha’s pictures created a flutter on social media and WhatsApp groups; for, her kolam designs during the nine days of the festival season exactly matched the sarees she wore. So much so you could not tell them apart.

The idea hit the 46-year-old one day during the preparation to the festive season. “In Bombay, there’s a tradition of wearing nine colours for each of the nine days of Navratri. I always do that. This year, I was mulling about something else that would stand out, which is when I came up with this concept: of matching my saree with the kolam.”

This woman makes kolam that matches with her sari

This woman makes kolam that matches with her sari

Usha was convinced about the novelty in the concept, but what she was not expecting was the response it has received. “I shared it with a few friends, who in turn shared it on social media. I didn’t realise it going viral till I received the photos myself, from someone in Dubai!”

Her connection with the art form of decorating the floor started when she was a child; back then, she would indulge in ‘muku’, as the art was called back in her hometown (Vijayawada) in Andhra Pradesh.

Usha’s childhood memories are of a time when she created art on mud flooring. Once she relocated to Mumbai, her connection with the artform was put on pause.

A chance visit to a workshop held by artist Hema Kannan re-ignited her love for kolams. “It was only after that did I realise the uniqueness of an artform that I had originally thought of as just an everyday ritual.” Since then, she has kept her connection intact and experiments with design, especially during festivals.

She also tries her hand at special designs for occasions such as Mothers’ Day and Doctors’ Day. “I love explaining the stories behind my designs to children,” she says.

Elated with the response to her latest concept, Usha is planning more unique projects with the art form.

According to her, the biggest learning has been ‘patience’. “Even a single error means that I have to start all over again. The process is meditative,” she says. Then adds, “Any other art form can be preserved but I know that however grand a kolam I draw one day, I’ll have to erase it the next morning.”


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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 10:36:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/kolam-that-matches-your-sari/article37206917.ece

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