Tuesday, August 14

Rangoli on a bookmark

If you are an Indian, rangoli is intrinsic to your growing up.  Although rangolis look simple to the naked eye, those who are good at it know that it takes precision, effort and imagination to make a beautiful rangoli.

Integral to India's visual culture, it transcends religion, so much that it is part of school and college contests.

I remember visiting the Dharmaram Seminary in Bangalore that owned Christ College where I did my Bachelors, not just for Christmas, but Onam too, that was celebrated with gaiety.

Halls and halls rangolis - with huge pookalams (rangolis made using flower petals) - all of them made by wannabe priests of church or Brothers who were still years away from their ordination! In Mumbai, rangolis came alive during Diwali (festival of lights) and assumed modernist design. Some neighbours would make use of a quiet corner between the elevator wall and the wall adjoining their door to create a lovely square rangoli and not disturb the smallish aisle. Others would prefer to empty their living rooms for a huge one!

Back in my childhood years, our mothers and aunts would get up early enough to wash the cement walk-ways in front of homes to draw a rangoli with rice powder or chalk.

I did not make rangolis on a daily basis when in India. In the US of A, it is more difficult to make a rangoli outside your door. Most times, the outside of your door is carpeted. At other times, if you do have a cemented walk-way to your apartment, you are not allowed to make changes like using colours that may alter the floor's look.

Even when I did not manage the daily rangoli outside my homes at Chennai and Mumbai, I moved them to another level. I filled my bookmarks with them. And these pictures keep me going. They inspire me to do more here.

Here are some bookmarks I made when in Chennai.

I used the inside of a cardboard carton and trimmed it for this one. It's one of my beginner pieces.

To make it thick, I sand-papered the glossy side of two pieces of the carton's and stuck them. After that, I pressed the bookmark under a pile of books. Pieces of a saree border that I bought from a crafts store did the job of some design.

Next was to look up an easy rangoli design online and draw it out here. On top of the rangoli, I drew mango leaves- toranam or door-usher design. The grey here reminds me of the cemented floors, although painting the rangoli white did not work out.

Here is a set of tinies - from the inside of a large-sized Mysore Sandal soap.

Satin ribbon borders helped here. These bookmarks are two inches by three inches in size. So they can be alternated as gift tags too.

This one's design did not turn out the way I expected, but wanted to snapshot it anyways. It is again, the trimmed back of a Mysore Sandal soap.

Inspired by the countless rangolis I have seen on cement floors and red-oxide floors, I came up with the following.

Am not so good with brushes, but gave the pieces a try anyways. They are thin pieces and came in handy as gifts to the religious elders in my extended family.

If you see the word `Om' done using the dotted rangoli style, let me tell you I also used this design to make two other bookmarks with the words - `Dream' and `Hope'. My cousin gladly grabbed them.

You could try them too if you wish to. If there are queries, mail me:) radicreative@gmail.com

Pictures: Radhika M B