Rushing to work this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to spot a Rangoli, a decorative Indian folk art form in which delightful patterns are hand drawn with coloured pigments. The few times that I have spotted one is during festive celebrations alone, with most homes opting for the ready-to-use sticker versions due to time constraints. However, the look and feel of a hand drawn Rangoli can hardly be surpassed by any of the other available alternatives, and should truly be appreciated for its aesthetics, craftsmanship, composition and much patience.
The Rangoli is mostly hand drawn by women in front of the door of their homes, living rooms or courtyard spaces, traditionally with plain and coloured rice flour and flowers. Meant to invoke blessings and bring good luck, the Rangoli lends its colourful and intricate charm to any space, and any auspicious occasion.
While the tradition has remained alive for years together, the Rangoli has had many adaptations down the line. The simplest decorative forms are drawn after the floor area is cleaned, and range from line drawings to forms filled with colour. Floral motifs, geometric patterns, elaborate designs and abstract forms in a mix of styles and executions are nothing less than a visual treat.
The traditionally used rice flour is usually combined with vermillion, turmeric and other natural pigments for a myriad of colour options. Synthetic colour variants, flowers, petals, sand, glitter, lamps and other accessories are sometimes added as a part of the arrangement. Ever since I’ve witnessed the long hours my neighbour used to spend on creating a beautiful Rangoli, I’ve been mesmerised by the immense patience and dedication that goes into this craft. So, when I heard about the Rangoli Utsav a year back, all I wanted to see for myself again was the now fading art of hand drawn Rangolis. And to my delight, it did not disappoint.
The Rangoli Utsav in Bangalore, India, is a part of the annual Ganesh Chaturti festivities by Shri Vidyaranya Yuvaka Sangha at Commercial Street. For that particular day, the otherwise busy shopping hub of the city is the canvas for participants of the Utsav. The street is blocked exclusively for a massive Rangoli contest open to all ages and a duration of 3 hours to create a Rangoli pattern in a choice of materials and styles. One of the particularly different patterns I came across here was a portrait in progress, with different tones of the coloured pigment being used for a more 3D appeal.
The smaller Rangoli design I ran into today in my vicinity was an immensely huge surprise in between the chaotic traffic snarls. I took a minute to examine the delicate strokes, the lines so precisely hand drawn, the filled colours so refreshingly appealing. Every resting grain of flour on the pavement could only speak volumes on the hours of faith and dedication that had conjured up a stunning aesthetic design. I love Rangolis, and with today’s inspiration I also reminded myself to try creating one at my home at least during a festival holiday, when I can make time for some homely arty indulgences. For more goodness, positivity and colour invoked to life itself.