I am fascinated by this art! Marghazi has always been the best month when you can feast your eyes with colourful kolams all around you. The number of colourful kolams we see nowadays have reduced but still I have the pleasure of seeing at least a few everyday. I can do only small kolams in front of my house as I stay in a flat. When we were kids, I remember that my eldest sister Sujatha and our neighbour Anu used to compete in drawing huge kolams in front of our houses.
There are many kolam specialists in our family. My mother-in-law, nearing 80 years, still draws very beautiful kolams. Her enthusiasm is such that, the other day when she saw a kolam in some thamboolam bag she immediately took a paper and pen and tried it out. How many ever times I practice a kolam, I remember may be 10-15 kolams by heart and for the rest, I need to refer to my kolam book every time.
I have noticed that my sister-in-law Susila akka also does very grand kolams which I get a chance to see when I visit her during Navaratri.
My aunt Bhagya Chitti was very skilful at this art. My mother admits that this is one thing in which she is a novice but I feel that she did not have much exposure to this because during every festival my Paati used to draw all the kolams and later Bhagya Chitti being an expert took over.
I am jealous of my sister Jayashree, who does lovely kolams out of imagination. She does not follow any traditional pulli kolam or padi kolam, but just does unique floral patterned kolams which look great.
My niece Divya also does good rangolis and specialises in Kerala pookalam.
But for me the greatest kolam expert is my sister Sujatha. From childhood, I have been fascinated by her kolam notebook and it is captivating to see how swiftly she manipulates the pullis to form a grand kolam. Being a specialist in Mathematics, she is a keen observant of the lines drawn or the pullis curved to form a kolam and in case there is a mistake, she can pinpoint very easily where one has gone wrong. Everyday when I draw a kolam at my main door, I think what Sujatha will say about the symmetry of this kolam or the way the lines are drawn in case of a padi kolam. Thank you Sujatha, for introducing me to this art!