Recently we celebrated Sankranthi in India. It is a farmers festival that indicates the start of the farming season. It is a very grand celebration in villages with festivities spread over 3 days. I will not get into the details of how and why we celebrate Sankranthi, but I would like to speak about one key aspect of Sankranthi. That is the Rangoli or the Kollam that we draw to decorate our houses.
Rangoli or Kollam as it is called in South India is an art form, where we draw intricate and colourful patterns, flowers, or images on the floor with rice flour or chalk powder.
These rangolis can also be made with plain chalk powder, by drawing chain links around a series of dots to form patterns. here are a few examples of this style.
Drawing Rangoli has always been a hobby of mine that I get to indulge in during the festival of Sankranthi. I have tried quite a few patterns over the past few years. Take a look at some of them.
The festival of Sankranthi has many more aspects to it than just rangoli. You pray to the sun god Surya, fly kites, make special sweet with jaggery and sesame seeds, or peanuts etc. The festival basically indicates the start of the new farming season, so we also burn or get rid of the old articles in our house. If you are interested to know about the festival, I will do another post on that. This post has been about my love for Rangolis and their beauty.
When we talk about drawing or sketching, we think about life like imagery that one replicates with pencil or charcoal. We rethink about the complex shades that bring out light and shadow to create depth. Drawing always brings to mind images of portraits, realism, charcoal sketches, architectural drawings etc. It always sounds like a complex art that seems beyond my reach. I always felt jealous of my cousins, as they are artistically gifted.
However, now I discovered that drawing is not limited to just lifelike imagery only. There are many more styles and facets to drawing apart from realism, that requires a different set of skills like imagination, dramatic flair etc. I am talking doodling, caricatures, anime, cartoons etc. These streams of drawing are very different from traditional styles but are just as impressive and beautiful.
If you are anything like me, then, you cannot draw a straight line without a scale. Do not despair, there are many styles through which you can express yourself. Step away from the traditional classroom style and discover yourself through another style. Tell me how successful you have been and we can exchange stories of discovery.
All drawings in this blog are contributed by Sharda and Sharath
Music has long been a tool to entertain and relax. It can also be a way of expressing emotions and encouraging change. When good music is complemented with apt lyrics, it becomes a very powerful medium for inspiration and motivation. Many a time, a song can open your eyes to repressed emotions, unidentified issues that need to be addressed. It all seems farfetched to many, but ask any Pink Floyd fan and you can get a multitude of examples of how music changed them.
Staying with the example of Pink Floyd’s music, the song ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ opened up a can of worms of how the English education system oppressed free thinking and independent thought. It hit a raw nerve for me as a proponent of the old convent school system. At the same time ‘Learning to Fly’ uncovered my struggle to become my own person.
There was a time when composers like Mozart, Vivaldi, Handel, and Beethoven etc. composed complex concertos that told stories, evoked love and praised God. Music was a study of notes and instruments and all the fine arts and high society. There was nothing ugly about music in those days. Slowly the social differences were blurred and apart from classical music, jazz, folk, pop music came into prominence. Singers like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis, and Elvis Presley became the crowd favourites. Popular music from The Beatles, Abba, The Carpenters, and Boney M etc. wowed the masses. Simple tunes, simpler words and easily expressed emotions were the hallmark of this genre of music. It nonetheless invoked very strong craze and hysteria among music lovers. There are also those dark songs that help to give words to all the angst, turmoil and disquiet in the mind. Songs like ‘Fade to Black’, ‘Unforgiven’, ‘Enter Sandman’ etc. from Metallica are some examples. One can also quote songs from Iron Maiden, Nirvana, or the more recent bands like Linkin Park, Imagine Dragons etc.
I may be an aficionado of rock music, but mainstream music and pop music has many gems too. However, today’s music scene is quite different. Hip hop music, dance and EDM music are more in flavour. That still does not take away the fundamental quality to inspire.
I watched a recent Netflix show on Rap and Hip Hop music and how it is being used as a way to mobilize youth toward change. It is used to fight against oppressive regimes and cultures. Be it in Spain, Russia, Thailand even China. Gone are the days when music concert were basically composers like Bach or Beethoven or Mozart playing to entertain gentlefolk. It’s not even the Woodstock era where music spread the message of peace and free spirit. Nowadays music has taken the role of revolutionaries and militias.
Through these entire roles and titles, one thing is constant with music. It evokes feelings, inspires greatness and motivates change. It can be anything we need at any point in our life.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these images. They are sourced from Google and Pinterest.