The month of Chingham begins today, so technically all of you are supposed to wish me a happy new year 😁 the first day of the new year according to the Malayalam calendar, which also means that the festival of Onam is imminent. Without a doubt, I find home and my folks the best place to be during such an occasion–for the rituals, for the food, and the togetherness that comes along. However for the past few years, I’ve been spending most of my Onams outside Kerala. These Onams have been special as well. They have come by in the form of the inter-hostel pookalam or the flower carpet competition on campus. On this campus, we have hostel-wise competition for the pookalam, conducted by the Malayalee Association and spearheaded by the Malayalees on the day of Thiruonam (main Onam day, the 2nd day of the 4 festival holidays/ Thiruonam is the moon-sign of that day :)). So I give you a walk thru of a flower carpet, one of our best efforts with flowers … Formally then, this post is a pictorial account or documentation of the pookalam at our hostel one year
The process of making a flower carpet or “Pookalam” as it is called in Malayalam is fun in the first place but when it comes as part of a competition, the management of time, people,flowers and resources and the making of it, demands additional attention.
To break up the word,
Poovu in Malayalam means Flower, Kalam approximately means shape
Be careful, the pronunciation does not sound like the last name of our former president Kalam.
the K in kalam sounds like ‘cu’ in cup, /cu/ add a /l/sound, and then end it with the /um/of museum.
If you by chance give additional stress to the /l/ then the word will mean “a lie”
Poo (as in Winnie the /Pooh/) + culum = Pookalam
By now you should understand that Malayalm is a language where the tongue touches almost all the parts of the mouth to make and obstruct the air to produce sound. A language to exercise the tongue, may be if there is something like that
Our Pookalam this time, we were a little ambitious, we tried some absolutely new techniques which most of us, barring two, did not know… and the results were not bad.. we loved what we did, we are still obsessed with it, and we applaud ourselves for the final product that is displayed in our hostel mess and the togetherness it brought in is amazing It seems that we know many new faces in the mess after the event
Into the process and here it begins ……
The outline first – with chalk, twine and tape. It is kind of mathematics. Circles intersecting each other and rubbing away the extra lines…
A couple of us headed to the Dadar flower mart early in the morning to buy our flowers, morning markets are always an experience…
back home, I love visiting the fish market early in the morning, witnessing the the different auctions and the loving the expertise with which they cut and clean the fish in the rubber aprons and gum boots
Absolutely loved the Dadar journey We bought the flowers brought them to the hostel, the girls were ready out of their sleep to start the process of cutting it into the different shapes as per the requirements of the design, tough task.. as uniformity and consistency is the key…. many of us ended with green, orange, yellow fingers..
Step by step we begin to arrange the flowers in the columns according to design, from the centre…. with modifications, according to our aesthetics, according to the availability of the flowers…
The show begins, it’s on the road…
The new something we tried – we tried to blend colours with flowers for the sky and a little 3 dimensional effect for the rugged mountains
Finally when you are running against time, the clock ticks at its pace, all hands are on board to fill in the remaining empty space
The Final Touches …. cleaning … precision…
Source: Saying it with Flowers on Onam