The Footprints “Kolam”


Update for week ended 10 August 2012

Parukutty Amma had more basil and ixora to pluck and pick today. As she walked into the basil grove, her ankles brushed the plants, and she bent down to pluck the leaves. She knew which to pick and which to leave behind as there were 2 varieties in her garden, the lighter green leaves and the darker bluish tints. The former was milder in its fragrance and flavour (when chewed) and akin to the Lord Rama of Indian mythology, while the bluer tinted basil was sharper and more pungent in smell and flavour and  referred to Krishnar Tulasi by her – akin to the naughty and perky Krishna, the Lord with a flute. Tonight, Parukutty Amma was also invited to visit her neighbor for a special occasion, so she had to make a longer garland, so that she could cut the longer one for the usual temple visit, and the shorter one for the papier mache idol at Paahi Mami’s home. She ran short of the ixora flowers and so she compensated it with more of the leaves, the bluish tinted Krishnar Tulasi. After her temple visit, she hobbled out of the temple gates and headed back to her lane, but the murram road or path was slushy due to the monsoons, and she had to walk by the sides where the laterite lined walls supported as she walked. That was when a little hand slipped into hers and in his sweet sing song voice called out – “Ammamma, here I am!” “Is that you, Unni?” she asked. And her face lit up with a grin that exposed her slightly blackened teeth. “Come along to Paahi Maami’s house, and you will get nice treats to eat”, she urged him on. And as they reached the modest house of Paahi Maami, the Tamil Brahmin neighbor, Unni pulled his hand back and ran. “Careful careful, Unni,” she cried out, “you will fall if you run so fast”. As she entered the house, Lalita (Paahi Mami’s daughter greeted her, “have you come on your own? How did you manage in the dark?” Parukutty Amma laughed out, “what is darkness to a blind old woman, who has never seen light, so how does it matter?” Lalita apologetically bit her tongue and held Amma’s hand to let her into the large room, where the Krishna Idol was the centre of attraction. Parukutty amma’s feet felt the wet floor, and exclaimed, “Oh, so the little Unni has come in”, as she stepped over the freshly laid Kolam, decorativefloor prints made of rice flour and water. This one depicted little footsteps of a child walking clumsily into the house. The Idol at the centre was adorned in tinsel garlands, and lamps on either side of it gave it a glow. The treats were also spread out in front, mostly fried eats – like the cheedai, (fried crispy rice balls), murukku (deftly twisted crispy swirls of rice and lentil flour), nei-appams (sweet soft rice and jaggery balls fried in ghee) and the only non- fried avil (sweetened flaked rice). Paahi Mamibrought out the payasam, Rice and milk pudding, and laid it in front as well. She took the little garland of the green basil and red ixora from Parukutty Amma’s brass basket and adorned it onto the idol. Everyone praised the deft knotting of the perfectly symmetrical garland, and were happy that it had lots of green basil and just that hint of red ixora to make it look attractive.

The D street denizens, the D Boyz were also busy preparing for the Krishna Festival and they too enjoyed picking up greens along the week – as the SENSEX also reflected the colour. There were some red flowers that they picked, just to balance off the green, but not enough to crowd the green out. So the SENSEX did reflect some reds during the week as it ended 17557 – up from last week’s  17167. Overall, a joyous week for the Boyz as they also celebrated the festival of the human pyramid and breaking pots of milk strung high.

And then after Parukutty Amma settled down, they egged her on to sing her popular song, “Krishna Krishna Mukunda Janardhana, Krishna Govinda Narayana Hari”…. And she went into a trance like state as she sang, and little Unni looked on from outside the room, and as everyone shut their eyes in devotion singing along, he quietly sneaked in and picked up a few treats into his little palms and stuffed them into his mouth, and carried out quite   few as well. And as the song concluded, Paahi Mami lit the camphor on a brass plate to offer it to the Lord, and was surprised at some spilled payasam, and a few nei-appams rolled out of the plate. She looked around for the errant cat or Lord forbid, rat, but saw none. She also saw that the spilled payasam had been stepped upon and there were little footsteps that led out. The footsteps looked just like the ones she had made in her Kolam….. she was perplexed, but continued. At the end, Parukutty Amma got up to leave and Paahi Mami gave her a large plateful of all the treats. She asked Lalita to help carry it to Parukutty Amma’s house, but Amma resisted. She said, ”Lalita has lots of work here, so let her stay on. I will carry it with me, and Unni can help me get to my house”. That was when Paahi Mami asked, “But where is this Unni? I have not seen him. Let me also give that little Puck some sweet nei-appams.”  Everyone yelled out “Unni! Unni!”, but there was no response. Parukutty Amma shook her head and smiled, “he maybe a naughty fellow, but he is quite shy of you all. Don’t bother, I will take it for him. I am sure to find him”. And she took the extra nei-appams and walked out of the Brahmin house. And as was about to enter her house, a little hand slipped onto the plate that she held and picked up something. Parukutty Amma could not hold that hand as both of hers were occupied – holding the brass basket and the plate. But she knew who it was, “Unni! So here is a special Nei-appam for you – I will call it Unni Appam! Do you like it?” “Yes, Ammamma, it is very tasty, and I loved the payasam as well.” But Parukutty Amma was surprised, as she was not carrying any on her plate? How did he taste it when Paahi Mami had not even seen him or offered any to him?

So how did you celebrate the Krishna Festival? Do let me know.

And have a great weekend and week ahead! Cheers…

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2 thoughts on “The Footprints “Kolam”

  1. What a lovely story like the one my grandmother used to tell me when I was little- when I believed in everything & everyone!
    How Time has passed & with it shaking the solid pillars of pure,innocent & implicit भक्ति,प्रेम एवम् विश्वाम्!
    May KRISHNA’s अनुग्रहम् एवम् कृपा be upon US ALL ALWAYS!!!!!
    ऊंँ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय नमः
    ऊंँ सर्वम् कृष्णमयम् जगत् !
    Thanks for this beautiful KRISHNAKATHA!

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