Tag Archives: festival

The Real Essence of Kolam contest, Myalpore Festival 2018

All great cities have a soul. Mylapore can rightfully claim to be the soul of Chennai city here in south India. It pre-dates Chennai’s birth in the 17th cent. And has seen the city grow as it has, its own. Mylapore retains the look and feel of an old neighborhood, the culture and heritage typically south Indian, yet it has not escaped development. This place that is proud of its arts, culture and tradition and people is just the setting for a cultural festival. A festival held in its very heart and around a great temple. Held every year in early January. It was a grand show in 2018 and the traditional pulli kolam contest was held as a part of festival.Around 100 women and men fought it out on a four-ft-by-four-ft space for 15 prizes in the 45-minute contest on the east end of North Mada Street.  Neetesh Kumar has captured the beautiful scenes of kolam contest during the Mylapore festival and his story telling images depict  not only the real essence of old traditional pulli Kolam but also his beautiful composition.

 

Thanks Neetesh Kumar for the wonderful pictures and all images are copy right protected.

Quick bites with Ashwani kumar

Ashwani Kumar is an Indian English poet, author and Professor of Development Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai). His books include Banaras and the Other (Poetrywala; Mumbai), first of a trilogy on religious cities in India; My Grandfather’s Imaginary Typewriter (Yeti Books; Calicut) and Community Warriors (Anthem Press; London) among others. His poems, reviews and columns are widely published. He is also one of the chief editors of London School of Economics’ prestigious publication ‘Global Civil Society’. He has been visiting fellow to leading universities around the world. Presently, he is a Senior Fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

  1. Can you say something about what made you write your first poem?

“I was wounded early,/and early I learned/ that wounds made me” (Adonis). Don’t remember exactly what made me write the first poem; probably when I loosened the promontory childhood memories and experienced the furious lashing of adult fantasies of vernacular language in the palai(desert) in my backyard.

  1. What does poetry mean to you? What do you feel when writing poetry?

Poetry is like ‘skies with burning funnels’, and poets swim in the thick maelstroms ‘under the terrible eyes of prison ships’ as the French poet Arthur Rimbaud said. I am neither a formal student of literature nor a workshop trained poet.  So personally speaking, I feel like burning in the fire of my own ashes when I am writing poetry.

  1. Do you think poetry speaks to all kinds of people in all walks of life? How do you think we can take poetry out its confined literary circle?

Poetry is not an opaque mystical thing that only so-called Godmen, spiritual healers or over educated  literati  can experience.  It speaks to all. Remember what saint-poet Basavanna said “The rich/will make temples for Siva. /What shall I, /a poor man, /do? /My legs are pillars,/the body the shrine,/the head a cupola/of gold.  In other words, only poetry can heal the wounds caused by Varna divide and quotidian injustices. Thus, poetry needs to be liberated from a culturally impoverished elite minority and neo-middle classes. And we need to create more inclusive mythic and mimetic poetic spaces with million tongues gossiping and quarrelling about the poetry. I am happy that poetry with Prakriti is one such instance.

  1. When do you write poetry? Is there a specific time in a day? What makes you write a poem?

When I am listening my imaginary Granny Maria’s favourite song ‘Picotante, paralysante…picotante, paralysante’ or when I am between my trips to the farmer’s market and making litti-chokha for my neighbours in Bavaria.  But let me tell you the truth, I often fantasize about not writing anything.

  1. What do you think of this new wave of insta poetry of today? Would you treat it as poetry too?

New poetic traditions evolve, and old traditions acquire new indexical and symbolic forms. So wont be surprised if Insta poetry becomes   triumphant messenger in the hubbub of La La land of baby-faced millennials.  In short, Insta poetry is a liquid poetic body without permanent organs.  Guard it from the narcissistic, guilt-ridden trolls and bots!

  1. Where do you want to take your work in d future in terms of poetry?

Presently planning to complete the Banaras trilogy. Hope, my poetry in future remains unvanquished satyagraha against the growing power of ‘lies and more lies’!

Thanks Prakriti foundation for organizing such wonderful event.

Thank you Haris, Gopi, Smita Anand for the pictures.

 

Enthralling Navarathri Festival in Chennai | Photo Story

In the north, the beautiful people sway their hips to the dance of Garba and depict the life of Rama as Ramlila.
In the east,the devotees submerge the statue of Ma Durga in the river which is followed by a tearful farewell to send her off.In the west,the leaves of the aapta tree are exchanged which is considered auspicious.And then comes our place,the south.where the entire celebration takes place for 9 days called Navarathri by building a rack of odd-numbered shelves or padi set up using wooden planks. After the golu is covered with fabric it is then adorned with various dolls, figurines and toys according to their size, with the deities at the top.Even golu dolls have evolved these days so much that we have dolls of ganesh ji checking his phone and trains going around the golu padi.

But in the authentic way, golu used to depict the court scenes of the olden days,the day to day happenings of the Pandits and many more.Even tough that authentic touch is lost in many places there are some places where they are still kept in check.And one such beautiful place is Mylapore. I stroll through the north mada street in the morning as bhanjans fill the street and smell of the still moist sand fill my nostrils.The entire surrounding is busy as people continue purchasing golu dolls throughout the day.

I see many new and different dolls. Dolls moving their head on their own, ganesh ji poising his sense of calmness, Rama and lakshmana ready for their vana yaatra and so many more dolls depicting the old Indian myths.
The temples are a view to behold as people fled in and out to adorn this beautiful kolu.

Then comes my favourite part, the Sundal. It is kept in front of the kolu and prayed for the well being of all and it is served as prasad .With spicy chillies and small mustards it sure does add flavour to the festive season of vijayadashami. Kolu not only form a part of house but it’s seen in colleges and schools where teachers and students together enjoy this joyous moment. The series of pictures depict the mood of festival.
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An article by Jaya Roshini and Photographs by Srivatsan Sankaran and Pavithraa Swaminathan