A friend of mine, Varsha Ramesh, runs this awesome library called Books n More in Secunderabad. (

To give you an idea of my association with the library in short all I will say is that the place has extremely positive vibrations. No matter what my frame of mind when I enter, I am refreshed and so happy when I come out of there.

Anyway, she trusted me with a lot of customized art work for the library and I was more than happy to do it for her. One such was the streamers around the windows. We were contemplating wooden streamers, painting around the windows, paper, laminates and what not. Finally we settled on cloth streamers since they need only nails to hold up and can be removed and hand-washed, most importantly they can withstand some amount of abuse, considering there are some really boisterous kids around.

Next was mind-storming sessions about what. She is a big madhubani lover but she already got a big Madhubani Sangu chakram for the main hall. Next was Warli. And when we were discussing this we came up with this brilliant question. Why aren’t we proudly displaying our traditional kolams. Yessss!(I said).

She wanted the Indian red (terracotta) finish. So I got on the job much enthused. My tailor lady Rajeshwari came home and I gave her the measurements to stitch. I decided to paint on an off-white cloth and paint the Indian red around the kolams.  I measured and drew my circles and brought out all my small kolams from my mothers sacred kolam collections. I incorporated all the possible kolams related to Godess Saraswati as she is Godess of knowledge and learning. I also included some Krishna pada kolams that are traditionally south Indian, made during Krishna Jayanthi since the library is always swarming with kids. My most exciting thing about this project was that I got to learn a tradtional Marathi rangoli made during their Saraswati pooja. The timing of this learning for me was unbelievable.

And in between those I drew a few neli kolams with white. So there was the red oxide on white look as well as rice paste on red oxide look. I stuck some kundan stones with fevicryl fabric glue around the white circles to finish them.

I was happy with the complete south Indian kolam concept defined on these thin streamers.

Photographs are below.

(Ranjani Chandran)

Window streamer kolams (1) Window streamer kolams (2) Window streamer kolams (3) Window streamer kolams (5) Window streamer kolams (6) Window streamer kolams (8) Window streamer kolams (9)


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