#NICEStories – Kolam Podu: Creativity, Skills, and Mindfulness in the Digital Age

In the heart of Chennai, where the vibrant colors of tradition merge with the dynamic hues of modernity, there is a venture that combines timeless tradition with a modern twist. Kolam Podu, an enchanting creation by Bhargavii Mani, is not merely a business but a brand that harmonizes the ancient Indian art form of Kolam with a touch of modern intelligence.

Kolam Podu provides accessible and informative content in the form of Draw Happiness – Tracing Series books. These books or artistic resources enable people of all age groups to experience art and aim to present Kolam authentically and appreciatively.

The Ephemerality of Kolam

Kolam translates to the traditional floor-art form often practiced as a daily ritual, particularly in the Southern Indian peninsula. It is known by different names in the region: muggulu in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Rangoli in Maharashtra, Hase and Rangavali in Karnataka, Alopana in Bengal, and a few more.

The floor art is seen as a practice of reverence to the divine. Each design is said to represent positive energies and/or invite the divine into the home. The beauty of this Indian art form is in its ephemeral nature.

Every day, you have a new artistic expression on the floor with a sense of spirituality and connection to the divine. And the next day, a new expression of the traditional art, which in time transcends generations and art.

Blending Creativity into Modern Convenience

Bhargavii’s idea was to enable people to appreciate this complex art form and recognize that this art could help with learning, cognitive skills development, enhance peoples’ grey cells and so much more! So she designed a book with Kolams titled ‘Draw Happiness’. The series of books had different types of kolam designs that would challenge people’s creativity, and at the same time bring about their mental well-being. One of the best features of these books is that they are accessible to all and especially easy to carry!

The Beeja of The Art

The beginning of the ‘Draw Happiness’ series of books had a very uncommon beginning. Bhargavii was helping and waiting for her kin to recover at a hospital. While waiting, she took up a pen and paper to distract herself. And can you guess the first thing she did? Her natural muscle memory flowed in the form of Kolam on paper. As she went about her ‘Beeja Kolam’ drawings, the staff at the hospital came about and shared their versions of the art form.

A small art design on paper led to creating a community around her, that too at the hospital! This made her wonder if she could actually bring people together or even bring communities together. The original idea was to create a game, as that would be more accessible through the click of a button. Bhargavii pitched the idea to a well-known software developer friend, but he suggested trying another method as this would not yield any profits for her brand.

And there came about ‘Draw Happiness’!

Challenges of The Conformist Minds

Bhragavii knows the significance of her venture and such heartfelt stories having a real impact on the world is what keeps her resilient. A major challenge she mentions is that a lot of people are unaware that such an art form exists, hence not many of them would buy these books. In fact, all the books she has sold after the launch this year in June, are through word-of-mouth.

Dance of Patterns and Symbolism

In the complex world that we live in, Kolam Podu has brought forth a ‘Drawing Happiness’ collection. When asked about the true meaning behind the term, Bhargavii brimmed with a smile and gave the following example:

“I was at a school and had some of the ‘Draw Happiness’ series books on a table. A young shy boy was standing in one corner and later came to me, with his mother. His mother got him the full series and we bid our goodbyes. 

To my surprise, this young boy’s mother came back to me after a month and said that she had never seen her child so engaged and happy. She was delighted that her child who hated sitting down for homework, would now religiously go to the Draw Happiness books every single day and she could see her child’s overall cognitive skills improving.”

That is the real influence of the art that many people tend to forget.

Language of Patterns

This specific art form has 3 basic principles, i.e., all the dots have to be covered, no double-crossing of lines, and the design should be symmetrical. Sounds simple, right? Try your hand at a simple Border Kolam – Tracing Series. Give it a shot and check for yourself. It isn’t as easy as it seems, right?

Kolam is more than just a decorative art form; it is a language of patterns, each line and curve whispering tales of tradition and symbolism. From geometric precision to the intricate balance of colors, this learning artform embodies the soul of cultural heritage. Kolam Podu, in its essence, understands this complexity, embracing it as the very heart of its existence.

The Digital Canvas: Where Tradition Meets Intelligence

Simplicity at Kolam Podu is an illusion. Behind the seemingly effortless strokes lies a profound complexity that mirrors life itself and gives meaning to a lot of people. Traditional forms of learning (also read as “verbatim learning overshadowing creativity”), can hamper the natural cognitive building skills of young children, teenagers, and even adults. Kolam Podu is challenging these notions of intelligence, mindfulness, and creativity. Not only is the brand bringing new ways of intellectual-cognitive development, but it is also encouraging people to challenge the traditional educational systems.

Expressing Happiness Through Drawing

Launching the series of books this year, Kolam Podu has reached the masses organically and through their Instagram page. For Bhargavii, she believes that the organic reach through the word-of-mouth of her customers is a healthy way of building the brand from the ground up. Ms.Mani celebrates the fact that her customers are her brand mascots! People who interact with Kolam Podu enquire about the products, give feedback/inputs, share heartwarming stories, et al. have all contributed to the company’s healthy reputation.

Browsing through the website, one embarks on a captivating journey. Crafted with care and expertise, these books retain the essence of age-old traditions while embracing the advancements of modern science. The website doesn’t just sell these books; it offers the tools to transform imagination into intricate designs, that too at an affordable price. 

The Tracing Series with different grids ranges from Rs.150 for a single book to Rs.1500 for their full kit. The Tracing Series is the inaugural series, and it marks the beginning of a range of upcoming book collections under this brand. Here, traditional Kolam books are not just products; they are vessels of history and culture.

Tradition in the Digital Age

Tradition isn’t just preserved; it evolves. Kolam Podu isn’t just a business; it’s a movement. It’s a celebration of the timeless dance of patterns, the intricacies of culture, and the boundless possibilities of technology.

Brands such as Kolum Podu form an important element in the cultural growth of our country; especially now, when the Western influence on mass production of goods has driven handcrafted businesses to the ground.

Cultural entrepreneurship is a nascent concept in our country and only a handful of organizations, including NICEorg truly understand the importance of having more “cultural start-ups”. A lot of entrepreneurs are realising the importance of reviving the handcrafted art forms of India. 

As more consumers are looking to buy handcrafted items, the market for such unique products and handcrafted goods is increasing not only in India but across the globe as well.

As we explore this virtual universe, we realize that this brand is more than a venture – it’s a testament to the enduring spirit of creativity, connectivity, and cultural heritage. In the digital age, creativity, skills, and mindfulness are beautifully interwoven at Kolam Podu; creating a masterpiece that transcends generations and art forms, inviting the world to join in the mesmerizing art of Kolam.

Author: Maithili Rao

Maithili Rao is an engineer turned marketer. She is a Digital Marketing professional with more than 5+ years of experience working with various startups. Maithili enjoys interacting with dynamic individuals and writing about them, and the real-world connections; that matter the most in this day and age.

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