The ‘kolu’ at the Sri Parthasarathy temple in Triplicane was a much smaller affair unlike the one put up in the rear prakaram last year which is still fresh in my memory. The rich variety was arranged according to themes of mythology and the celestial world appeared so vivid that we felt we were witnessing Venkateswara kalyanam and Sri Rama Pattabhishekam ( I learnt from one of the staffers in the temple that the previous year’s kolu was organized by a private party ).
The kolu at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan which was put up for the first time had a mix of mythology, religion and a cross section of Indian society. The highlight was the kondapalli corner, especially the overloaded bullock cart driven by a woman held the onlooker’s attention.There was a music concert every evening by budding artistes who generally performed well, however with an exception. The young lady’s performance did not match her air of confidence as she lacked in both sruthi and swara sense. Unable to sit through the concert anymore we gently quit the venue, collected the sundal that was being distributed at the entrance of the building. A taste of it was enough to prove that it was also ‘half baked.’ When we casually entered the main auditorium a spell binding Mandolin concert by Mandolin sisters, Sriusha and Sreesha was in progress. They were concluding playing Mahi shasura mardhini which was followed by Govindanama of SriVenkateswara which was a real feast to our ears. So also was the dance recital by Revathi Ramachandran and her troupe to our eyes
The kolu at SriPadmanabha Swamy temple depicted the State’s culture in all its diversity. A replica of the Presiding deity occupying the centre on the top step was the cynosure of all eyes. The bottom most step comprised an elderly couple looking very natural and graceful, the woman’s grey hair added dignity to her glowing and spotless face. The rural background in which they were set appeared just right. The music concert by a young artiste was good, so was the ‘prasadam’ of hot pongal.
A few of the kolus put up by some of my friends comprised mostly their vintage collection, dating back to previous generations. The icons that stood out were Hyagriva and Bhoovaraha with Lakshmi seated on their lap, Saraswathi and Seetha, looking very demure and coy, and the beautiful Dasavatara set among the rest.
A word about my own kolu which I should confess was a kolu with a difference as it represented the three R’s—the religious, the royal and the rural India besides a ‘miniscule world’ we happened to visit through the years.
N Meera Raghavendra Rao