She takes one chapter of Thiruppavai daily and explains the content of it through a kolam design.
“Thiruppavai is a Tamil devotional poem attributed to the poet-saint Andal. It is usually sung in the context of the vrutham that is observed during the month of Margazhi (December). Andal has sung 30 songs to observe Margazhi penance for 30 days. It is believed that during Margazhi maasam, one should give up all luxuries and offer prayers to God. In many parts of Tamil Nadu, people still follow the concept of Margazhi nonbu. I have researched the history of kolam and am fascinated by it. I thought to explore Thiruppavai through kolam designs,” says Meenakshi.
The engineer-turned-historian started the series on December 16 and is planning to end after Pongal.
“The first five pasurams (poems) of Thiruppavai are an introduction to the Margazhi nonbu. In the next ten songs, Andal invites all women to participate in the penance. There are different types of kolam but I am doing the series in sikku kolam. It is also called pulli kolam. For eg, in the third pasuram, Andal speaks about the benefits we get by observing the nonbu and praising Lord Thrivikrama who grew and measured the three worlds. Rain thrice a month, prosperous crop fields, copious amounts of cow milk are a few of the benefits she lists.
This kolam depicts Lord Thrivikrama avatar of Lord Vishnu and Andal praying him. I have done a kolam of the Thrivikrama avatar and Andal worshipping him to get all these benefits,” she explains.