If Onam sadya (feast) is a treat for tummy, pookkalam (floral carpet) is a sight for sore eyes. Besides adorning courtyards during the 10 days of Onam, competitions are held across the state where groups of people spread innovative patterns to catch the viewers’ attention. Here are two pookkalams that stood out for their purpose and design.
The thought of vegetable pookkalam crossed the minds of students of the Dept of Commerce, St. Paul’s College, Kalamassery, after their visit to Murukan’s Theruvoram NGO, a rehabilitation centre for street people, in Kakkanad. That day, the students who visited the centre dined with the inhabitants. The food was brought from outside. “I could hear them discussing about Onam celebrations. Every year, we spent a good amount for preparing the pookkalam that will get withered within a few days. Hence, I suggested making a pookkalam using vegetables, and then donating them to Theruvoram to prepare Onam sadya for the inhabitants,” says Jibin Jacob, assistant professor at the department.
Students whole-heartedly accepted the idea. On Thursday, they made a fairly big pookkalam using 150 kilos of vegetables.
“There were yam, carrot, tomato, brinjal, ladies finger, shallots and banana blossom. Along with students, the teachers too gave a share, amassing Rs 7000,” says Jibin. After a few hours’ display, the vegetables were transferred to Theruvoram Murukan, who was present at the venue.
This Onam, a group of techies from Technopark surprised everyone with a digital pookkalam, which they claim as the ‘world’s first, fully floral Interactive pookkalam’. Brainchild of the employees of Mettle Networks, an IP Networking products company, the pookkalam, made as part of the Technopark's Pookkalam competition 2019, looked unconventional and received flak from judges. However, it went viral among co-workers and netizens for its features. “It turned out to be the most liked and shared post online,” beams Anil Kumar K., co-founder and CEO of the firm, giving the entire credit to his employees Manju Thomas, Abhilash and Gokul. “We were not worried about the prize. It was done more as a self-expression of engineers.”
Although it was made entirely of flowers and laid on the ground, it would take the viewer to a website upon clicking its photograph as it had digital data encoded in the form of QR code. Those who proceed will be taken to a page where they can take part in an Onam lucky draw. Anil says they had to rehearse it three to four times. “Only flowers were used to lay this foal carpet. No salt crystals or chips were used. It took utmost care to attain the precision required for the QR code to work,” says Manju Thomas, who led the 10-member team. The trapezoidal-shaped carpet worked with the help of inverse perspective.
“We had this in mind last year. However, the competition was cancelled following the floods,” says Anil. In the lucky draw, 12 emerged as winners. Anil assures that their gifts will be on the way next week....