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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Shree Krishna Janmashtami

tanjore painting aalilai krishnan
This year, we were lucky to have my mom here for Krishna Janmashtami.

Traditionally, just the beaten rice with jaggery, fruits, milk and butter were the offerings at this festival. But, when we were kids, my mom was looking for reasons to start new traditions and have tasty new snacks handy at home.

So, she started making Thenkuzhal, Ribbon Pakkoda, Oma Podi, Muthsaram, Murukku, Cheedai as well as Nei Appam, Paal Payasam etc. Now that Ana is just about the right age to try new foods, my mom went all out and made a huge array of festival foods for Krishna Janmashtami.

I have always shied away from displaying the Tanjore Art I made, but, she insisted on using my Aalilai Krishnan for the festival decoration this year. I felt pretty touched.

tanjore painting aalilai krishnanI learnt Tanjore Art, as it is called, from a master when I was in Chennai. I love the gold foil and stones, but, more importantly I love the style of rendition of the Gods in this art form.

When my master asked me if I wanted to do the traditional Ganesha for my first independent work, I hesitated... I was eyeing the Aalilai Krishnan sample longingly. And that's what he guided me to finish - starting from preparing the board, to tracing the figure, to making the base outlines with the paste to adding gold foil and stones and finally painting the image.

I was terrified of ruining the laborious work by jerking my hand when painting the eyebrows or mouth, and I remember appealing to my master to finish it for me.

I have done a couple of small ones since - just elephants - and am still not confident of taking on a large project. But, someday, when kids are older and I have a ton of patience, I'll take it up again...

tanjore painting aalilai krishnanThe wonderful thing about it this year for me was that my mom took care of the prasadam and pooja, so all I had to do was dress myself and the kids up and join in the traditional bhajans/songs at the end of the pooja welcoming Krishna.

Ana sang the Happy Birthday song for Krishna's birthday, and since my mom made the footsteps from rice paste when Ana wasn't looking, we were able to convince Ana that Krishna stopped by and ate the butter she left out for him by the prayer stand :)

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At 12:37 PM, Blogger Tharini said...

You are definitely a woman of many layers and talents. The painting is beautiful. That was one heck of a celebration, topped off by the very lovely picture of the two kids.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Reva said...

Wow.. you continue to amaze me with your talents.. is there something you cannot do?! That Tanjore painting is beautiful..please do post pics of the smaller ones too!

The kids look very cute all dressed up and would you please post all those recipes on your other blog?


At 5:08 PM, Blogger Sheela said...

thanks Tharini and Reva, you are too kind... I strongly believe painting the Gods in Tanjore Art is a gift from the Gods themselves and I don't have that gift yet - I could not have done this work without my master's constant guidance... maybe someday I'll get the divine inspiration i need to create more Tanjore Art...


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