We often crib about traditional art dying but do very little to revive it. I remember rangoli (traditional Indian decoration and patterns; called kolam in Tamil) designs being drawn everywhere whenever there was a festive occasion. In south Indian homes, kolam patterns were and still are drawn every day as a routine. Earlier, it used to be a joyful routine, but now it is becoming a dying art. Hence, it is wonderful to see people doing something about it.
In her childhood, Deepika Velamurugan, from Srirangam, would observe her mother decorate the entrance to their house with rangoli. These were intricate and beautiful designs made using a combination of dots, different geometrical lines, shapes, and colours. One day, following in her mother’s footsteps, Deepika painted a rangoli pattern on a wooden cradle separator and posted it on Instagram. A few people enquired if it was for sale. Thus, the idea of starting a business germinated in her mind. Further, she felt that, in the process, she would be able to do something to revive tradition and culture.
Deepika now has around 30,000 online followers on her business website, Hometocherish. Initially, she began by making shelves and steps that people use in South India during Navratri to decorate their homes. Soon, she also started making plaques and panels. She uses paint instead of the traditional rice flour that was used earlier, keeping with the current times. As she is very fond of this art, it isn’t difficult for her to draw designs requested by her customers. As a lover of tradition, she wants to make products that promote it. Her husband and family members support her wholeheartedly in pursuing her passion.
In the beginning, however, she did face challenges. As a mom of two kids and coming from a joint family, managing time wasn’t that easy, but with planning and determination, she managed to do so. She makes each and every product with utmost care, as if she were creating it for herself. She cherishes the feedback from her customers, and when they share pictures of their homes with her products displayed, she feels thrilled.
Today, she is making a profit of over seventy thousand rupees per month doing what she loves—a winning combination! With her experience, she is planning to introduce some new products to promote our traditional values. Knowing her passion and dedication, I for one am certain of its possibility.
-By Jamuna Rangachari
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