Woman in Chennai depicts teachings of Periyava through Kolu

Chennai: A special thematic Kolu has stole the hearts of many Mylapore residents during this year’s Navarathri season.

This one-of-a-kind exhibition on ‘Maha Periyava as Shiva Sakthi Swaroopam’ at Bharatya Vidya Bhavan at Mylapore in the city displays several dolls, drawings and cardboard cutouts of the famous saint, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swami, depicting his teachings and way of life.

This exhibition was organised by Sudha. “I only started following the teachings of Periyava last year. Once I learnt more about his life, there has been no looking back,” she says. “When I started thinking about this, I wanted to keep it in a public place and it should attract children also. Thus I opted to keep dolls here.”

For the last four months, Sudha has been desperately finding ways to do something for Navarathri in reverence for this beloved saint. “I really had no idea how this exhibition happened,” smiles Sudha. “Once I started working on this,everything managed to fall into place.”

To make the dolls, Sudha was helped by home makers. “I told them that they had the skill to make while I had the ideas,” says Sudha. “I also wanted to make dolls of little children having pony tails and they are entirely hand made by acrots.”

She also asked one of her friends to draw some sketches of Periyava. “He did an incredible job,” says Sudha, pointing to portraits that are on display.

Before going to shops, Sudha had a list of things she needed for the exhibition. “I carefully planned and bought whatever dolls that were needed for this golu exhibition. I bought some cutouts of Periyava in T Nagar and the shop owner asked me why I was buying so many,” recollects Sudha. “When I told him that I was preparing for a non commercial exhibition, he immediately said that he will be a part of it.”

“Periyava spoke about cows and told that they should be protected . Thus we have kept a miniature cow shed,” said Sudha. “He also spoke on Veda Patashala which means that the preserving vedas is important.”

Another interesting fact is that Sudha got help from people of different faith. “The miniature cow shed was made by a Christian,” says Sudha’s husband Balu and pointing at a Thulasi madam, he adds, “This was made by a Muslim.”

There are also dolls that depict the Indian culture like different brides from across the States, ancient traditional Indian board games and even dolls performing traditional Indian dances.

Why has Sudha organised this unique exhibition? “The teachings and philosophies of Periyava is an ocean,” she says. “I wanted to share the little drop of knowledge about Periyava that I have learnt over the past one year. I want the next generation to know more about him. Periyava’s life is a manual that can be followed by everyone.”

Mohammed Rayaan