“Miss, Miss, we bought a pongal panai miss. I went to the market with my father miss. It is beautiful, miss. We will cook Pongal in that pot, miss.” That’s right, there are more ‘miss’s than number of sentences The second-grader had been bursting with the news ever since he saw the pots on the table.
In most Hindu homes, Sarkarai Pongal or sweet pongal is still cooked in decorated earthenware pots on Thai Pongal. For today’s activity, I had brought medium size pots for the kids to decorate.
The half-yearly exams had been postponed to this week thanks to last month’s rains in Chennai. There was less instruction time than usual before Pongal. So we decided to give the kids chalk to decorate the pots rather than paint.
After handing them the pots and the white chalk, the kids were told they could design their pot any way they wanted to. If they decided to recreate the patterns they saw in the Pongal panai, that was fine by us. If they wanted to create something entirely new, that too was fine.
I have never seen the class so completely quiet and absorbed in their work.
At first, the kids drew the outlines with white chalk. They obviously had very definite ideas about what they wanted to draw. They seemed to take the traditional patterns and change or add details as per their plan.
Decorating Pongal Pots
The white drawings themselves are beautiful. I was a little concerned about the colored chalk getting smudged. With our time constraints there seemed to be no better option than to use chalk for decorating Pongal pots. Maybe next year we will work on paints so that the kids’ work will stay in better shape.
Aren’t they gorgeous, though? This activity worked out well for even those kids who don’t celebrate Pongal at home. We focused on the ‘art’, and the ‘cultural’ aspect of this activity and the kids drew beautiful patterns on their pots.
If you can’t lay your hands on ready-made pots, have your students make their pots with clay.
Are those people we see? Hmmm…!
Our own stall…