Aipan – A Journey Back In Time

It makes me nostalgic.

Little things that happened around me, that I imbibed into my being just like that. Like many of us who Are trying to keep a little bit of what they left behind.

Traditions, not rigid rituals. Memories not compulsion.
Festivals often bring back the yearning to go back into time.

One such custom brings back memories of a time when the Goddess was in my hands.
Yeah literally ☺️

It was the time when we had to make Aipan.
A folk art from the hills of Kumaon which is mainly drawn at the doorstep, or temple all year round. The design varies according to occasion but it always starts and ends with a dot.

The dot represents the universe… everything else like the lines and the designs are connected to the dot.
Nowadays aipan is made with paints and colours but in our homes traditionally it is made with red mud (geru) as base and grinded rice paste for making the design.

The essential is making the feet of the Goddess entering into the house.
Laxmi is the Goddess of Prosperity and this symbolises welcoming her into your home especially during Diwali.

When the design was made with rice paste the easiest way to make perfect Laxmi feet were by dipping the side fist of the youngest child in the paste and then making an imprint. Both fists means equal size of feet and small enough to fit into the same circle with no smudging or smearing.
I was the youngest, so during this time I surely didn’t miss any opportunity to show my Godliness.

As we grew a little more – little more, drawing aipan became my duty during Diwali and then few years later life happened. Diwali became a commercial statement and the enjoyment became more about cards and cheers. The routine was different, the priority was different and aipan was replaced by rangoli made from stencils. Something was missing.

This Diwali I decided to go back to where it all came from… For me.
This year I decided to start the journey back into being me.

It is hardwork, but this year I decided to find my Godliness.
And like all other celebrations in a Kumaoni home… I started with aipan.
On a red strip, I placed the dot of white…the center of my universe.



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