The preparation of these tattoos used in the Tamil Nadu involves natural things. Turmeric and akathikkeerai (leaves of Sesboina grandi flora) are powdered together in a grinding stone, spread on a thin cloth and rolled up in the form of a wick. The wick is then lighted.
The pigments are prepared from the soot of lamps mixed with the ashes of burnt tobacco and the juice of the babul tree. Indigo colour is used for blue dots in the tattoos and vermilion is used for the red ones. There are three small sewing needle tied together with a thread are used as the pricking instrument.
The tattooing is a folk entertainment of Tamil Nadu in which a pattern is selected from a bundle of drawings. Then it is first traced on the skin with a blunt stick dipped in the prepared ink, which is pricked in with needles. This particular part is then washed well with cold water and a caste of ink rubbed over the surface. A small amount of coconut oil is applied to get relief from the pain. Thereafter, turmeric powder is massaged to brighten the colour and to prevent swelling.
There is another type of folk entertainment in Tamil Nadu, which is known as Kollam in that state. It is also known as 'Alpana' or 'Rangoli' in many parts of the country. Every girl of Tamil Nadu practices this folk entertainment tradition since childhood. They are trained by the elder ladies in the family to make kolams of geometric patterns and floral decorative motifs. The intricate designs are drawn with white powder held between the thumb and the first finger. Every morning, these Kolams are drawn on the floor by the women members of the family at the front side of their residences. While during the festivals, the whole streets are decorated with kolams. Kolam is also drawn on pots, on marriage platforms, etc.
Another folk entertainment in Tamil Nadu is the drawing of figures of Gods and Goddesses by the chalk piece or charcoal on the pavements by handicapped folk and beggars. These are drawn in a very artistic manner. These drawings had the proportions of the limbs of each figure and the colour matching. These had various details, which indicates great skill and attracted the attention of the onlookers. The people stop for several minutes to watch the artist at work and help him to make a decent collection.
The inhabitants of Tamil Nadu have different folk games as a medium of entertainment. There are several games, which are being played by the villagers in Tamil Nadu from time immemorial. Few types of folk games are discussed here:
Silambam is a folk game of Tamil Nadu, which invokes the visions of the gallantry and the valour of the bygone days. This ancient game is a combative activity, typical to this part of the country. This folk game involves good exercise and teaches men to defend themselves when attacked by enemies. This game is not a mere exercising of the stick or the staff. It involves deft techniques, footwork and precise use of staff in swings, cuts, thrusts, chops and flourishes. Its three-fold virtues are thrilling as a spectacle, exciting as a competition and vital as a combative measure for self-defense.
This folk game of Tamil Nadu is played with two teams. A member of the team recites a statement or some saying continuously holding his breath and crossing the central line enters the zone of the opponent. Now, he has to touch someone from the opposite team and leave the zone without being caught. If he becomes able to do so then the person touched is out. Again, if the player fails to leave the zone and is pulled by an opponent or he is unable to return to his zone without losing breath, then the player is out. The game continues till a whole team is out. This is a game, which involves competition in holding breath for a longer time.
Pachai-k-Kuthirai or Leap Frog:
This is another folk game of Tamil Nadu in which one boy stands with bent body and hands touching his feet. He is the kuthirai or horse. To continue with the game, other boys come running and place their hands on his back spread their legs sideways and jump over him. The boy in the bending position increases the height and thus the jump is made gradually more difficult, when he attains his full height. In this process, if any boy touches the body of the kuthirai without leaping over him, then he will have to be the 'horse' for others.
This folk game of Tamil Nadu resembles somewhat the modern day cricket. It is a cricket played with two bats, a round stick and a small peg four inches long, chiselled at both ends. The peg is placed down, then lifted by the longer stick and hit. This will fly some distance before dropping down. Now, the other person standing on the spot aims at the peg and hits it. The boy is out when a competitor catches the flying peg. This game is very risky as the peg may hit the eyes.
Nila-puchi or moonlight play:
This folk game of Tamil Nadu involves two teams. The two teams try to catch each other. The members of one team can catch the other team members only while entering into the moonlight and the other only in the shadow.
Nondi or the Game of One Leg:
Nondi is a folk game, which is played by children of Tamil Nadu. In this game, a square is marked on the ground and two teams of five or six are formed. One team stands on one side and a member of the other jumps with one leg and tries to catch those who are within the enclosure and try to dodge him. The player is out when he lets down the bent leg. On the other hand, if he stands on one leg for a long time, the players inside the square will throw sand on his leg to exhaust him.
There are few other games, which are played as an entertainment in Tamil Nadu. The rural people mainly play these games during their off time and in the afternoons. These folk games of Tamil Nadu include the 'thavam' (a game like chess played with pieces on a board), 'pallan-guzfji'. This game is played with tamarind or other seeds put into 14 small pits on a plank. There are games like hide and seek or (blind man's buff), thiri bommakke, othaya rettaiva (tossing up and catching a ball or a fruit at odd and even count) and 'kitti' (played with two sets of sticks). The traditional folk game which has entertained people of Tamil Nadu very much is the kite-flying (in the dry season). The making of paper-boats and letting them sail in the streets on rainy days, 'seenadi' (a form of wresting), varmanian (a competition for effective control of nerves), etc are also popular in Tamil Nadu.
(Last Updated on : 23-01-2010)
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