Muggulu as a Mantra

Ever since my grandmother introduced me to muggulu when I was 12, I’ve been fascinated with drawing these designs. Though I’ve never been able to draw the intricate connect the dot muggulu and rangolis, I found that I could use the padmam shape as a framework, filling it in bit by bit, allowing each piece of the puzzle to come to me in its own time. With patience and persistence, and without force.

The symmetry and repetition is calming and meditative like a mantra and I’ve drawn hundreds of unique designs over the last 20 years, usually on the back of used sticky notes or other square cards. But sometimes we lock ourselves into patterns, habits, and identities, as I did with the padmam in a square. I convinced myself that’s all I could do. That other shapes and patterns were beyond me.

But I love making blank spaces beautiful, so I kept trying, letting each piece come to me in its own time, leaning into symmetry and repetition, expanding against the constraints bit by bit until I broke out of that locked square.

It’s helping me expand my own view of myself, as someone who can fill any blank space with beauty regardless of shape or pattern. Perhaps someday, I can expand enough to make the connect the dot muggulu that my grandmother tried to teach me. Perhaps it’ll help me break out of other constraining patterns and shapes.

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