Makers of Mol’lam

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All / Coexistence & Harmony

Two nights prior to the full moon in May, I learned to weave a coconut frond, from my friend at the food forest (natureWORKS). I prefer for her a word used centuries back in India, that is mostly forgotten and in disuse today–kalyanmitra (friend in well-being).

I was both grateful and filled with joy by my experience. The act of making a Mol’lam (a woven coconut frond) brought forth to mind many images and much inspiration.

As an ode to all early crafters, who have helped establish the human experience of solidarity and contentment, and opened our hearts to receive with humility, and to Goa’s very own Makers of Mol’lam , including the two in the first photo, I dedicate this inspired verse.

Thank you note: I had originally used the word Mollan, which was accepted by all who read the post. However, a friend and journalist, writer from Goa, corrected me and pointed to the original spelling Mol’lam (guessing it is phonetic). I have made the edit.

Image courtesy: natureWORKS, Pilerne, Goa. All images are licensed under Copyleft

Makers of Mol’lam
You weave a frond
That the breeze once moved

A wave, a swish, a sway
In greeting
For those who took the time 
To look.

How did you imagine 
A frond you could weave
What made you braid 
This divided leaf?

Did you lay on it first
Or use it as a fence
Did the gaps show you
That a weave and a knot would 
Help serve your end?

Through your hand, to your heart 
Did the veins carry inspiration
Not a moment of genius
But of attention?

You tried and you tried again
Till the gaps were closed
And the frond, 
Once a leaf, now a Mol’lam 
Came to be known.

Beauty unchanged
Imperfection remains
The drying leaf, its brittle ends
In colours that have shades
Our palettes do not contain.

Makers of Mol’lam
Don’t you stop
Let the fingers feel 
Let me kneel
In humility
For I do not craft,
I make not beauty, nor art.

Inspiration flows, 
It carries on.
To those who receive
It belongs
When a moment of attention
Calls it forth.

Oh, makers of Mol’lam
Please don’t stop
For our hands must continue 
To use what is given
And is received.

To take there is no need
Plenty is ours
We must know how to kneel
Not with heads bowed down
But with hearts open.

If our hands don’t remember to make
Our hearts slowly will forget
That beauty is as it is
Imperfect.

Makers of Mol’lam
Mothers, fathers
Ancestors, and elders
Through you inspiration flows.

I call it forth
With folded legs, bent at the knees
While hands they weave
Do not close in prayer
Open they are to receive.

Reverent in humility
As I watch the leaf respond
For it is not I that craft
I make not beauty, nor art.

The Author

I began as a blog about a book that was produced with care and respect for the environment, and included the binding skills and creativity of those who may not have use of their legs but their hands have the deftness to make. Today my voice continues to lend itself to topics that include humans, non-humans, nature, and equity. I observe, experience, research, understand, and share perspective and stories.

3 Comments

  1. Gouri Nagjee says

    It maybe that you do not craft nor weave a mollan but you do weave your magic with your words !

  2. Indu Sethi says

    THE Mollan is beautifully woven in words.
    Thanx for sharing.

  3. Joaquim Fernandes says

    Good writing, Neha. You bring to vivid life, something we in Goa have grown to ignore. It’s true…we need to go back to basics….back to nature, as much as we can. Keep up your good work!

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