The following posts are leaves from my diary abt my vacation last year:
Tomorrow is Vishu ( April 2004)- I am arranging the kaNi – the auspicious assortment- for tomorrow’s first sight on waking up- for the first time- its always been either my amma or vallyamma- this time its me, becos amma is not here, she has gone to my uncles home with my elder son… and vallyamma is at home with her amma the konna flowers, vellarikka- coconut, ashtamangalyam, rice, coins, jewellery, mangoes, jackfruit, all arranged aesthetically in the puja room- all items to symbolize prosperity for a successful year ahead- the lamp has to be lit by the lady of the house, and then the rest of the members are brought blondfolded to see the kaNi- went abt it very enthusiastically- got my younger son to help me so that he also felt Vishu creeping up…woke up early next morning- lighted the lamp, and then got achhan and younger son to see the kaNi , covering their eyes with my palms, but honestly felt as if I was playing out a drama..somehow never been very excited abt festivals…
At the temple festival..
Today is the first day of Ulsavam- the temple festival. In the mornings, elephants- decorated with the nettipattom- a long ornate plate hung down the forehead- carrying the miniature deity, circumambulates the outer precincts of the temple- the deity is Lord Vishwambhara- the Celestial God of Medicine. Then follows the Kerala percussion symphony- Panchavaadyam,. The panchavaadyam- has 5 instruments- percussion and the beat, rhythm increases in timed pattern, the tempo rises steadily and is quite exciting- the audience responds so reflexively- one can see several heads nodding vigorously according to the rhythm-
The chaakyaarkoothu- is a one man act theatre form, the artiste recites Sanskrit slokas in a prescribed raga, then explains the meaning- usually excerpts from mythology, especially the Mahabharatha- the interesting part is that the artiste has the poetic license to interpolate contemperory satirical allusions to politics, arts, even the members of the audience. In the evening, is a saxophone katcheri by Padmashri Kadri Gopalnath accompanied by A. Kanyakumari on the violin.
There are other items on the following days,( many famous artistes have performed here in the past- Padma Subramaniam, Bharathi Shivaji, Malavika Sarukkai, U. Srinivas, Bhimsen Joshi, Dr. Balamuralikrishna, Shobhana,Chitra Vishveshwaran… to name a few. )
Kathakali overnite performances begin tomorrow nite .
Got to see Koodiyattom- Sanskrit drama- today’s performance is an adaptation of a single episode of the famous “Swapna Vasavadatta” by Bhasa. Had read a comparative study about it by a famous Malayalam critic- drawing similarities to Tennyson’s “Enuck Arden” ( I’m not sure abt the spellg). Read the latter after googling it online.it rained a bit today evening- there was thunder and lightning- but everything has settled by now- I can hear crackers outside- the intial cooling was just momentary and its sweltering now…
Then there was an exquisite dance performance by one Aswathi. V. Nair – It was scintillating- loved it. Incidentally, she is the daughter of a great Malayalam writer- M. T. Vasudevan Nair-. There was one item depicting the “navarasas” from the POV of Parvathi.
Then there were musical concerts by a duo- Ranjini, Gayathri- that was very good, another concert by Hyderabad brothers- they’re usually very good, but that day, I think they were a bit off colour. Happens to the best of them, I suppose.
The Kathakali stories were also very good- it was a bit difficult to stay awake thru out the night at times. We reached home early morning and then after finishing all the chores, all of us go to sleep until lunch time. Got to spend some quality time with my 2 uncles- mother’s brothers after a long gap-, they opine that in an art form the artiste should not become one with the character- esp in Kathakali- they say that when the artiste’s emotions filter into the prescribed script, it dilutes the technical essence of the art form. Had a nice time with them.