This is’ Karkitaka’ Masam, the short span of mid July-mid August, pre-harvest, pre-festival, lack luster period, in that distant land of my birth. The incessant rains and inactivity in the paddy fields, enabled our elders to earmark this period mainly for prayers and worship. Special poojas, such as ‘Baghavathy sevas’ are performed and ‘Adyathma Ramayanam’, that great poetical work soaked in devotion, of the great Master Tunjath Acharyan, is sung every day, through out this month.
Sitting before the desktop in my son’s study at Baltimore, viewing the vast stretch of lush green lovely landscape, laced with oaks and pines, I remember my late father,who introduced me to the wonderful world of Adyathma Ramayanam. Fresh from bath after a long day’s work, his forehead and wide chest and long arms smeared with ‘Vibhudhi’, he used to sing “Jagadaasryan Bhavan, Jagathaayadhum Bhavan —-” in a melodious tone, sitting before a big ‘kuthu vilakku’- an ornamental brass lamp, which enhances the sanctity of temples or pooja rooms. It was a unique experience to lie on his lap and slide into the dreamy valleys of sleep, hearing the sthuthies, devotional hymes of Ahalya, Agasthya or Jadayu . Those melodies pours out of my heart unintentionally, whenever I see a magnificent sight or experience joy or sorrow. Looking at the mighty Niagara falls and wondering at the great gift the Nature has made to the humanity, closing my eyes I sang..”Agana gunamadyam, anantham, advideeyam…..”. When I stood and strolled on the 12,000 ft high Jungfrau peak in Switzerland, C N Tower of Toronto, Eiffel tower of Paris or any such awesome heights, I sang the glory of the Creator, through the words of the Thunjathu Guru.
” Santhaya, Roudraya,Sowmyaya, Ghoraya, Kanthimatham kanthi Roopaya they Nama,” murmured my lips, looking at the glowing setting Sun , while cruising the Sein river of Germany.
Another wonderful asset, I inherited from my father, is the love for Kathakali. During Sivarathry time, there used to be Kathakali programme for a week or so at the Kallaikkulangara Kshethram and I remember as a kid, following his ‘Choottu Velicham’, while crossing the rocks beyond the railway lines. ‘Choot is an indigenous, eco-friendly torch and it was a pleasant experience to follow its light and walk through narrow paths at night. Last year, when I went to Olavakkode, I almost wept seeing the devastation made by human hands in leveling those lovely hillocks and making a pathway in the middle.
In my anxiety not to miss a kathakali programme at the Govt.VictoriaCollege grounds, a couple of years ago, I almost missed my trip to overseas.
Pattars should be thankful to their ancestors for migrating to that wonderful land of divine beauty, which is in no way inferior to the well tailored landscape of Austria or Alpine mountains. And man, where do you get that quarter chaya and Nenthrapazham ? I longed for them while strolling aimlessly through the streets of Paris and London : I longed to see a single Nair, clad in snow- white dothy and shaking his head vigorously while asking” Entha mashrea?”
The sight of the gigantic Colosseum at Rome almost stopped my pulse beat when I thought about the innocent lives, lost just to satisfy the sadist pleasure of the Royals. How harmless was the pastime of Pakatakali and Namboodiri jokes.
Nairs,Nambudiris,mappilas,ezhuvas,Nazranies—what a homogenous group we have in Kerala! Avial,Olan, Kalan,Pappadam, Idichupizinja payasam— Oh, Great !
” Ninnil thanne Pirakkavu Jnan oru
pullayenkilumnen Malanade “
I desire to be reborn only in you, even as a grass-blade, my dear land of hills!
So I wrote in my college magazine, several years ago. Today, after walking sa long distance and having seen many places, I still would like my prayer answered irrespective of the inadequacies of my land of birth.
Aug 2, 2007