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Tuesday, August 04, 2015

KRISHNANATTAM

From childhood i used to love to watch Krishnanattam kalli in Guruvayoor temple
As we knew one of the chutti students or make up students ( at that time he was my age now hes the senior most asaan or master )
He hailed from my village and it was my grandfather P.C. Manavedan Raja who put him there
We had a ring side view hence

We could see the peacock feather on krishnas crown said to be the real thing as once the samoodhiri or king dreamt on krishna and when he tried to hug him the playful child krishna slipped away leaving the feather with him 
The dancers would sleep on the laps of the make up artistes as they meticulously added layers of arimaavu or rice flour for the lower face mask they painted the eyes with khol and colored the face finally the dancer would lumber up to wear the billowing costumes and the towering crowns instantly transforming into alien Gods and out of this world forms
They would stand behind the curtains as the thayambakka rolled into a peak and pay thier obsequies to the singer and drummer
Sanskrit slogas would fill the air and the huge lamp would glow bright while the curtains caught by two people would part
Starting at around 11pm it would go on till dawn by 1am many children would be asleep suddenly waking up when the superhuman demons came with the drums and cymbals rising to a cresecendo
The burning wicks of the huge lamp would cast a surreal look in the dancers face as his red eyes would roll into the sky
The night and sleep would transform one to the fairy tale of the mythological story and the soothing sanskrit intones would lulabby one to sleep
The graceful dance of Krishna with his benign smile and crinkling kind eyes and the peacock feather in his crown would look so real
The thayambaka drums would richocet the empty temple walls and would rise into the rising dawn as the town and the temple woke to another day
What nostalgia of my krishnattam days

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