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Showing posts from July, 2015

Meeting Mohini - The Enchantress

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On the origins of Mohiniyattam, a discussion
Ammini - It was soon time for the performance and I have to get ready. A dancer has to dress immaculately, as you will all agree and not only should the dress be pleasing, but should also be worn properly. And so I made sure that the nine foot long Onnara, the under garment, which we Nair women always wore, was first of all wound tightly. It had to be, or I would look too fat after the chela was worn. A little bit of makeup, some kanmashi, a dab of sindooram and a bit of powder completed the face. Then it was time to wear my anklets, the kaccamani, Oh! You know that men like that very much and its sensuous tinkle. The wearer has to tread softly, as my mother had taught me when I was little. She would always tell me, don’t look up or run, don’t be brash, walk softly and deliberately, Oh! How I miss her.
That was Ammini, but let’s leave her for now - I was lost in the past and my imaginations, for those were simply my thoughts going adrift, li…

And they got married

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The reassuring click of the seatbelt was the thing which jump started ruminations on the month long visit to India. The plane was about to commence its 15,000km trip westwards (with a transit stopover in Dubai) and I slipped into a long and slow train of thoughts, snaking through those marvelous thirty days like a meter gauge train, remnant from the days of the Raj.
Squabbles at and about the Calicut airport had ensured that I would  neither land nor take off from our home airport, and we were moved to neighboring Cochin. Ironic isn’t it, for that was exactly what happened since the first wars between the Vasco da Gama and the Zamorin of Calicut dating back to 1500’s, with the Cochin Raja winning a bulk of the spice trade. During a long layover at Dubai’s teeming airport, I idly watched the masses troop into the latest sin-city of the world, while the many who toiled at the airport kept it spick and span. The guy sitting next to me turned out to be a Pakistani living in Australia, vi…