This Sunday, I had been to the airport to pickup Sunita’s Mother, who had come from Bombay and I smuggled out enough time to watch a Malayalam movie(Mayilppeelikkavu) at her house., before I returned. Though the movie was not that great, it defenitely was much better than the typical Bollywood Masala. Maybe I am biased, but I still have an attachment to kerala and its culture, where I was born and brought up.
Kerala is one of the states in south India, which has got its own intricate tales, hid beneath the wonderful natural beauty of the place. Myth say that, Parasurama, after killing 21 generations of Kings(Warrior Caste), donated all his land, he had thus acquired. But after dontating all the land, he had nothing to give the priests who assisted him in doing this donation. He asked the Ocean god, Varuna, to recede and give him some land, which after a tussle, Varuna agreed, and the land thus got was donated to the priests., which is now known as kerala.
A study of Kerala history leads us to the fact that, kerala has a very long history, and its assumed that, King Solomons(1000 BC) ships used to get merchandise from Kerala. Arab and Chinese influence on Kerala cannot be missed by a student of history. Geographically Kerala had been protected from hostilities or influences from other parts of the Indian mainland, since it was cut off by mountain range on the east and ocean on the west. St.Thomas(one of the twelve direct disciples of Jesus Christ) had reached Kerala during 1st Century AD, and needless to say, Converted many of the brahmins to Christianity.. Christianity is one of the oldest religions of Kerala, so is Islam, which came through Arab Traders. Jews also arrived in Kerala during around the time of 500 BC, and had settled there.
Kerala’s culture seems to be influenced more by the aryan civilisation, since Sanskrit has played a major role in the evolution of Malayalam, the language of Kerala. The Kerala Brahmins(Namboothiris) has played a major role in the history of Kerala. Though it might have to be admitted that they have given a lot of twist to the history and culture of kerala, their contribution to the evolution of Kerala cannot be under emphasised. The Dance Drama art form of Kerala – Kathakali – has its origin from Ramanattam(the Dance of Rama) and Krishnanattam(the Dance of Krishna), which used to be a temple dance art. Kathakali, which literally means play of a story, is an interesting art form, where traditional mythological stories were enacted using the help of Mudras(hand symbols). The costumes play an important role in Kathakali.. Paccha(green) represents good people, Katthi(knife) and Kari(charcol) represents bad people and minukku(nice) for females and brahmins. I too had participated in Kathakali during my childhood.. The story was Santhana gopalam, where The warrior Arjun tries to save 12th child of a brahmin couple, but fails miserably, when Krishna appears on the scene telling him the reality of creation, and bringing all the 12 children back to life.. Well, I acted the part of one of the children. It took me quite some time to figure out what was going on, but when I was dressed up, I knew I had a role to play, and I did enjoy my brief stint as a “Kathakali” artist!!!!