Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Partner In Crime Turns Five




I wonder how many hours I stared before my laptop to scribble. Yet, I am not sure what to write about my past. Now its official- my blog completed five years! Am I excited? I’m supposed to be so. But I regret for spoiling VOICE OF A VILLAGE GIRL with utter silence for many months.

From the valley of elephant hills, I began a journey with this sphere of mine. Many encouraged while most of the people discouraged. A couple of people told me I boast so much on the subject of blogging. I am not sure of it anyway. As years passed, same ones advised me not to stop writing.

Indeed, I was a common name in blogosphere. I must admit it was a late realization. The best known blogger of Malayalam, Mr. Berly Thomas once told me he have visited village girl’s blog when I gave him my blog link. He told me many have referred my blog and that’s how he’d reach here. He warned me not to make this blog standstill. Sincerely speaking, I was so happy and overjoyed to get complements from such a blogger celebrity.

If you ask me to describe how special my blog is, I’d be confused. My lover, admirer, listener, promoter, friend…! I nurtured from ashes to a somehow good looking blog suffering great pain. I had fights, smiles and tears with my blog. It knows me more than anyone else. It had helped me to hide emotions between words. But I was never faithful. I rarely looked in after three years. Today I regret. My Indiblogger status, Google Rank and followers count are sinking.  I’m worried of its future. A successful product has been blemished for my personal grudges.

Again, I must thank all those who stood by me during my good and bad days. Anjali Kumar, Meenakshi, Anees, Vibin Das… Names are lessening each year. Well, I’m all set for a comeback! I wish I could. There are a few more names to mention. Nevertheless they are not interested to hear it from me. Hmm… Relations still remain as my weakness. Happy birthday my love! Keep me moving as you know you are the best to motivate and promote my mind as well as thoughts. Live long…

Monday, March 9, 2015

Theiyyam – Commoners’ God


 Photo credit: Harikrishnan

Being a Malabari or a person who resides at Malabar is something I am proud of. I’ve tried to explore almost all peculiar features of this region from festivals, costumes, food (except non-veg) and of courses places. However I’d never view the performance of the best and colorful devotional art form of North Kerala, the theiyyam.

Last Sunday I happened to attend that much awaited art performance. My mother’s home is in Kannur. It is the primary location of theiyyam festivals. It starts by November and ends in May. This season is actually associated with harvest. Earlier it was conducted in barren fields after reap. This is held by families. They usually has a sacred grove named kavu and is considered to have presence of God.

Although I’ve visited many temples across South India, I’ve not been to a theiyya kavu . I felt it is more public and intimate to common folks. There is no much dress code. Only thing you’ve to keep in mind is to remove chapels before entering kavu.

Another point is it is a devotional as well as leisurely festival. If you are a person who keeps on checking the watch and complains it is running late, it is a wrong place for you to visit. You’ve enough time to mingle with people around.

The costume of theiyyam is very heavy and elegant. It takes about 8-9 hours for make-up. The head cover for some are as high as a coconut tree. This headdress is put on once theiyyam artist sits in front of sanctum in holy peetham or stool. And then the artist stares into a hand held mirror. This is known as mukhadarshanam . Then he transforms himself to a holy being. He dances and speaks to people as god. We’d go close to him. He’ll hold our hands and would patiently hear our problems. I was amazed to see such long queues. Human beings of all ages, caste, creed, religion or sex are present there. Usually the whole thing is performed at night.


The highlight of that day was Gandakarnan, a theiyyam that ties 14 fire sticks around his body and has very long headdress. Apart from this, theechamundi  is another showpiece where the artist jumps into fire more than 100 times. Next time I’m going to watch it. I’d say if you are visiting Kerala during theiyyam season, never miss these as it it’d not only gives a delight to your senses but also you’d mingle with true Malabaris.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Journalist Fan

Can you be a fan of a celebrity as well as a journalist at the same time? This question had been haunting me for a while. Journalism ethics says all are equal before you. We are not even supposed to address anyone as sir/madam but Mr./Ms. Every human creature in front of you is either a source or subject.

Leaving apart the ethics, I always end up saying “I’m a huge fan of you. I admire your talents so much”. As soon as the interview with a celebrity is over, I sit before computer fearing if I could do justice as a journalist. I must write impartially. The only people I’m committed to should be common readers. They expect a neutral view from my side.

While reporting for Kerala State Youth Festival in January, I happened to meet violin maestro Balabaskar. He was a participant in 1980s. He was memorizing those days. I went straight to him and said, “Balu chetta, njan thankalude valiya oru fan aanu” (Baluji, I’m a great admirer of yours). Just after uttering those words, I was like ‘Oops, again the aficionado in me is out’. I knew every bit of him from his role as a judge of a reality show till the formation of his new band Balaleela.  

I’ve always wondered whether other media persons also feel the same. There are reports appearing in news papers regarding royal family at Thiruvananthapuram. Readers would find blind devotion in reports. Members of royal family might be clean or corrupted. But it is the court that gives final verdict. Same is the case of devotional centers and human-gods. Fidelity of writers overpowers actual facts.


At last I’d conclude with a thought that we are also human beings. We do have our own faith that may interpret our thoughts during our work. But I also admit the best journalists are those who’d remain at the middle-of-the-road.