K for…

Rarely do I feel impressed with my amateurish dabbling with the camera. This moment was one such.

Kalarippayattu. That’s an ancient martial art form of the south. Kerala to be specific. It’s a fetching sight to see these fighters with bodies of gymnasts move with such agility and panache. With just a dash of imagination and a sprinkling of a story, any onlooker could well imagine how revered and soakingly absorbing a duel would have been just a few hundred years ago.

Oh, not to say a modern duel isn’t a sight to stop, hold your breath and stare in semi open mouthed awe, long enough for a few large mosquitoes to conduct a few sorties down the alimentary canal. More often than not, such goose bump causing art forms remain in the obscure confines of the past.

A trip to Kerala and a stay in a hotel at ‘attractive prices per night’ (which would be equivalent to what your father would have paid to buy the entire property, when he was your age), usually throw in a cultural performance or two.

Even better when the Company that pays your salary also pays for the trip and the room, in the name of a conference, harbouring extravagant hopes that such investments will pay off. In such cases, a hotel gladly throwing in ‘exposure to culture’ performances is de rigueur.

Kalari quite a popular performance. There are jumps. Fights with bare hands. Sticks. Fire. And several else. These are new techniques for the coporate types who are used to used to one martial art form called ‘Powerpoint’. Which ofcourse comes loaded with ‘bullet’ points! If the bullets don’t get you, boredom will.

In such Kalari performances though, young men spar on stage. Synchronised movement, overflowing with synergy. With swords, shields, some kind of a flexible sword, sticks, daggers and such else, with seamless movement. Like in the snap above, a fire bush at the end of the a rope fastened to the chest is used as weapon. Artfully swinging and moving about.

The corporate types usually look half in awe. Cheer in slightly inebriated delusion. Bite into the chicken with new found gusto and take a few more swigs of whatever drink their hands reach out to.

The really skilled photographers amongst them find the perfect spot to click. Additionaly, the morose ones aim their cameras from different corners snaps, click vapid snaps and write blogposts beginning ‘Rarely do I feel impressed with my amateurish dabbling with the camera..’

Ofcourse there is the mandatory crowd of American tourists. Their skin standing out amongst the crowd and their hair standing out on their skin. Staring. If I were them, I would wonder what all this fuss with Kalarippayattu and sparring with swords and building bodies and muscles was about. When all it took was a walk down the store and buy a .32 magnum and blow the brains off every living form in the locality.

Incase you are yet to look up Kalari, here is the link.

Incase you still haven’t, it is a martial art form that’s been around for ages.It was banned by the British. At one point in history, it was as common as ‘reading and writing’ and everybody in society was proficient in it.

Incase you are still wondering, what brings this post up now, I am back from another trip to a place that I have been in love with for ages : Kerala. Ofcourse, more posts & pictures follow.

But, boy, am I pleased with this snap!

12 thoughts on “K for…

  1. ashok says:

    U have to be proud of the snap…too good Kavi!

  2. Gopal says:

    seems u guys had a whale of a time in uday samudra..share more of them as well..

  3. great snap.. fantastic write up!

    the gun really screwed things up for a lot of people


  4. Insignia says:


    Its really tough to get such vivid snap in low light and when the subject is in motion.

    You should blow this snap up and frame it 🙂
    Kudos to you. Can you please share the specifics – Shutter speed, aperture and ISO 🙂

  5. Fantastic picture, Kavi! You have every right to be pleased with it!

    And great write-up too. 🙂

  6. Jeevan says:

    Great shot! Wonder how speedy the rotation should be to get this oval. I have tried such with sparkles in firework mode.

    You must be double glad to be there, next to next. Sure, visiting private to these hotels perhaps create a big hole in pocket!

  7. :-Dee says:

    India – so rich in tradition and culture… with countless art forms… including this one. wow!

  8. Anzz says:

    Its my first time at your blog. You have a lovely space here, very innovative and great snaps. Will be a regular. Am following you.
    Do check out my site http://www.anzzcafe.com.

  9. Kavi says:

    Thanks for the wonderful comments ! Deeply appreciate them.

    @insignia : Thank you. A post follows on that subject !

  10. sonia says:

    Lovely pics, Kavi…enjoyed reading your blogs…keep posting.

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