Puliyoor Kali Theyyam

When personifying the goddesses as Theyyams, it is still the menfolk that perform the ritualistic dance.  They invoke the Divine Feminine energies and dress as the goddesses to bring the stories to life.  This mid-day performance was special as we had a chance to witness the makeup and dressing up of the Theyyam.  The face…

Kathivanur Veeran Theyyam

This Theyyam was another night-time ritual that involved a play with fire, albeit without jumping into the flames.  Dressed in the traditional colours of the performance and a headgear that enhanced the presence, this Theyyam started with cooing and talking to the stack of fire in the middle of the grove, to the steady beat…

Gulikan Theyyam

This was the only Theyyam that did not have the traditional colours of red, orange and black, but was covered in white, almost the colour of ash.  Stripes of black lines ran through his bare body and he wore a waist adornment made of nimble palm strands.  His eyes were covered in patches of black…

Kandanar Kelan Theyyam

This was my 1st brush of the Theyyam performance in the dead of the night, which included spectacular dance rituals around and within leaping flames of fire.  This is one of the most famous and sought-after performances and for good measure.  After an elaborate dance on the legend of the deity and depicting its fury…

Theyyams: A Dance Divine

The December air is sticky with perspiration, as mosquitoes buzz around and fly into our faces, like little drunks who have lost the way, in the thick vegetation on either side of the narrow mud road we are traversing on.  A numb thumping of the drums in the distance breaks through the 2 a.m. darkness…

The White Desert: Great Rann of Kutch

I remember reading about the term “mirage” as a child in school and always imagined it to be a magical thing.  As our bus trudged on the soft part-sand-part-mud path, outside the window a thin white line started appearing on the horizon.  The nearer we approached the brighter and broader the line became.  Settlements on…

Kolkata Chronicles

I have called this city a partial home, where most of my vacation days were spent as a child.  Visiting here after two decades brought back memories that I wanted to capture before they were lost to time, as the place undergoes drastic changes yet retains the essence of what my childhood felt like.