Theyyam (The Ritualistic Artform of Malabar, Kerala )

Summer is here and it’s beyond 30-degree Celsius and to top it, you have piles of burning wood becoming charcoal, this is the setting and we are entering into the temple premises where ritualistic Kerala art form called Theyyam is going to take place and the devotees are ever eager to watch their gods coming alive and performing for them. Due to the pandemic, the artists could not perform their rituals and now with rules being relaxed, they are back in accordance with the precautionary measures against covid-19 transmission.

I took this assignment for Theyyam_of_malabar an Instagram page, one of the premium pages which showcases the ritualistic artist form in its true glory. The page features images from several celebrated artists and is a resource center for someone who is interested in the art form. Wikipedia mentions Theyyam, as a popular ritual form of dance worship in Kerala which is a deep-rooted folk religion revered by millions.

The Featured Theyyam in this photo essay are Gulikan, Kuttichattan and Theechamundi.

What will you teach your kid?

The new playground “Cow shed”

In this materialistic world, where Edutech is the next big thing with various online/offline based educational systems selling the ‘your kid can become the genius’ dream, which is unfortunately highly subscribed by the new age parents. I often wonder, if my kid is getting enough play time in the mud, know how to throw stones in the water, learn to put bait using an earthworm, feed a cow, spend time with goats, fly a kite, cycle to the nearby lake, and as parents we make a conscious effort not to get bogged down by the pressures this educational system puts on us, make him a coder, my daughter paints like Picasso, he is already into Mozart symphony. My mum wanted me to be an average kid and I am one. I did all of the above mentioned stuff that we strive for our kid to have, but it’s really a challenge not to give in. And I am happy that I served for my country in the armed forces and I got to do all those adventurous stuff I wanted to and it has educated me and made me a confident average guy.
As parents don’t give into the pressure, hold on, imagine your childhood, let these children have a normal happy childhood, and let them get educated through trial and adventure.

The Ironing Man of my village.

Murugan annan (brother in Tamil ) has been the ironing man for my village for near about 36 years, starting his work around the 80s in the coastal village of Muzhappilangad in the Kannur District which is bounded by Arabian Sea to the west and Anjirakandy River to the East. Being a native of TamilNadu, he has crossed the Western Ghats to find employment here at Muzhappilangad out of all the places in Kerala.

Murugan Annan loves Muzhappilangad town more than his native and his wife’s native which is Andipatti in Teni district, they both have 6 children who are settled in Tamilnadu and the husband and wife remain in Muzhappilangad visiting family during festivals and other occasions.

Murugan Annan going about his work
The Press
Straightening the Saree
A Saree being pressed
25 Sarees
Posing for the Camera
Murugan Annan goes about his work happily
Years of Process streamlined
Murugan annan says he wants the film washed to have a print for himself

All six children of Murugan Annan has found jobs in Army, Police, State Transport etc but Murugan Annan feels in sync with this north malabar town in kerala. He is around 55 years and goes about his business in a crisp neatly pressed white shirt and white mundu (dhoti) and the most interesting part is he has not been to school yet runs a small scale business with four mobile press stations spread across four places in Muzhappilangad which is incredible.

Protest March Organised at Kannur against Farm Bills

The biggest protest is unraveling at the borders of Delhi which India has ever seen in the recent past, about 500 farmer unions, and an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 farmers converged at the borders blocking the way to New Delhi. The President of India gave his assent to the bills on 27 Sep 2020 leading to a mass movement of farmers to the borders of Delhi, thus blocking the highways.

Megaphone being checked before the start of the protest
Banner in Display
Organiser documenting the protest
A placard asking to boycott Adani and Ambani
Farmers marching in Kannur
The traffic being diverted for the peaceful protest
Dilli Chalo
Farmers in Unison
Fingers raised against the corporates
Boycott the New East India Company says the placard
Portraits of Bhagat Singh and Gandhiji
Age does not deter people from raising their voices against injustices
Police accompanying the marching farmers
In solidarity to the Farmers protest

In support of the protesting farmers which feed the Indian Sub continent, a joint committee (which involved people from socio-political, environmental and human rights background ) was formed in Taliparamba to counter the corporates agenda and to support the protesting farmers. N Subramaniyan (Chairman) Adv Vinod Payyada (Convenor), P Muralidharan (Joint Convenor ) were some of the important functionaries of the committee among other important people. In addition to the protest march, a solo theatrical drama was also organised which the famous P T Manoj (Theatre artist ) enacted in front of the Reliance Store at Kannur.