Kathakali in the city

They wait. The musicians on the dais
In solemn Silence
Bare feet, bare chests
While, the Outside
Hurtlin through sheets of time
Lingers, confused; in this space
A blur of city sounds
Blue jeans and brown suede walkin’ shoes
Here I am
A lingerin’ residue and I
And a pocket of quiet silence
Slowly spreadin’

Two artists, unfold a screen of cloth
And holdin’ the ends, they wait, they both
With umpteen silent gazes, gazin’
Yet lookin’ at no one

While Outside, it hurtles on. The scream!
No stops for refrains. A restless seethin’
And they wage. A soulless banter
With remnants of thoughts speedin’ through gadgets

I see now, Salangai adorned… The artist’s feet!
Soon, the musicians chant. The drums beat.
And a tale commences.
A Glimpse of a pointed golden crest
The elaborate studded crown
Risin’ above the screen.
The screen
It soon folds in.
And the gazin’ artists leave

A mere human, yet how transformed!
Surely a vision plucked from beyond
A grand sight!
Is this just art?
A green face and a billowin’ blue garb
Long great black lengths of eyebrows
And over the shoulders
Yards of cloth hangin’ down… The splendor!
Elaborate ruffles and mirrors
Little tufts of green and orange
Colorful embellishments
A character adorned to glory!

Ah she walks in, glowin’ with grace
Her face, turmeric yellow
With hair bunched up in an elongated bun
Impossibly atop
Holding a golden veil that artfully cascades
And she waits, draped
In a billowin’ wrap of white cotton
And bejeweled in gold

A dancin’ tapestry is then woven
Through their many conversations
With the subtlest of gestures
Tellin’ eyes and narratin’ eyebrows
The painted lips smilin’, cryin’ and musin’
Tremblin’ too with anger and with love
The arms and feet dancin’ along
Salangai sounds echoin’ with drum beats
The song threadin’ their story
With no knowledge of mudras or of the songs
Here I am
Yet, I seem to get it
Everything within is silent
A rapt witness to this dialogue of love!


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