Swiping away on my phone playing a popular game, I was sitting in the metro train. It was peak office hours and the coach was crammed.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a young lady gesturing to the passenger sitting next to me. If she said something, I didn’t hear. Partly because it was a little noisy; but mainly because I had earphones plugged in.
I looked up and realised what was going on. An elderly lady had been standing next to my seat and the young lady had requested my neighbouring passenger to give the old lady her seat. I realised her efforts were in vain and I got up to offer my seat.
As the elderly lady sat down, the younger one thanked me. I couldn’t say anything. Here was a girl who cared enough for a stranger. And there I was, oblivious to my surroundings.
I smiled sheepishly and thanked her in my mind.
I salute the deity before beginning,
I salute mother earth, for the strength I derive from her,
I salute my guru for all the knowledge I inherit.
I help protect the innocent from savages,
And heal the victims of ravages.
Over the ages, I have travelled across the seas,
And been nurtured by different cultures.
I gave birth to Shaolin Kung fu.
But my roots remain hidden,
And only a select few
Can uncover the deeply guarded secrets that define me.
I am Kalaripayattu,
An ancient Indian martial art,
The mother of all martial arts.
I had written this little piece for a voice over for a video almost two and a half years ago. Inspired by the salutation sequence of kalaripayattu students and gurus, I had hoped to spread awareness about the art form. I couldn’t quite do justice to the theme at that time. And I do not think I will ever be able to, not in the near future at least. When I discovered this in my post drafts, I figured it was better ‘out there’ in the wild than gathering virtual dust.
Letter to Unniyarcha