Vijayan R. is busy giving finishing touches to the thousand-headed legendary snake Kaliyan. Kaliyamardanam, Where lord Krishna routs out the serpent, is the theme he and his friends chose this year to set up a tableau for the Athaghosham procession in Tripunithura on Saturday.

Sathisan, the welder, put together the skeletal structure of Kaliyan with metal rods. The plaster of Paris gave the snake a shape. Mr. Vijayan, a painter by vocation, painted bluish black hues onto the serpent's body. Last year, this group from Thekkumbagam had won the best tableau for creating Hanuman sitting on top of his wound-up tail in Ravana’s durbar.

This is the seventh consecutive time they would be participating in the event. So far they have won three firsts and a second place in the events.

Elsewhere in Tripunithura, near the Vellangil Mahadeva Temple, the Mahadeva Club was busy making a Pushpaka Vimanam, an aerial chariot of Ravana, to depict a scene from Ramayana for their tableau. Last year the club had put up a tableau depicting slavery during extreme drought conditions in the bygone era. The spell of drought for two consecutive years inspired us at that time, said Santosh, a member of the club.

At Atham Nagar, the Government Boys High School ground, the venue of the Athaghosha public function, was a busy place with stages and the festival props were being put up. Long queues were seen at the Horticorp stalls.

While the festivities were reaching a crescendo, the basic infrastructure in the town was in a sorry state. Though the broken road in front of the High School had been repaired, the main roads from East Fort Junction to S.N. Junction and from North-Fort Junction to the Poornathrayeesa temple were only partly tarred.

"Quite a few of the side roads continue to be in disrepair," said V. P. Prasad, chairman of Tripunithura Rajanagari Union of Residents Association. These smaller roads are also used heavily by motorists, he added.

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