Poonkudil Mana, a reputed Namboothiri home well known for traditional treatment of mental illness in Malabar, had one of the most memorable nights on Saturday. The courtyard of Poonkudil Mana at Vallikkapatta near Manjeri was witness to a confluence of communal harmony through art.
A host of artistes from different backgrounds gathered at the Mana and spent the whole night unleashing their talents in such a way as to reassert that art was beyond all boundaries of social divisions. “It was a gathering of people who raised the standards of humanity,” said T.P. Ramachandran, socialite-lawyer who was at the forefront of organising the night-long event titled Mazhanilavu.
When a group of musicians led by Muhsin Kurikkal enthralled the gathering with their ghazal songs, dancers Ajeesh Chennai and Karthika Narayanan mesmerised the Mana with their Bharatnatyam performance. Ajeesh is one of the few Muslim dancers who excel in both Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi.
Felicitating Ajeesh and Karthika, Kannur District Judge R.L. Baiju said, “I feel I am being honoured by felicitating these wonderful artistes.” Mr. Baiju was among those who enjoyed the whole night reveling in ghazal music.
The gathering witnessed the special honouring of three senior artistes for their decades-long contributions to their respective fields. The honouring of Artist Sageer, musician Muhsin Kurikkal, and dancer Kalamandalam Sarojini achieved solemnity as poet Alankode Leelakrishnan released ‘Sargavazhiyile Akashangal’, a book on the artistic life of the trio.
Aradhika Rajesh, Vinu Ambadi, and Devi Nandana offered a Kuchipudi experience to the gathering through a 10-minute Krishnaleela presentation. But Ashraf Kurikkal soon took the audience to a nostalgic world of Hindustani music through his accordion recital.
Devan Namboothiri, popularly called Devettan, who is in charge of the traditional treatment offered at the Mana, said that there was nothing more effective for the mind and body than treatment by art and music. “If there is an element of art in a person, treating them is easy,” he told The Hindu.
If dance and music was food for the mind, the traditional Kanji-Puzhukku (rice gruel and green gram dish) offered by the Namboothiris was the best food many relished in recent times. “Wow, I can’t describe what I feel,” said K.T. Shaju, a music lover from Tirurangadi, savouring the Kanji-Puzhukku by using a spoon made of jackfruit tree leaf.
Mr. Namboothiri said that the Kanji-Puzhukku was the specialty that many loved to taste again and again. “You may get music and dance elsewhere, but not this healthy dish,” he said.