Karagattam - Folk Dance

Any village festival in Tamil Nadu is sort of incomplete without Karagattam. Until, my last trip to India, I never had a chance to meet and take pics of the dancers. This time round, we met a group in Namakkal, (Tamil Nadu, India) who were practicing for a competition! So I'd a good photo opportunity:)

Balancing the karagam - For SOOC and Shadow Shot Sunday 2
Yes, balancing this pot (Karagam) on top of the head without holding it and performing graceful, yet fast paced dance (attam) movements is KARAGAATAM!

Ready to dance

Until then, I used to wonder if they tie up or 'glue' the pot on their head and disguise with makeup! But now, for sure I know that it is purely an art of balancing the decorated 'karagam', which is most important to start the attam!!!

They dance with so much grace that it is hard to believe how the pot royally sits on their heads.

At times, as a challenge, they lie down on their stomach by few dexterous movements and pick up a small piece of wood or fruit from the ground, while balancing the karagam!!!

The dancers are called as 'karagattakaran (men) and karagattakari (women). The music is also very peepy and you feel like tapping your foot.

The man in white is musician of this troupe!

Karagattam should be highly regarded and encouraged. But, it is not considered as 'fashionable' among city dwellers, so, I feel that this form of art is under suffocation.


Wild Rices of Sabaha

On the way to Mount Kinabalu, Sabaha, roadside shops were selling colorful packs of rice.

Our cabbie told that they were wild rices of Sabaha! Well, I like brown rice, which is chewy and also healthier than the white rice. Wild black rice?! Definitely I wanted to taste it, so we stopped by one of the shops.

The friendly lady explained that these rices were grown with natural fertilizers. Well, she was naive and didn't know the term 'organic'! However, per kg rice was RM20! Certainly it is expensive when compared to the rice that we buy in supermarkets. Even imported Basmati or Wangi rice costs not more that RM10 per kg.

I wanted to try both brown and black rice, so I requested for 1/2 kg in each of the varieties. That ladies children were playful and at the same time watching us. The minute I took out my camera, the elder one became very shy and ran away, whereas the younger one halfheartedly followed her sister, but turned back and gave a lovely smile!

After coming back from the holidays, first thing I did was, take a close-up of the wild rices along with the basmathi rice!

I was told that the black rice is best suitable for making pulut (a kind of desert). Alternatively, it can be mixed with white/brown rice and eat it with tofu. Here is my version of the cooked mixed rice:

I feel that this wild rice is more fragrant and chewy than the normal brown rice.

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