naLacharitham first day
Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 19:44
By Unnayi Varrier
Purappaadu – a routine normally performed to introduce one or more of the major charecters in a play, in this case King Nalan.
The verse: (Thodi ragam)
Once the heaven like Nishadha Kingdom,used to be ruled by a king named Nalan, a legendary man of just, as handsome as the Lord of Love , a man of valor and son of Veerasena
The stanzas (called Nilappadam) ( Thodi ragam and chempata cycle of various paces 32/16/8 beats per cycle)
King Nalan lived in his palace in absolute harmony. He exterminated the foes and adversaries like the vigor of a fire in forest. The spleandor of his qualities filled the world. He had a physique that attracted the world, was scholarly and his court was abundant with wise ministers. His wise ruling evoked wonder. The story of Nalan diminishes foul effects of Kali. It is indeed challenging to know the spirit of Nalan, as valorous as Indra and who always worshipped Lords Shiva and Lord Vishnu.
• Note: With the title and each stanza, the curtain would be lowered and these are called “Nottams” of “gaze”. By and large there are four gazes taken in different paces of chempata rhythmic cycle. After these, the character being represented would appear withdrawing the curtain and certain dance steps would be performed set to the songs taken from other sources. The Purappadu in itself is a strictly characterized form of dance. Several rhythmic cycles are used for the dances. Following the Purappadu, in IKKF-13, there would be a performance known as “Manjuthara” to exhibit the potentials of singers and percussionists.
Scene 1; At the Royal Quarters of King Nalan in Nishadha Palace
Quatrain: (Raga Mukhari and padam set to Atantha cycle of 14 beats)
• During the time when the King par excellence, Nalan was ruling the land as explained (In Purappaadu), one day, filled with contentment towards him and with pleasure, Narada, the great Rishi and off spring of Lord Brahma visited him.
As the curtain is withdrawn, Nalan is seated on the right of the stage. Enters Narada, they meet each other, greet each other, and Narada is ushered to the seat in a span of two cycles called “Kita thaka dhim tha”. Then Nalan enacts the padam.
Nalan: Hey! Bhagavan, Narada, I bow to you (followed by a culmination)
• All my sins have been removed and my abode is purified (followed by a culmination)
• Oh! The son of Lord Brahma, where are you coming from? Is it from the abode of Lord Vishnu (Vaikuntham) or the land of the gods (Heaven)? (followed by a culmination)
• I am overwhelmed at the sight of you. Just like water lilly (that blossoms) by the sight of moon (water lilies blossoms at moon rise) (followed by a culmination)
• What should I do now, by the order of your holy self? Please direct, hey! Great Rishi! (followed by a culmination)
Narada: (Sourashtram Raga set to Muriyatantha cycle of 7 beats)
• Hey, the one who terrifies the enemies, ruler of Nishadha, listen to me, valorous. You, the ruler of the land, should not neglect your life. (Culmination follows)
• In the Kundina town, there is a beauty named Damayanti. Even the divinities are interested in her. (Culmination follows)
• The wealth of earth is for you (king), only effects of Yagnas (offerings) are meant for the Gods. Towards that end, your endeavors would be prudent. (Culmination follows)
A brief exchange follows: Nalan once again bows and says it was his opulence that Narada arrived there. But is it possible to win Damayanti, desired by even the gods? Narada confirms that this would be realized, blesses Nalan and departs.
Nalan is again seated (supposedly in solitude) and enacts the verse, set to Kalyani ragam
Verse: Hearing these words of Narada, his mind which already had an attraction towards Damayanti from the praises of the passersby, came to be strong with desires.
Padam set to Kalyani Ragam and Champata cycle of 16 beats. (soliloquy)
Nalan: The off spring of the king of Kundina, there is no match for her in this world, so have I heard before (culmination follows)
• Not even in any other worlds, so is implied, considering what Narada has just said (culmination follows)
• I have heard one or the other talking about her qualities, which are extraordinary. Day by day, my love towards her intensifies, but now I feel that is not impertinent (culmination follows)
• What could I do to inculcate love in that beauty towards me? To implant the seed of lotus-love in a woman, Lord of Love’s presence is needed (culmination follows)
• Hearing the sweetness of the pretty faced, apathy has crept in me. Now, I should have a status of acquaintance with the thick haired gorgeousness or shall I lead the life in solitude (culmination follows)
Soliloquy: Nalan immersed in Damayanti’s thoughts. To relieve himself, tries other activities such as playing musical instruments etc. By remaining in his quarters, unable to get rid of Damayatis thoughts, he entrusts the responsibility of ruling on the minister and proceeds to the orchard.
Scene 2: The Orchard of Nishadha Palace
Verse set to Vekata Ragam: By the words of that rishi, the king immersed in the grief of desire. Assigning the ruling responsibilities to minister, he began spending time in the royal orchard in solitude. (Enacting the verse, proceeds to the orchard)
(As the curtain is withdrawn, Nalan enters the orchard and enacts padam)
Nalan (Padam set to Vekata Ragam and Muriyatantha cycle of 7 beats)
• That this place is isolated is only feature in this backyard for sure. The almighty and the Lord of love have taken an antipathy towards this man. (Culmination follows)
• This is the battlefield of the clever Lord of Love, the saplings on the shore of the lake is his camping tent, the flowers are his weapons, cuckoos’ singing is his trumpet, the gentle breeze is his force. Oh!, this is place of fright for a person in separation!! (culmination follows)
o Seeing the cluster of swans (Hamsam):
• Ah! There is a group of swans shining in different colors. Of them (specifically seeing one), there is one with golden features. Wonder! A pleasant one to look at. (culmination follows)
• It would be great if it comes in my hand.
Acting as if to capture the swan, exits.
Scene 3 Royal Orchard of Nishadha Kingdom (continued)
Quatrain: (set to Savery Ragam)
The eyes, tired of looking at all the flowers and creepers on the trees, set on the golden swan, at a time when the swan had fallen asleep, exhausted from mating
• The swan performs entrance, imitating a bird, executes movements. In the rhythmic cycle called Champa (10 beats/cycle), he accomplishes the flying movement at various paces, ending in a state of exhaustion and sleep. Nalan enters in silence slowly and clasps the bird)
Qutrain, set to Khandaram Ragam: The king silent approached the golden swan in anxiety with an intention to taming him, but the he (the swan) was frightened and screamed pityfully.
Swan’s padam set to Khandaram Ragam, Muriyatantha Thalam cycle of 7 beats
• God, oh! God!, what could I do. The king is killing me in deceit. Now, my household will become without a dependence (culmination follows)
• My father is no more and I am the only son. This is the fate of my mother. And now, I swear, my spouse, just about to deliver a child, would give up her life and if so, the entire clan would be extinct.
• I haven’t committed a small sin and if I am murdered, great sin shall be on you, hey king. Attractive are my wings, pearly and golden, with this you may become wealthy (or, you shall not be richer even a bit). Goodness! Assets have become a curse on me!! (culmination follows)
Nalan: (set to Savery Ragam and Thriputa cycle of 7 beats)
• Bear in mind, hey swan. Don’t lament. I have no ill feeling towards you. This unparalleled body, to see that in closeness, my heart had yearned. I have only fond of you, that my act is to hurt is false, hey! The divine birdie, good one, don’t be sad. Here, go and fly as you like.
(The swan bids farewell and flies off and verse is recited, set to Kambhoji Ragam)
Thus released by the king, the bird went to his own people, and in contentment and devoid of fear, he approached the kind king and spoke
Enters the swan again set to Panchari cycle (6 beats) followed by greeting each other in one cycle of Kitathikidhim tham).
Enacts the padam set to Kambhoji Ragam & Chempata cycle of 16 beats.
• Hey, the king with spirited thoughts, I shall do you a favor (culmination follows)
• As far as I think you are an ideal one and there is no match to you in the three worlds (followed by a normal kalasam and another one called iratty, repeating the title – oorjithashaya)
• Hey, the king of kings, your eyebrows protects the entire world. The blossoming fresh body of yours is treat to the eyes. All that you have are praise worthy, hey, the epitome of kindness. Oh! The one with the grace of the Kama Deva, what is needed is to have a companionship with one with all the good qualities. (Followed by a normal kalasam and another one called iratty, repeating the title – oorjithashaya)
• Hey, the one who has disciplined the enemies like a wildfire, the king of Vidarbha, the strong Bheema has a famous daughter. Should she become your bride, your good qualities would not be futile. For that enjoinment, my competence would suffice. Accord me permission. (Followed by a normal kalasam and another one called iratty, repeating the title – oorjithashaya)
• She, who is, lovable, who is gorgeous, with noble habits and like gold and pearl put together, the one equal to Godess Lakshmi, the one who’s beauty is worthy of belittling fairies shall be your bride, leave that to me (Followed by a normal kalasam and another one called iratty, repeating the title – oorjithashaya)
Nalan replies in padam set to Thodi Ragam and Chempata cycle of 16 beats
• Hey the with affection in mind (also meaning, hey, the one with affection towards “manas saras, the lake of mount Kailasa); you may proceed and get back, to convey these to the beloved, (culmination)
• Do you speak thus thinking this would please me, or would you be thus in deeds too? (Culmination)
• Hearing from several people about the lotus-faced, conquered by immense desire increased within me and just when I was settling down sure that I have no aide to help me out of this sorrow separation, your acquaintance came by destiny (Culmination)
• With cleverness of words, you should attract the beauty and hand her over to me. You shall be repaid by god, no jokes, you are my only hope (Culmination).
(They have a brief exchange and the swan takes off to Kundina City.)
Scene 4; The Royal Orchard of Vidarbha Kingdom at the capital city of Kundinam
Quatrain set to Punnagavarali Ragam
Carrying these words of Nalan, the swan arrived at Vidarbha kingdom and rested in a lonely peaceful location in the orchard and at this time, Damayanthi hearing about Nalan, falling in love with him and in a helpless mood, entered the orchard, led by other maids.
(Damayanti and the maids make their entry in a peculiar dance known as “Sari”. The lyrics are not represented by gestures, just dance. Set to Punnagavarani Ragam and Chempata cycle of 16 beats.)
• Lord Brahma, Godess Saraswati, Godess Earth, Lord Krishna, Godess Lakshmi, Hail Hail. (Culmination)
• God Siva and Godess Parvathy, the moon god and (his wife) Rohini, Lord of Love (Kamadeva) and (his wife Rathi) – Hail Hail (culmination)
• Lord Indra, (his wife) Indrani, what more, may all the divine couple be in prosperity (Culmination)
• Anasuya, Lopamudra and Arundhathi (all wives of famous Rishis), may all the sanctified ladies bless us
Quatrain set to Nathanamakriya Ragam
Though expressed her wishes through gestures, she did not fully express through words, Then, entering the orchard, she, overwhelmed by the desire of love, spoke thus to the maids:
Damayanti, padam set to Nathanamakriya Ragam, Cehmpata of 16 beats per cycle
• Friends, let’s go near father (the king), that would give us pleasure (culmination)
• Some or the other would say news from all over the world, that would be a better way to pass time (culmination, with the title repeated, known as iratty)
One of the maids replies: (Shahana Ragam)
• Let’s go to the orchard, hey, honey-voiced lady, is what you had insisted, while at quarters. Is it for just returning that we came here, hey, full-moon faced, beauty., the crown of maidens, tell me, hey the one with moving eyes. Let’s go together, friend, Damayanti, see around.
Damayanti (Dwijavanti Ragam)
• The moving beetles’ noise is like a fire in the ears. The singing of the cuckoos is like terrible arrows. The odor of the flowers is like, an elephant which churns a beautiful lake – meaning everything that are favorable appear to be playing an offending role -, the traverse in the orchard has become a very unhappy affair. (culmination with iratty with the title repeated)
Seeing the swan alighting from sky,
• Is it the lightening itself coming down to earth? Is the milky way itself coming down to the earth? Or, is it a golden swan that is flying down? Whatever, this is a wave of nectar for eyes.
(As the previous stanza is enacted, the swan enter to the rhythm that is set)
Damayanti enacts padam set to Erikkilakkamodari Ragam, Chempata cycle of 16 beats.
• What a pleasant sight this is, have never seen before, neither have I heard about
• A golden swan with a sweet voice, this should definitely be game to me.
• Oh!, I would have just touched it, hey, friends. It would have been nice to have him in my hands to play. Not crooked, a poor thing, and good looking. You all, please go away, none needs to be near me.
(Damayanti follows the fleeing swan to capture, However, the swan tricks her away and maids leave the scene. Swan enacts the verse set to Kalyani Ragam)
If only I take one step further, I would have have him in my hands – so thinking step by step, she walked along. Then, alas! As Damayanti fell apart from her maids, the swan took opportunity and spoke thus, smiling,
Padam set to Kalyani Ragam and atantha cycle of 7 beats. (Swan)
• Hey, the crown of beauties, what’s that you want?
• How would you capture me, the one traverses in the skies. (culmination)
• Youth has set in you, yet the childishness has not decreased.
• This impertinence, if seen, knowledgeable would laugh at you. Some may accuse you. You have lost your way, that’s what would be said by some others (culmination)
• Don’t capture me, am a friend of yours. Trust me more than your friends. The God of the world, the Lord of Love – such a spouse would you have. (culmination)
• I am a resident of Nalan’s town, by the order of Lord Brahma. Know for what? , to teach the beauties on gaits – with zeal, smooth, simple, of good qualities, believe me (culmination)
Damayanti responds in padam set to Kamas ragam and chempata cycle of 16 beats:
• Seen you in proximity and heard your small talk, hey, the career of Lord Brahma, pleasant featured, your words are pleasing indeed (culmination)
• Oh! You are an emissary to the Lord Brahma and your abode is in Nishadha? A well featured with all good qualities, the king of all birds, I bow to you and your past (culmination)
• Hey, the career of Lord Brahma, would you please tell me about King Nalan? Your words would be a remedy for my sorrow, fill my ears with a bit of holiness (culmination)
• I shall disclose a desire that I had always today. Should you be of help, the most kind hearted, with praise worthy qualities, (culmination)
Verse in Shankarabharanam Ragam (enactable)
Having known almost half of the mind of the crown of honey-voiced beauties by such words, the clever swan deployed himself to know the other half by these words spoken to /damayanti
The swan responds with padam set to Shankarabharanam Ragam and chempata cycle of 16 beats (with 8 beats in certain lines)
• Contented, speak to me all your thoughts, hey, the offspring of King Bheema (Culmination)
• Leave out your apprehensions, consider me as one of your maids, leave out shyness and without concern (speak to me) (Culmination double faceted, iratty with the title repeated)
• Hey, the crown of beautiful-eyed, sister of Dama, to which man you have an affection, that man’s fortune is praise worthy, hey, the deer-eyed, do not hesitate to disclose, do not hide due to shyness, I am here as aide, hey well featured, would I ever bring disgrace to you? Think you got what you thought, this is the truth that just uttered. (Culmination, double faceted, iratty, with the title repeated)
Damayanti responds with padam set to AnandaBhairavi Ragam and chempata cycle of 16 beats
• Hey, the king of swans, what could I say to you! Would an aristocratic woman disclose that is to be hidden?
• Brooding over and over the praises that I have heard sung by people about the eminent king Nalan, being attached by the arrows of the God of Love, I sighed constantly and got fatigued (Culmination)
Swan replies with padam set to Athana Ragam and chempata cycle of 16 beats of faster pace
• That you spoke the truth wholly, hey the one like a fresh creeper, may the best be with you!!. Good should match with the good and you do not have a better companion. Stronger than Lord Indra, with handsome features and good qualities (he is). Lady, like gold and pearl is the match, if matched. Like Lord Vishnu to Godess Lakshmi, Like night to moon, Like Parvati to Lord Siva, Nalan is to you (Culmination, double faceted, iratty, with the title – Preethi Poondu – repeated)
Damayanti’s response set to Nattakkurinji Ragam and chempata cycle of 16 beats
• Day after day, does my concern aggravate, but not a word has been uttered to even confidante maids. Nevertheless, hey, swan, in due course; convey this to the king at an appropriate occasion. (Culmination)
Swan responds in padam set to Shanmukhapriya Ragam and chempata cycle, 16 beats, of a fast pace
• Of course, I shall go and tell these desires to the king and if so, he may develop an affection towards you. However, would your mind fall for somebody else? In that case, the king would all be immensely annoyed at me. Your father may offer you to someone, you would fall for him. Then, whatever is being spoken now would be futile and I would be termed childish. Such undesirable situation may set in, now, you speak a remedy for that. (Double faceted culmination, iratty, with the title – Preethi Poondu – repeated)
Damayanti’s final words set to Neelambari Ragam and Chempata ragam of 16 cycle, at a lower pace
• Alas! Hey, swan. Why so concerned ? (out of place)? Would my heart fall for someone else? It’s only justified that the river meets with the ocean. Would even a mountain be worthy to make it happen otherwise? (Culmination)
A brief exchange follows between Damayanti and the swan. Both bid farewell and swan takes off, satisfied that the lady is in love with Nalan of Nichadha Kingdom.
Scene 5; Royal Orchard of Nishadha Kingdom
Quartrain (Savery Ragam)
The swan, carrying the words of Damayanthi quickly flew to the Nishadha Kingdom and narrated her (Damayanti’s) message to King Nalan
(Nalan is seated on the right side of the stage. Enter Hamsam in a rhythmic cycle called ‘panchari’ of 6 beats/cycle)
As the curtain is withdrawn, Nalan is seated and swan enters quickly flies in and enacts padam set to Savery Ragam and Muriyatantha cycle of 7 beats
• Hey the King! I have almost accomplished what you wished. Do not be immersed in sorrow for love and become exhausted. May your heart be in peace
Nalan responds in Mohanam Ragam and Muriyatanta cycle of 7 beats
Hey noble swan. Not only my desires but my very life is in your hands. Tell me how you went to her and how you conveyed my yearning for her?
The swan replies by padam set to Savery Ragam and Muriyatantha cycle of 7 beats
• I took off in great speed and reached the city of Kundinam. Entered the orchard and waited. (Just then) Damayanti, bedecked and perfumed, as if by coincidence, came there with her maids, playfully.
• She approached me to get hold of me, but I did not panic. I walked away and she followed. Thinking her efforts were futile, she turned back and that is when I began my smart talk.
• Hey Noble King, following your words, I cleverly extracted what was in her mind. Not only by gestures, I made her recite her love towards you. She is in total love with you!!
Verse: Ragam Kappi
“I have committed your heart with Bhaimi. Even the Lord of Heaven, Indra, cannot shake her now, what to say about others!! Am going away now and shall present myself if you call me only by mind”. Saying thus, he (the swan) flew into the sky.
The meaning of the verse shall be enacted by Hamsam and Nalan reciprocating accordingly. Along the completion of recitation, the swan disappears into the sky.
Nalan proceeds to enact that he receives an invitation for the marriage of Damayanti and sets out to Vidarbha Kingdom for the same.
Scene 6; On the way to Paradise
Quartrain recited in Sourashtram Ragam
Knowing that her daughter is in love with Nalan, King Bheeman makes elaborate arrangements for her wedding (swayamvaram). One such day, Parvathan, on the way to the paradise, met and told Naradan
As the curtain is withdrawn, Naradan and Parvathan enter from either side of the podium, meeting along the rhythmic chyme ‘kitathikidham tha” and commence enacting the padam. The Padam is enacted by the person concerned ,but culmination is done after each question-answer taken together
Parvathan’s and Naradan’s recital are set to Sourashtran and Balahari respectively, both set to Muriyatantha cycle of 7 beats
Parvathan: Narada, what you are up to now?
Naradan: Proceeding to the paradise, Parvatha. (A normal culmination follows)
Parvathan: What’s up in the Paradise?
Naradan: To convey a few news to Lord Indra (A normal culmination follows)
Parvathan: What’s that, would you telle me?
Naradan: Why don’t you accompany me? (A normal culmination follows)
Parvathan: Hope that would not be futile.
Naradan: Least, we would know about the wars and heroes (A normal culmination follows)
Parvathan: Oh! I thought the wars are for kings of the earth
Naradan: Yeah, war is between the kings, the lovers of Damayanti.(A normal culmination follows)
(After enacting the padam, they decide to proceed further and exit)
Scene 7; Indran’s court in Heaven
Quartrain recited to Mukhari Ragam
Observing Naradan and Parvathan arrive, Indra welcomed them and greeted them with words that pleased the ears
When the curtain is withdrawn, Indra is seated on the right. Entrance of Narada and Parvatha, and their meeting with Indra is performed through two cycles of “Kitathikidham tha”. Indra enacts
Ragam Mukhari set to chempata cycle of 16 beats
Indran: Oh! The one who lives for the happiness of others and son of Brahma, Narada, welcome (A normal culmination follows)
Narada replies in Sree Ragam set to Thriputa cycle of 7 beats
Hey, the lord of all worlds, good hearted Indra, the one with foes exterminated , the position of all good qualities, are you doing well?
Parvathan continues in Sree Ragam
Parvathan: The king of Vidarbha has a maiden daughter. No doubt, none in the world would match her. Heard along that her wedding is imminent
(No culmination. Narada proceeds with the next stanza)
Naradan: The kings around are expected to arrive for the wedding. And the kings, all of them are in the process of evolving a scheme to win her heart, by day and night. (A normal culmination follows)
Indran responds, in Mukhari of Chempata cycle of 16 beats
Am keen to learn who has attained her. He should be luckiest in the world, possessing features which when heard would be nectar to the ears and he would be beyond words to express
Naradan: in Sree Ragam set to Thriputa cycle of 7 beats
In fact, Damayanti is in deep love with one. Nothing more to say as of now. He should necessarily win her. In potentials, she is above the fairies. Enough as of now. We are proceeding to the earth. There is a probability of a clash among among the kings arriving for the wedding. (Implying that Indra should control such a clash, if ever happens)
After the padam, Indran, bowing, says that we are also proceeding shortly. Both Naradan and Parvathan bless Indra and exit)
Scene 8; Kundinam city street on the way to the Royal Palace
Quartrain recited in Madhyamaavati Ragam
As the horizon became vociferous with the drumming accompanying the convoys of the kings, Nalan too, invited through a messenger, started off in determination (to win over Damayanthi). Mounted on a chariot and decorated emaculately, he (Nalan) was met and talked to by Indra, with an intention to send him (Nalan) as an emissary to Damayanthi.
(As the recitation of the verse is completed, Indra, Agni, Yama and Varuna, positioned respectively from the right of the stage, lower the curtain and traverse backwards. Thereafter, as they reach the right extreme, seat themselves facing towards the left of the podium. Throughout this routine, “Chenda” is placed on the loose end (valam thala) to mark auspiciousness. As the beating culminates, Nalan enters from the left to a rhythm called “Addiddikkada”. They see each other and Indra commences the opening lines.
Indra enacts padam set to Madhyamavati Ragam and chempata cycle of 16 beats
• Ah!, the creeper in search of, came on its own and entangled my legs (implying I met the one in search of – a Malayalam proverb). We were going to Nalan and he himself has come near us.
• Aren’t you the son of Nishadha Ruler Veerasena, the one who is a fire for the jungle? He is well known to us and hence you, Nalan,
Nalan replies in padam set to Savery Ragam and Muriyatantha cycle of 7 beats
Hey the Idols of divinity! I bow on our feet. What you just expressed is true, I am indeed Nalan, hey Gods.
Indra continues in Madhyamavati Ragam and chempata cycle of 16 beats
This is Yama, and this Agni, here is Varuna and I am Indra. We have abandoned the divine tree (Kalpa Vruksha) and came to you to plead for a thing.
Nalan replies in padam set to Savery Ragam and Muriyatantha cycle of 7 beats
Are the Lords of the Heaven up to assessing me ? Lord, may you not play around with this child. Hey Indra, Whatever you command shall be accomplished with due respect.
Indra continues in Madhyamavati Ragam and chempata cycle of 16 beats
Day in and day out shall be insufficient to praise Damayanti (such are her assets). We are engrossed in uniting her, and you should endeavor towards that end.
Nalan replies in padam set to Savery Ragam and Muriyatantha cycle of 7 beats
Ain’t I a prospective suitor for Damayanti? Lords, have mercy. Don’t entrust me with this (task). Even if I go, I may not be permitted to see her and convey your desires.
Yama joins the conversation Madhyamavati Ragam and chempata cycle of 16 beats
Look, you should not do what you said you would, that would be sin. Conquered by lust, do not bring discredit to your clan.
Nalan pleads in padam set to Savery Ragam and Muriyatantha cycle of 7 beats
The city is getting crowded with people. Would I be able to speak in solitude? Please don’t be angry ‘cause I didn’t listen to you. Shall do what I can. What more than that?
I Indra speaks the message for Damayanti in Madhyamavati Ragam and chempata cycle of 16 beats
“You should accept one of us”, go and tell her. We advise you this manthra to remain unseen untill you come back.
(Nalan bows bidding to leave. Indra recites the manthra. The Gods disappear behind the curtain. The curtain is then drawn slightly backwards. A “Dandakam” follows. (Lyrics that is partially sung and partially recited. This type of passages are used where in a certain part of the play is neither worthy of bing presented as a scene nor can be accommodated within the constraints of a quartrain set to Sankrit Meter). In line with the “Dandakam” Nalan enacts
1. “Leaving aside his own desires and becoming an envoy to Indra, Nalan halted the troups, and walked alone. His eyes yearned to immerse in the river of radiance of the sister of Dama (Damayanti)”
2. “Through the streets teemed with public, powerful rulers and witful Brahmins, brushing many, he moved along. Even amidst well acquainted folks, he remained unseen, and this amused him”
3. “The blessed one tricked the eyes of maids and entered the brider’s quarters. Bringing joy to the eyes of Damayanti. ---
(At this point the screen will be lowered and Damayanti would appear and Nalan would enact as having spoted her)
Viewed her closely ,from head to toe, with craving.”
4. “Recalling that he was there as an emissary to Indra, recovered immediately and controlled himself. He wanted to do away with the invisibility. The honey-voiced beauty too saw a man with pleasing physique with the maids”
(Towards that end of the “Dandakam” Nalan and Damayanti meets each other and the quartrain is recited)
Scene 9; Damayanti’s Quarters
Quatrain recited to Bhairavi Ragam
(Though the one who just appeared resembled dear Nalan, through the compliments she had heard profusely in the past, seeing the “Invisibility” signs, thought he might be a divine personality. Hence, leaving the initial shyness, but with a bit of apprehension and wonder, she modestly spoke thus)
Damayanti welcomes the stalker in padam set to Bhairavi Ragam and Chempata of 16 cycle, at a slow tempo
Hey, noble man, are you doing good? Who, may I know, you are – Lord of love or the moon himself? What’s the purpose of your coming?
Nalan replies in padam set to Kalyani Ragam and chempata cycle of 16 beats
Oh! The King Bheema’s off-spring! Know me as an emissary to the Gods. There is message from Indra. Be kind to lend ears to them”
Damayanti further inquires in padam set to Bhairavi Ragam and Chempata cycle of 16 beats, at a slow tempo
Which clan do you belong to and, tell me, what’s your name? That you are just a messenger is not convincing, (on the contrary) my mind tells me that you are the Lord of Land.
Nalan replies in padam set to Kalyani Ragam and chempata cycle of 16 beats
• Is it prudent to inquire name and clan of a stranger, at a time when the likes of Indra are very concerned? The Lord of all worlds, Indra has deployed me. Please lister to his words. “Indra has abandoned the fairies of paradise and shall not overcome the effect of lust without being at your service
• Even Agni, the Lord of Fire, is also being burnt with craving, which now acts as fuel after hearing about you. Due to this, even “Swaha” (Agni’s partner) is not dearer to him. Yama (the Lord of Death) is dead-like by the arrows of the Lord of Desires. Varuna (Lord of Waters) feels the effect is more than “Badavagni”
Damayanti responds in padam set to Bhairavi Ragam and Chempata cycle of 16 beats, at a slow tempo
Why are the Lords upto thoughtless inappropriate deeds? Why is it hard for them to realize that I’m the daughter of King and being the wife of a King would befit me?
Nalan encourages in Kalyani Ragam and chempata cycle
Look, you would have the sweetest nectar; rejoice , enjoy happiness, lead an eternal life,.. think about it and firm up your mind on one of these Lords just mentioned by Indra.
Damayanti responds in padam set to Bhairavi Ragam and Chempata cycle
There is a companion within me, not seen outside and hence Iam sad. Though you are equally good. At this time when life is tough on me, you may stay a while to say pleasing words (implying that staying to speak unpleasant words is not engouraged)
Nalan admonishes in Kalyani Ragam and chempata cycle
• Alas! Listen, Damayanti, your mind has assumed blind feelings. Pleading with you, at your abode, is that the reason for your neglecting respectable ones? I would like to know the one who is so dear to you that you even disrespect the Lords.
• The words of Indra, Yama, Agni and Varuna have been mistreated because of your dislike towards me, for sure. I shall ask Indra to depute some one else and he would abduct you.
Damayanti concluded in padam set to Bhairavi Ragam and Chempata cycle
There are quite a few virtuous ladies in the world and I am one of them. If ever the Gods take up deceit, who would the world depend on? I consider you equivalent to my companion and would’t have spoken to others (like this). Keeping these in mind, convey to them accordingly.
(On completion of enactment, Nalan pleads for a last time, listening to the reply, express wonder, affection, respect and love and exits)
Scene 10; Streets of Kudinam City
Quartrain, set to Mohanam Ragam
“Listening to the words of Damayanti, Nalan was filled with wonder, affection, respect and love. In excitement, parted quickly, came back invisibly, and spoke to Indra, Agni, Yama and Varuna”
Immediately on recitation, the curtain is drawn ans Padam is sung. Nalan enters from the left side and commences hand gesture.
Nalan addresses in Mohanam Ragam set to Muriyatantha cycle of 7 beats
• Hail Indra, may your two feet be my shelter. Went to the exquisite lady but to no avail.
• Remaining invisible, I went inside and stood by the noble lady. Your wishes were separately conveyed. This is the truth. Then, spoke in a cajoling tone. She was indifferent. I was annoyed and spoke to her in anger. This is inappropriate.
• Hearing these livid words, her mind did not shake. Hey Lords, Would an unfortunate be blessed with pleasures of heaven? She has placed her mind on someone else in the name of the Lord of Love. But, she did not reveal his name to be disclosed to you, who know all.
• I have done exactly as asked. What else could this poor thing could do? You may deploy someone else. It is true that the girls are too unstable. Attract her with deceipt, and relish, if you like
Indran replies in Madhyamavathi Ragam set to Muriyatantha cycle of 7 beats/cycle
Never mind. You may proceed for the wedding and endeavor to win her. The five of us are equals by way of love. She shall wed one among us. In case, she accepts anyone else, that would bring ill fate. Therefore, we shall also be present at the Swayavaram, for sure
Indran advises once again to work towards winning Damayanthi and depart
Scene 11; The Land of Devils
Quatrain set to Nattakkurinji Ragam
At a time when Nalan was thus relieved by the Gods in contentment and he was offered a noble seat for the wedding (Swayamvaram) by King Bheema and the rulers from all the seven continents, the Gods along with Vidyadharas assembled at Vidarbha, the demon community went to the devils and spoke thus.
As the curtain is withdrawn, one demon (Rakshasan) representing others enters and meets with one devil (Danavan) representing the others in one cycle of “Kitathadheem tha”. Devil enacts:
Rakshasan opens up in Nattakkurinji ragam set to Muriyatantha of 7 beats
• Hey, you, smarties, sitting here as if not having known anything? Didn’t you know that the people of the world are on a mission to wed?
• It seems, on the earth, there’s none quite like the princess of Vidarbha. She would chose a groom in a wedding that’s round the corner. Hence, all the people have reached there
Danavan Raplies in Begada Ragam set to Muriyatantha cycle of 7 beats
Enough of this dice and chess games. What Rakshasan has jus said is true or what?
It’s a wonder that a female from the earth, no matter how gorgeous, has attracted the attention of the Gods. We shall kill the kings and deceive the Gods. Shall chase away the serpents and abduct Damayanthi. May the weak envy. Let’s go. Sluggishness would bring us disgrace
Both perform conventionally choreographed act of force mobilization (called PADAPPURAPPAADU) in a combination of rhythmic cycles, champa (10 beats) and Panchari (6 beats) and proceed to Kundinam
Scene 12, Capital City of Kundinam, a street
Quatrain set to Saarangam Ragam
The Rakshasas and Danavas went there (Kundinam) with vociferous proclamations and spoke thus to Kinnaras, Gods, serpents etc.
Both take position over the stool, lower the curtain, see the celebrations of marriage and in great anguish enact padam as prescribed, set to Sarangam Ragam and Chempata cycle of 8 beats
Hey, you, What you are trying to do is not to our liking. Everywhere, the respectable position is deserving for the Rakshasas and Danavas, that’s the rule created by the God of Creation (Lord Brahma)
• The universe is ours. You ill-behaved, should know what we want and be available at our service
• Your naivities irritate us, sure. We warn you not to keep any desire in the bride
After enactment of the padam, they take a culmination known as ‘NAALIRATTY”, challenge for battle and exit
Scene 13, The King’s Chambers in the Royal Palace of Kundinam
Quartain set to Surutti Ragam
“She’s my spouse, my housewife, my love, you all are foolish” – Amidst such utterings from the sects of Gods, demons, serpents and humans, the capital of Kundinam was becoming vociferous. Scared from these, King Bheeman, prayed to Lord Vishnu. Pleased, Lord Vishnu, directed Godess of knowledge, Saraswathi to King Bheema and she spoke thus
Bheeman is seated on the right side of the podium, the Goddess enters, Bheema greets her, and ushers her to the right (considered as a protocol) in a span of two cycles of “Kitathikidheem tham”
Saraaswathi enacts padam set to Surutti Ragam and Champata cycle of 16 beats/cycle
• Ah! Bheema, the king, do away with your grief (culmination)
• The people and clan they belong to, would be recognized by me – such a blessing has been endorsed to me by the Lord Vishnu, please be informed of that. Consider me as the maid to your daughter. None shall match me in describing the assembly. Hence, your worry is out of place
Bheema replies enacting padam set to Saveri Ragam and Chempata cycle of 16 beats
My concern has come to end not and affluence has come back, absolutely. That I am a fortunate person has been clear, hey! The Noble one, enaged by Lord Vishnu, the eleminator of sorrow, Goddess, I bow to your Lotus Feet. You may kindly describe the people and I trust you
At this point, Damayanti enters from the left and remain in respect
Changes Ragam to Shahaana, cycle continues as Chempata to Damayanthi
Child, my daughter, Damayanthi, look, here you have a maid now. Go with her, wed the one of your choice and come back in due course, that would put an end to my worries.
Scene 14, The Wedding Scene
Quatrain, set to Thodi Ragam
Heeding to father’s words, delighted and on the instruction of the mother, amidst hailing females, she was given a bath, ornamented and clad in new clothes. Mounted on a golden chariot, when she arrived, Saraswathi spoke to her
(On the right of podium, Indran, Yaman, Agni and Varnuna stand with Nalan in the middle. From the left of the podium Damayanti, sandwiched by Bheeman and Saraswati, enters with the wedding garland)
Saraswati, in Thodi Ragam set to champata cycle of 16 beats (introducing the prospective grooms)
• Hey, child of good manners and charisma, listen, moon-faced, Damayanthi, accept one among these as your spouse by garlanding
• This is world renouned Rithuparnan of the Sun’s clan, Here is the valorous Gouda King, Look at the handsome Lata King, You are now before the Pandya king, this is the Chola King, and here is one and only King Nalan of Nishadha kingdom. Oh!, Indran, Agni, Yaman and Varunan are seated near him, but disguised in absolute similarily to Nalan
Damayani, confused, prays enacting padam in Thodi Ragam and Chempata cycle of 16 beats:
Never have I disrespected the Divinities, even in dreams. That being the case, there is no reason for them to deceive me. Even if I have committed a sin, should they do this to me? God! What could I do? From childhood, I have considered Nalan as my husband. If that love is genuine, may I be able to recognize my beloved. Not a moment, by words or by deeds, have I known anyone other than Nalan. Hence, hey Gods, have mercy in me and reveal the real Nalan to me. Put an end to my grief. Do gods, bring agony to devotees? My heart is burning, what could I do?
Quatrain set to Puraneera Ragam
Alas! As a result of the prayers rendered by Damayanthi, the Gods revealed their signs. Damayanthi, happily garlanded Nalan. Pleased Gods blessed (the newly weds)
(When the playback recite “revealed signs”, the gods, rise and and with chenda played on the loose end (Valanthala, as a mark of auspicousness) and reveal the signs. Wher the words “garlanded Nalan” are recited, Damayanthi does so)
Culminatinng the chenda beat, the god render, one after another, blessing, set to Puraneera Ragam and Chempata cycle of 16 beats:
Indran: With my blessing, you both, each, jewels of Vidarbha and Nishadha, may you live in bliss. Hey, good minded, valorous Nalan, you shall never loose your self consciousness. In the offerings that you make, I shall physically accept it. May your soul rest at feet of Lord Shiva.
Agni: As I wished, Damayanthi has wed you. I’m not antagonized. On the contrary, am pleased. In cookery, I shall be influential to you and what you cook would be equal to nectar
Yaman: In fact, I came here to make Damayanthi your spouse and that has been fulfilled. Here are my blessings. Even in jeopardy, your mind shall refuse to do sins. You shall acquire knowledge of all weaponary.
Varunan: With Damayanthi, engaged in the games of amour, may you live. I shall offer you two benedictions: The flowers on creepers and trees shall not wither, once touched by you. Even in desert, you shall not find scarcity of water.
Saraswathi: You, your spouse and the ones who think about you shall be blessed with linguistically decorated poetical abilities with words of wisdom, prosody, et al.
(The couple pay homage to all and they position themselves in the centre of the podium and all except them exit. Nalan and Damayanti implement the final routine called “Dhanashi” to mark the end of the play – or end of the day’s performance)