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  • This is Biju, a Kathakali dancer. Kathakali is a mode of expression native to Kerala, the soil my mother's always told me I was meant to come from.

    Stories and body language in this form follow the principles of the Rasa theory written by the sage Bharata (what a delicious word, sage) sometime between 200 BC and 200 AD. According to his book, called the 'Natya shastra', he defines nine emotional elements, matched up in innumerous permutations and combinations to showcase the forms of a person's 'present moment' feeling : what one feels on the surface and what one feels inside.

    Only when one is truly aware, is one able to actually cut the lag between these two forms of one's own present feeling.

    I sometimes understand how Bharata could have had the insight to write and compile this text, by actually looking at the unique crux of time he was writing it in, between 200 BC - 200 AD, there were many lags which I'd imagine needed immediate canvassing then. Incidentally, the other name for India is Bharata.

    So this is Biju, see him again.
    Katha, means story. Kali, means play. Kathakali.
    When Biju's not performing on stage he works at a travel agency.
    A few years back, I'd have wanted someone to have the power to do something to help him.
    This time, I savored the earth in the pigments he painted onto his face, the earth in that monochrome.
    I'd come back to watch his performance, after having lived some of his story.
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