September 5, 2015
It is very rare that urban people get to see the life of rural population. Coimbatoreans got an opportunity to witness traditional village games, cultural programmes and enjoy village food at Isha Gramotsavam at CODISSIA grounds. “This is my first visit to Covai city. I like this city and I like to play our traditional games,” Chitra from Cudallore district said.
While in one corner of the grounds there were the semi-final matches of volley ball and throw ball in full swing, on the other there was the display of traditional martial arts like Silambaatam (stick fight) by Silambam master S.K. Poonswamy and his team of students.
“I have been teaching and training students in the art of silambab for the last 27 years. I am glad that my team has an opportunity to display our skills and the culture of Tamil Nadu,” 46-year old Poonswamy said. His five-year old student Mikulan from Gobi won huge applause from onlookers for the stunts he performed using various props and fire.
Mikulan was accompanied by his mother and sister. “We are pleased to visit Coimbatore. This is our first visit. We wish more and more people learn Tamil Nadu’s art and culture by watching us perform today,” 14-year old Mounaritha , Mikulan’s sister said.
Several teams from Erode, Madurai, Tirchi, Tirunelveli, Vellore, Gobi and Thiruvannamalai displayed their Silambam skills in individual and team events. Very close to this area was a team of young energetic boys who were trying their luck to hit the pot that was tied to the high post. Known as Valukamaram’ (Malakamba- pole climbing), it was sad that the team missed their jackpot.
In one corner of the grounds photographs that captured the sights and sounds of the village were on display. There were glimpses of young kids playing with tires in the middle of a village road, there was an image of lady outside her tiny hut, there was a man taking his pair of cows to the fields, there were portraits of men and women and there were micro shots of butterflies and a flower among other entries for the photography contest.
As the day unfolded more and more people from Coimbatore poured in to witness the rural spirit. There were participants of all ages from villages who played many games. The oldest of the participants was Nagamani from Kolappalur village, who played throw ball. Despite being 77 years of age, she played with so much enthusiasm on the field. A happy-go-lucky person by nature, she made many friends and a lot of fans too.
“I am very thankful for this opportunity to be involved in a sport. Back home in my village, three generations of my family play throw ball,“ Nagamani said. She maintained that this helped her stay fit and healthy.