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Looking at Air in Tuluva by Nancy K. Kezzie, a museum curator and photographer mourning the recent death of her husband, comes to myth-steeped Tuluva, now South Kanara, India to photograph spirit dancers bhutas. Drawn by these souls, who died precipitously leaving them with a strong sense of a life yet to live, Kezzie is at first unsure what to expect. Thrown into an intriguing nest of locals and Kezzie, a museum curator and photographer mourning the recent death of her husband, comes to myth-steeped Tuluva, now South Kanara, India to photograph spirit dancers bhutas.
Thrown into an intriguing nest of locals and international travellers, living in a bungalow carressed by the rhythms of the sea, Kezzie moves between the mundane and the spiritual, between the demands — both social and sexual — of her fellow Europeans, and between the harsh realities of India and its more pressing spiritual demands. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Looking at Air in Tuluva , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Looking at Air in Tuluva.
Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Looking at Air in Tuluva. Apr 02, Mandy rated it liked it. Not quite sure what to make of this one. Very readable, and well written, but not sure it amounted to very much in the end. But worth reading, and certainly very unusual. Jan 20, Bernadette Robinson rated it liked it Shelves: belief , unusual , thought-provoking.
My review is unbiased and based on what I thought of the book. The cover of this book did little for me if I'm honest. Catching hold of the yoke, he hung on to it by his hands, and was carried right down the course, and was landed safely at the other end.
If he had dropped, he would have fallen among four pairs of hoofs, not to mention the planks, and would probably have been brained. It is often a case of owners up, and the sons and nephews of big Bants, worth perhaps Rs. To the above account, I may add a few notes made at a buffalo race-meeting near Udipi, at which I was present.
He was followed by the Koraga band, and the Holeyas attached to him, armed with clubs, and dancing a step dance amid discordant noises. Two Nalkes devil-dancers , dressed up in their professional garb, and a torch-bearer also joined in the procession, in the rear of which came the Ballala beneath a decorated umbrella. In every village there are rakshasas demons , called Kambla-asura, who preside over the fields. The races are held to propitiate them, and, if they are omitted, it is believed that there will be a failure of the crop.
The Koragas sit up through the night before the Kambla day, performing a ceremony called panikkuluni, or sitting under the dew. On the following day, the seedlings are planted, without, as in ordinary cases, any ploughing. To propitiate various devils, the days following the races are devoted to cock-fighting. The Kamblas, in different places, have various names derived from the village deity, the chief village devil, or the village itself, e.
The young men, who have the management of the buffaloes, are called Bannangayi Gurikara half-ripe cocoanut masters as they have the right of taking tender cocoanuts, as well as beaten rice to give them physical strength, without the special permission of their landlord.
At the village of Vandar, the races take place in a dry field, which has been ploughed, and beaten to break up the clods of earth. For this reason they are called podi powder Kambla. A pair of buffaloes, belonging to the field in which the races take place, should enter the field first, and a breach of this observance leads to discussion and quarrels.
On one occasion, a dispute arose between two Bants in connection with the question of precedence. One of them brought his own pair of buffaloes, and the other a borrowed pair. If the latter had brought his own animals, he would have had precedence over the former.
But, as his animals were borrowed, precedence was given to the man who brought his own buffaloes. This led to a dispute, and the races were not commenced until the delicate point at issue was decided. In some places, a long pole, called pukare, decorated with flags, flowers, and festoons of leaves, is set up in the Kambla field, sometimes on a platform.
Billavas are in charge of this pole, which is worshipped, throughout the races, and others may not touch it. Sometimes, to establish the innocence of an accused person, he had to take a piece of red-hot iron axe, etc. At a puberty ceremony among some Bants the girl sits in the courtyard of her house on five unhusked cocoanuts covered with the bamboo cylinder which is used for storing paddy. Women place four pots filled with water, and containing betel leaves and nuts, round the girl, and empty the contents over her head.
She is then secluded in an outhouse. The women are entertained with a feast, which must include fowl and fish curry. The cocoanuts are given to a washerwoman. On the fourth day, the girl is bathed, and received back at the house. Beaten rice, and rice flour mixed with jaggery crude sugar are served out to those assembled. But, though divorce and remarriage are permitted to women, there are formal rules and ceremonies observed in connection with them, and amongst the well-to-do classes divorce is not looked upon as respectable, and is not frequent.
Children belonging to the same bali cannot marry, and the prohibition extends to certain allied koodu balis. Moreover, a man cannot marry his father's brother's daughter, though she belongs to a different bali. In a memorandum by Mr. A marriage between a boy and girl belonging to the same bali is considered incestuous, as falling within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity.
It is not at all difficult to find out the bali to which a man or woman belongs, as one can scarcely be found who does not know one's own bali by rote. And the heads of caste, who preside at every wedding party, and who are also consulted by the elders of the boy or girl before an alliance is formed, are such experts in these matters that they decide at once without reference to any books or rules whether intermarriages between persons brought before them can be lawfully performed or not.
The bridegroom's relatives and friends proceed in a body on the appointed day to the bride's house, and are there entertained at a grand dinner, to which the bride's relatives and friends are also bidden. Subsequently the karnavans heads of the two families formally engage to perform the marriage, and plates of betel leaves and areca nuts are exchanged, and the betel and nuts partaken of by the two parties.
The actual marriage ceremony is performed at the house of the bride or bridegroom, as may be most convenient.
The proceedings commence with the bridegroom seating himself in the marriage pandal, a booth or canopy specially erected for the occasion. He is there shaved by the village barber, and then retires and bathes. This done, both he and the bride are conducted to the pandal by their relations, or sometimes by the village headman. They walk thrice round the seat, and then sit down side by side. The essential and binding part of the ceremony, called dhare, then takes place.
The parents, the managers of the two families, and the village headmen all touch the vessel, which, with the hands of the bridal pair, is moved up and down three times.
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This form of gift by pouring water was formerly common, and was not confined to the gift of a bride. It still survives in the marriage ceremonies of various castes, and the name of the Bant ceremony shows that it must once have been universal among them. The bride and bridegroom then receive the congratulations of the guests, who express a hope that the happy couple 'may become the parents of twelve sons and twelve daughters.
An empty plate, and another containing rice, are next placed before the pair, and their friends sprinkle them with rice from the one, and place a small gift, generally four annas, in the other. The bridegroom then makes a gift to the bride.
This is called sirdachi, and varies in amount according to the position of the parties. This must be returned to the husband, if his wife leaves him, or if she is divorced for misconduct. The bride is then taken back in procession to her home. A few days later she is again taken to the bridegroom's house, and must serve her husband with food.
He makes another money present to her, and after that the marriage is consummated. According to another account of the marriage ceremony among some Bants, the barber shaves the bridegroom's face, using cow's milk instead of water, and touches the bride's forehead with razor. The bride and bridegroom bathe, and dress up in new clothes. A plank covered with a newly-washed cloth supplied by a washerman, a tray containing raw rice, a lighted lamp, betel leaves and areca nuts, etc.
A girl carries a tray on which are placed a lighted lamp, a measure full of raw rice, and betel. She is followed by the bridegroom conducted by her brother, and the bride, led by the bridegroom's sister. An elderly woman, belonging to the family of the caste headman, brings a tray containing rice, and places it in front of the couple, over whom she sprinkles a little of the rice.
The assembled men and women then place presents of money on the tray, and sprinkle rice over the couple.
The right hand of the bride is held by the headman, and her uncle, and laid in that of the bridegroom. A cocoanut is placed over the mouth of a vessel, which is decorated with mango leaves and flowers of the areca palm. The headman and male relations of the bride place this vessel thrice in the hands of the bridal couple. The vessel is subsequently emptied at the foot of a cocoanut tree. The foregoing account shows that the Bant marriage is a good deal more than concubinage.
It is indeed as formal a marriage as is to be found among any people in the world, and the freedom of divorce which is allowed cannot deprive it of its essential character. Widows are married with much less formality. The ceremony consists simply of joining the hands of the couple, but, strange to say, a screen is placed between them. All widows are allowed to marry again, but it is, as a rule, only the young women who actually do so. If a widow becomes pregnant, she must marry or suffer loss of caste.