On the 15th of October, 2016, as my friends and I were returning from a nature and birding trip to Nandi Hills, we saw these Yakshagana artistes on the road back (which is also the road from the airport into the city.)
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That was the goddess of power, Shakti, herself, stepping out into a city, state and country that had just finished celebrating Her in the form of Navaratri or Dashera.
I realized that I would never know why these people were dressed up, and where they were going…was it for a performance, or something else?
Yakshagana is a traditional art form of Karnataka, and urban dwellers rarely get to see this form of colourful dance theatre, except at “cultural events”. I was lucky that I could take my young daughter to a festival in Jayanagar 9th Block, where a shamiana had been erected…one of the many tales from the Ramayana was enacted, and both of us watched, and listened to the Kannada music and commentary.
I wonder if Yakshagana artistes in our city are able to earn a good living, or whether, like many other traditions, this too will die out soon…for this reason, I was glad to see the artistes dressed in all their finery!