In South India, Sakalavadhyam is a no-holds-barred, all-instruments crescendo, that plays at the most auspicious moment in a religious ceremony. So at a wedding, the Sakalavadhyam will be played at the time the “Tali” / “Mangalsutra” is tied. Normally, as the priest chants the blessing shlokas, someone on the bride’s side, normally her mother’s brother (mama), will signal the band that the critical moment will be in a few seconds. Then, just as the groom starts to place the Mangalasutra around the bride's neck, the same mama will beat an imaginary drum in the air with his index finger. And the all-instruments crescendo will start! Loud. Fast. Vibrant. Building pace and rhythm till the mandatory 3 knots are tied.
Why am I telling you about a Sakalavadhyam? And what does it have to do with Anna and his diseases? Well……here goes the tale…….
A couple of days ago, I went to visit him in the early evening. It was raining cats and dogs. When I reached his flat, he was sitting under the awning of the rear courtyard, watching the downpour.
As usual, I said “Hi Anna!” and asked him if he was enjoying the rain.
He smiled, and said “Yes”.
Again, as usual, I asked, “Anna, have you done potty today?”
Anna said “No. How long has it been?”
“Four days Anna. If you don’t do it today, then instead of taking you to the mall, I will have to take you to the hospital for an enema”.
Till now, I have been able to avoid enemas for Anna. Till now, whenever I have threatened to take him for an enema, potty has happened in 12 hours.
So Anna says, “It is truly an auspicious occasion when I do potty”.
He then adds, with a big grin, “All we need to complete the auspicious occasion is to play the Sakalavadhyam!!
He is right. The days he does potty, I raise my hands in the air and say “Yay!”
Playing the Sakalavadhyam is far more dramatic. Great idea Anna! Don’t think religious people will understand tho’. It doesn’t matter. Potty and Sakalavadhyam do, I hope. And they shall be forever linked in my mind.