Not being content with having conducted the walking tour during Adhikara Nandi, I decided to go back, Sarada in tow, to see the Bhoota Vahanam late at night on the same day. This event attracts less crowds when compared to the Adhikara Nandi, Ther or Arupatthu Moovar. But 24th being a Saturday night there was quite a large number of people.

The deities at the 16-pillared hall during Bhoota Vahanam (3rd evening)

The nagaswaram was missing as in Adhikara Nandi and Kapali was welcomed with the loud percussion ensemble that has somehow displaced the traditional music. And promptly at 9.00 pm Kapali emerged. I was somewhat disappointed with the silver Bhootam. The old wooden one, with its red face had far more character. This one looks positively anaemic. The same apparently is true of the Purushamrgam that bears Kapali on the fourth day morning. It was also a magnificently painted one and came to be replaced by a silver version.

Kapali on Bhoota Vahanam, 24/3/18

Which brings me to a question – if all the vAhanams of Kapali become silver plated, how will the Adhikara Nandi and Rishabha Vahanam stand out? I think we need to have a healthy mix of the painted and plated ones. Compare these with Karpagam’s and Singaravelar’s vahanams and you will know what I mean. Karpagam wore a fabulous nAgar jatai. And a sari, not the usual churidar arrangement.

Karpagambal on Bhootaki – 24/3/18

The freebie food distribution has been toned down somewhat. But not the expectations of our people. On the Adhikara Nandi day, Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy was collecting the wireless receiver sets from all those who came on the walk only to find several (well-dressed and well-to-do) people stretching their hands out imagining that he was giving something free. One even grumbled to me that he did not get the free cell-phone that Venkatesh was distributing. The receivers do look like cell-phones.

Kapali on Bhoota Vahanam, East Mada Street, 24/3/18