THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Torrential rains, winds whistling through nights and an ever-grey horizon. For the average Malayali Karkidakam used to be the month of incessant downpour, a time you find sanctuary in age-old therapeutic indulgences. The season may not be the same anymore, but being true Keralites we do follow our traditions. The last leg of monsoon and the last month of Malayalam calendar, this season preceding spring calls for an array of customs and rituals.
Detoxing your soul
Karkidakam is the month of Ramayana, a time to read verses from the sacred epic to ward off miseries. “During the month we read Adhyatma Ramayana, not Valmiki Ramayana. Here we are not trying to enjoy a work of literature, but introspect. It’s an attempt to asses our values and redefine our ethics.
This practice also shows our intellectual affinity,” says M G Sasibhooshan, historian. Karkidakam with its volley of rites and rituals including the vavu bali, is also a time to explore one’s spiritual self. “However, rational or refined we are, we are not willing to let go of our traditions and customs. It may seem like a contradiction, at least for a few,” he says.
Karkidaka kanji, the medicinal gruel custom-made for the season, is one thing you shouldn’t miss. Consisting of rice and herbs, it’s a great detox drink to go with your rejuvenating treatments. “If you are undergoing ayurvedic treatments you should have karkidaka kanji at least once a day as it immensely helps our digestive system. Even otherwise it’s a time to go green and ditch your regular oily menu, especially non-veg,” adds Dr Chandrakumar.
Rejuvenating your body
After 11 months of reckless lifestyle and repeated cycles of junk food, it’s time to give your system some rest to reboot. An ideal season for rejuvenation therapies, you can go for the customary sukha chikilsa during the season. “Normally it can be done during the entire month and involves a handful of therapies. But if you take a five-day session, it will be just abhyangam (oil massage) and steam bath,” says Dr Chandrakumar. According to the ancient science of ayurveda, it’s a time to cleanse your body of its toxins and to bring back the three bio-energies of vata, pitta and kapha to a balanced state. “Others in the regime are nasyam, dhara, udhvarthanam and virechanam. But to complete the whole set of treatments you need more days,” he says.
Apart from the traditional hand massages, you get an array of insensitive treatments at kalaris. “The body will be highly receptive this month due to the change in climate. If you undergo the treatment and stick to a specific diet the result can be incredible,” says Amabreesh, the guru of VKM Kalari. Kalari uzhichial mainly helps to gain flexibility and cure a volley of recurring or recent ailments. It can help you stay trim, boost immunity and flush out all the impurities of the body. “At the kalari we have this chavitti uzhichil, massage done using foot that increases blood circulation stimulating your body in a much deeper level,” he adds. But if you want to take the kalari treatment keep in mind it demands total rest. “You should also follow a particular menu and take rest,” he adds.