Thaalam Rhythm of the Nation A. R. Rahman
Fishermen. Farmers. Postmen. Shopkeepers. School Teachers. 150 men from all walks of life come together at the Chundan Vallam races in Kerala. Not a single one of them is a professional athlete. Yet they find their rhythm and row as one… Dum. Dum. Dum. Dum. To the steady beat of a wooden pole. To the hypnotic chants of thai thai thaka, thai thai thom. They slice the calm waters in easy, practiced harmony. Like the countless legs of a centipede, they glide, they flow, they charge like an armed brigade.
God’s own pride
Held every autumn around Onam, a harvest festival, the energy at the Chundan Vallam or snake boat races is electric. The needle-sharp focus of the boatmen, the drums, the boat songs, the wild cries of the onlookers… It has a spirit all its own. A spirit that no regatta, no Olympics, no sporting event anywhere in the world can ever hope to match. And it takes months of preparation, years of practice, and centuries of traditions to make it so.