In the good old days of leisure and recreation it was customary for literary pundits and poets to gather for a virtual matching of their wits and scholarship— at what was known as Akshara Sloka Sadas. They usually sat in a circle for the event. The senior-most member of the group would start off the evening programme by reciting a sloka. The person next to him would then recite a sloka starting with the first letter of the third line of sloka just finished by his predecessor. The third person similarly would take his cue from the first letter of the third line of the sloka delivered by the second participant. This process could go on for hours until one by one everybody got stumped and withdrew leaving one man who became the winner of the evening
This form of entertainment still draws epicureans but in the absence of stalwarts of the earlier era, it has lost much of its sheen and the appreciative crowd is getting thin. For one thing the pursuit of scholarship is a diminishing fact of life. Secondly, few people can find time to cultivate such hobbies. Thirdly, there are other diversions which have greater pull and are less taxing on the brain. Lastly, there are few sponsors for this form of entertainment.
The Edappalli Akshara Sloka Sadas was established a few years ago to reverse the trend and keep alive this form of traditional intellectual amusement. It has found new adherents.
The Sadas is held in the Park at 2 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of every month and it conducts its anniversary celebrations during the Onam festival.