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Reflections on Reality!

Onam..today and yesterday

More than anything, i guesss this post is to remind myself of this space and remind you people of my existence.. and what with Onam it has tugged me back into the good old days..  yeah when you talk of such things old is always gold. :).

mukkutti-pooOnam meant staying at home, gathering of relatives and neighbours. The best were the oldest 😛 that is during school days when for sure your exams will be over before atham( days prior to onam) and you got 10 days leave.  Paddy fields were the biggest source of flowers with abundant supply of ‘thumba, mukkutti and kathiru’. (All flowers..the former pure white,  next golden yellow and the last one greenish maroon in color). The nex set of flowers came from the loose net like thing people tie to mark their territory called ‘veli’. Since this was a risky option, guys in the group took care of that 😉 all we lose will be one good smile and there they go swinging and bruising themselves :P. There is yet another stuff we hand over to them with a little more cajoling. There they go..making a pie out of cowdung and smearing it in the front yard in the shape that we want. This helps the flowers stay a little longer and to bear the wind and drizzles if any..

Next ofcourse is the ‘onakkodi’. Dresses were not like as it is now, you go when there is a sale, you grab a few and come home! Then, mostly the only dresses I got were all..almost all..gifts. For Onam uncles gave. For vishu Dad, for birthdays brother..So in short the dresses I get in a year is directly proportional to the special days!  That inturn made every such occasions an extra special day :P!

Now comes the ‘Sadhya’..the elaborate kerala style meals! Growing up without mom cancels that ‘yummy mummy’ food off the list. My brother did find a very ‘nice’ alternative! Being the ‘calculative genius’ he is. He encouraged my cooking as much as possible. Yeah I would have got the greatest support in learning cooking than anyone else. From 8th standard, beginning with the basics like kanji(gruel) and puttu (rice powder cake) i graduated to ‘sadhya’ by 10th. Anything on earth i wanted to cook, he would bring me the ingredients and also an innocent crowd to appreciate the stuff. Probably the egoist in him never let him utter the words “its nice”, but he did make sure it was appreciated by others.

Initially he would be there in the kitchen, trying in vain to teach me that once im done with one small spoon or plate, as the dish iammi kallus set to boil in the stove, I can simultaneously wash and keep the used utensils aside! Nope..im a lill like writing exams whilst cooking. One essay at a time! But he stood there nevertheless trying his best..mind you..even if i needed an urgent loo break amidst all the stuff…he wouldnt take care or do anything for that 5 mins, I had to find my own sweet time.  Oh ya..and being a pro at persuasion he had convinced me that coconut when blended in the manual stone grinder added taste to the dishes. And for each of these preparations..I did not use the mixer grinder..but the stone!! But, encouragement sure it was when people were amazed that a 10th std kid had prepared a ‘sadhya’.

As days went leaves for onam became inconsistent. College and university problems had Onam inbetween exams. Occassions later turned out to be formalities. Vishu somehow remained the same for a longer period of time as perhaps the celebration was just for one day and it was pretty much inside the house.

Today..It has taken a new twist. We both are working in this day and the funny thing is we both are in-charge in our respective offices for the office celebration. Even if all i wish is a day with him with normal food, it will be injustice as he has taken up the resopnsibility of flower arrangements and sweet distribution at his office. And before I could rant much, me being the only malayalee girl in office who hasnt rushed to kerala automatically made me the person responsible for the ‘palada'(kheer) here.  I was literally inbetween smiles and tears when eby said we’ll celebrate by having dinner at a kerala restaurant!

Thats definitely the only practical solution. But the heart does yearn for more. Simple things seem to be the most difficult ones to achieve. Somehow those neighbours wont be there..those paddy fields have buildings rasing up, stone grinder is no longer used and is probably under dust. New clothes are also kind of out of the story as its just during last weeks sale we bought a few. It is no longer saved up for ‘the special day’. But washed and tried and tested already! And along with the list..emotions like anxiety, and enjoyment also has gone. I need not be tensed thinking if the vegetable is cooked proportionally and the kheer is sweetened properly..the hotel people would take care of that.  Yeah perhaps their bill would bring back the tension 😛 The smile has faded with a nostalgic tear.for the yester years. Today Im glad that atleast there is a tug in my heart for those sweet innocent days..tomorrow I fear even that would fade eventually giving way to the indifference that seems to be the biggest pandemic of the age.

Tomorrow i fear..I dont even have such memories to gift my children. They’ll grow up with the urbanised festivals, or perhaps even grow up to deny the existence and beliefs of such mythological stories. Neither are they going to believe in the pot-bellied, goodnatured devil, judging flower carpets nor in the bearded man in sleighs coming all the way from north pole to hide gifts.

They wouldnt long for ‘that special dress’, ‘that special food’ any time of the year. Fashion and not festivals would keep a track of those. They wouldnt worry as there wasnt anything what they could remember that could be faded in the later years.. But I would know their loss..of running around and nibbling flowers with the early morning dew drops.. or of the drizzle of goodness and memories that only such stupid mythological stories could give!

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September 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 29 Comments