Verbivorehere's Weblog

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..Β  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 πŸ˜› 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.Β  Paddy fields were the biggest source of flowers with abundant supply of ‘thumba, mukkutti and kathiru’. (All flowers..the former pure white,Β  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 πŸ˜‰ 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!Β  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.Β  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.Β  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.Β  Yeah perhaps their bill would bring back the tension πŸ˜› 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 »

  1. Happy Onam πŸ™‚

    And what you have written is so so true. In the present world when we get everything ready made the traditions are slowly-2 vanishing away! We still have memories with us but kiddo’s will hardly have anything to cling onto…they will have totally different memories πŸ™‚

    You have touched the new clothes things which is so true. Now we don’t value them because we keep getting them when we see anything good jabki there used to be times when we used to wait for a festival to come…sigh!!! Times are changing….and that to too quickly…

    Comment by Smita | September 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. Happy Onam! It is so true! Every generation I think loses some of the rituals and festivities involved in our festivals..

    I grew up outside Kerala – so some of the things you mentioned – I have never done 😦 We used to make pookalams only when we were in Bunglow sort of houses – it was impossible to do in flats.. and even then – with whatever flowers that were available in our gardens..But even then – the excitement of Onam was there. And my daughter has not even experienced a proper Onam so far. This year – I hope to at least make a sadya and a pookalam – small touches – but probably the only things we can do .. Things are definitely changing..

    Comment by Smitha | September 1, 2009 | Reply

  3. smita – u here already?? and i thot people mightve forgtn ths space! πŸ˜› guess what u have rubbed on too many thngs..now instead of books ur ccd!!! nd ask me of changes!! im the one who jumped to a metro frm a pucca village..so time jst flashed past!

    Smitha – yeah growing up in that state is imp to get the real flavor i thnk..i still havent done many thngs which traditional people do. like thrikkaakkarayappan and all..:( bt yeah by th time my kids grow up and i tell thm abt maveli
    im scared if theyll laugh at me!

    Comment by verbivorehere | September 1, 2009 | Reply

  4. Happy Onam ! It is hard to keep up with the festivals these days. But good to reminiscence.

    Comment by Ava | September 1, 2009 | Reply

    • yeah..good to reminisce..bt sad to know its gone!

      Comment by verbivorehere | September 2, 2009 | Reply

  5. happy onam
    thanx for your visit to my blog and leaving your reflections behind
    keep visiting

    Comment by anjugandhi | September 1, 2009 | Reply

    • thankuu..
      the pleasure was mine πŸ™‚

      Comment by verbivorehere | September 2, 2009 | Reply

  6. Waaahhhhhh !!!! Every year Onam, I had my parents with me !!! We celebrate it or not, but we were still together !!! This year, Im lying with a stupid flu in my bed, commenting for blogs !!! Wahhhhhhh !!!! 😦 😦 😦

    Comment by Vimmuuu | September 1, 2009 | Reply

    • LOL sorry cudnt help bt laugh..th minute i saw ur name ..i was thnking u have come up with sme stupid comment πŸ˜› and pull a fight :P..bt atleast the flu has made u sane..isnt tht gr8888?? ..ok ok.jokes apart hope its no swine flu nd all.get well soon..have loads of chukku kaapi!

      Comment by verbivorehere | September 2, 2009 | Reply

  7. I grew up outside Kerala so I really can’t tell the difference. For me festivals were and still are all about family/friends gatherings and and it still happens in my parents’ home. I am missing everything though :(. I spent 2 Onams with my grandparents and it was fabulous. So was all the Onams outside Kerala.

    Wish you a very happy and prosperous Onam!

    Comment by Solilo | September 1, 2009 | Reply

    • yeah grandparents have their own way πŸ™‚ of making such traditions special.. btw..don is first time here right? thnku..welcome to ths space!

      Comment by verbivorehere | September 2, 2009 | Reply

      • Et, tu? Calling me Don. πŸ˜†

        Yes! first time here. I am blogrolling you now. I always forget.

        Comment by Solilo | September 7, 2009

  8. Hey Verbi!

    I was thinking almost the same thing… but for the ganesh chaturti..

    Since my mom died we havent celebrated one festival as it was… so every festival is a bit downer for us..

    Well.. I had the same thought that.. when i get married and have kids.. possibly I have nothing to share.. i am so bad with all the traditions and all!

    Comment by Winnie the Poohi | September 2, 2009 | Reply

  9. winnie..say even of ur good at it..do u think tmrws generatn wud listen to us if were to say..hey u ought to make flower carpets to please maveli? naah! so dnt worry..i feel tmrws generatn wud lead us!

    Comment by verbivorehere | September 3, 2009 | Reply

    • I hope they do! Some wonder should remain in life! Else life is just too mechanical no ?

      Comment by Winnie the Poohi | September 9, 2009 | Reply

  10. We at least have something to recollect from our kid times… Imagine te case of future generations! They will have almost nothing traditional to recollect at the old age!

    Belated Onam Wishes πŸ™‚

    Comment by Suji! | September 3, 2009 | Reply

  11. oh mine hav heard all this from mom….getting up early to pluck flowers, new dresses and all tat….
    am too touched to write anyting..and feel a bit bad tat our future generations vl have noting of these small pleasures…even my generation doesnt have it i guess…kind of all fading away….

    Comment by sangeeta | September 3, 2009 | Reply

  12. thats a great account on how you celebrated the Onam and how you are missing it…

    me too fear the same verbi…. will the generations coming next can have this fun and enjoyment??? SIGH

    belated onam wishes to you πŸ™‚

    and there are few parts in this post I have ROFL πŸ˜†

    Comment by kanagu | September 5, 2009 | Reply

  13. @kanagu – yeah sighing big time here for next generation!
    and wht made u laugh in ths post?? :O πŸ˜€

    Comment by verbivorehere | September 8, 2009 | Reply

    • /*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 β€œits nice”, but he did make sure it was appreciated by others.*/

      This part… and also some of the latter parts πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

      I am LOL again πŸ˜†

      Comment by kanagu | September 15, 2009 | Reply

  14. Belated wishes Verbi πŸ™‚ N I so loved this post πŸ™‚

    So heartfelt n full of love! Long live the bond u shared with ur bro! Hs he read this post? He wil luv it na πŸ™‚

    I wil try my best to get my future kids to learn the importance of our traditions and let them know how much fun it is! Rest left to God!

    Comment by Swaram | September 10, 2009 | Reply

  15. happy belated onam πŸ˜› very late here……… πŸ˜›

    even though I am a tamilian by birth…. onam is the most important festival for me personally!!!!!

    yes, I just hope as you say, that we can pass on to the next generation what our parents passed on to us……..

    The onam sadya is the greatest!!!!! my grandmom makes a great sadya!!!!! shesh. but this year, I missed it……..

    Comment by Ordinary Guy | September 10, 2009 | Reply

  16. @swaram πŸ˜› he hasnt and he wouldnt.. πŸ™‚ do teach ur kid the importance of traditions more so..the importance of kinship πŸ™‚
    welcome here to ths space..and trust me ur profile photo and ur post about a 5 year old! shocked me!!

    @OG – ur grandmom??? stil prepares ‘sadhyya” maannn if i were u ..i wouldve kept aside everything else for her food!

    Comment by verbivorehere | September 11, 2009 | Reply

  17. Hi, Verby! I don’t know your festivals but they seem to be as heart-warming as my own here. What struck me about your post, though, is your brother’s love and patience. Not many people can boast a brother encouraging them in their endeavors. Seem like you have a family that really appreciates you. πŸ™‚

    Comment by Johanna | September 12, 2009 | Reply

    • πŸ™‚ jo..ur comment left me a smile..do u know the eternal truth that mostly beauty is perceived either before you get the object or aftr the loss??

      Comment by verbivorehere | September 16, 2009 | Reply

  18. My profile photo?

    Comment by Swaram | September 15, 2009 | Reply

    • the one with the Gr88 hair style πŸ˜›

      Comment by verbivorehere | September 16, 2009 | Reply

  19. leave alone kids missing things..i missed this post…bah

    Comment by nautankey | September 15, 2009 | Reply

    • LOL tht was a nice way of excusing urself πŸ˜› for such a long disappearance!

      Comment by verbivorehere | September 16, 2009 | Reply


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