Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Onamshamsagal !!!

Nyaan undakiya poovu kallam......
Being born and brought up in bby, i never had the oppurtunity to celebrate Onam in kerala. All ive is a
treasure of imaginations about the celebrations, games, flowers .....with the stories that my mom used to tell me.

I remember waking up on onam to the smell of sambhar bubbling away in the cooker. The waft of soft-steamy idlis would pull me to our kitchen where i would invariably find my mom juggling chores to cook around 10 dishes, my dad sitting on the kitchen floor cutting veggies for aviyal, My brother grating coconut for the prathaman(payasam/kheer)... And there i was walking like a princess in my house, strutting in my new clothes, not doing a thing....
It was dad's and bro's job to extract the coconut milk, mine to extract the cardamom seeds.. :-) I was the baby of the family, always pampered, not expected to do anything. My poor mom wearing a set-mundu(traditional mallu outfit- 2 piece cream colored saree with gold border) would be running around in the kitchen and all i would do, was to sneak in and pop some roasted cashews and raisins which she had reserved for the payasam, for which i would get a nice pinch on my butt !!! Mom would always dress me up in a pattu-pavada (traditional silk blouse-full skirt) for onam, she would get one stitched everytime we went to kerala. She used to love dressing me up, probably reliving her younger days. I used to hate being dressed in one. Then came the next dreaded task.... had to distribute payasam and upperi(banana chips) to the neighbours and i was the chosen one. I used to wait near the building's entrance and peek out. My hands used to be full with payasam jugs placed in plastic bags and upperi wrapped in news-papers. I used to ensure that none of my building friends were around lest they saw me in that shiny bling-bling outfit with lotsa flowers in my hair and eyes like those of a racoon (kohl-lined). Trust me, i believe the pattu-pavada is a very beautiful outfit, but tht's as long as im not the one who's wearing it !!!
Let's see...All to the next building, climb 2 floors, ring bell, when aunty/uncle open, say "Happy onam" breathlessly and thrust the packet in their arms before they can comment on my "Lllovelly drress" and run back home... By the time i finished the distribution, our guests would have arrived.We've always had guests for Onam. Our family friends would always join in for Lunch. I had to spread the mats so that everyone can have lunch together, seated on the floor. After lunch, everyone would just laze around and talk nonsense. (obviously after hogging that much noone can really move much or for that matter talk any sense). Mom would let me rest my head on the lap and go to sleep there....zzzzz... Sigh... !!!
In the evenings, we used to dress up again and go to the local krishna temple in our neighbourhood which was
very popular among the mallu and tamil community. Everyone would then gather round to play
kaikottikalli(traditional dance of kerala- danced on onam). Although, most of our poor aunties wouldve practised the steps from a month earlier and we young girls used to mess it up for them. We would laugh at any single misstep and more than a dance it would turn out to be a laughing riot, with us girls giggling....obviously everyone watching us would also start laughing and before you know, noones really dancing, only laughing. Well we've had a nice time, in our own different ways on onam. No unjal, no poovu-kallam, no games for our onam in bby but hey, we still had a good time !! Now being so far away from home, all i can do is remember those wonderful days.. That's why this year i made a poovu-kallam and sadhya...(for the 1st time in my life) so that we may never forget those lovely days...

Happy Onam folks... !!


aqua said...

Happy Onam to you too!

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Biby Cletus - Blog

മഞ്ഞുതുള്ളി said...

nice posts :)

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