Saturday, September 09, 2006

Onam - I

We mallus celebrated Onam on Sep 5 last week. For the uninitiated, Onam is one of the important mallu festivals, and is based on an old legend, which goes something like this: Lord Mahabali was a good and popular king who ruled the land that is now Kerala. Indra was jealous of his popularity and requested Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu took the Vamana or dwarf avatar and tricked Mahabali, pushing him to patal lok – the netherworld, which Mahabali rules to this day. He, however, returns to his homeland once a year, and that day is celebrated as Onam.

Cool story and all,but I’m not sure that’s the only reason for Onam. Methinks we mallus love food too much to celebrate only on one day in a year (that’s Vishu, our new year’s day), so we found another day to party. Being a fraud mallu with rather tenuous connections to my homeland, Onam has usually meant two things for me: the morning pookalam (the flower arrangement) and the afternoon sadhya (the feast).

This time’s Onam was quite special, since I was able to get home for a change – a feat I’ven’t managed for the past few years. The first thing I saw when I got home was the pookalam. It never fails to amaze me how my mom and sis can wake up so early in the morning to do this, but they do, and it always turns out beautiful. Here, look at our pookalam this year:

Yup, it’s quite beautiful. Of course, everybody’s stepping around it to get in and out, but that’s a small price to pay for a pookalam.

The sadhya needs a separate blog to do full justice. So hereitis.


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