Saturday, September 06, 2014

“I am a part of all that I have met.” ;)


It used to be Onam when I was a kid. Yes, many such stories you get to read or hear today. But the fact is that our parents tried to induce those elements in us by celebrating it the way it was celebrated in their native land.
I grew up in Pune, Maharashtra yet my parents celebrated Onam like a true Malayalee. I remember it used to be a school day but my parents would take a day off and mom will prepare all the vegetable items along with 3-4 different types of curries. Since this festival is celebrated for the reason of King Mahabali and how he took care of his people, dad used to tell the story and the reasoning behind celebrating Onam. Dad also used to tell about the feast consisting of 56 vegetarian dishes and besides that the dessert payasams will be of 6-7 varieties. My dad used to tell us his growing up stories and Onam celebration was one of the scenes which would make us imagine how it would have been for them. 

However, being in a place where both parents were working and we never not having a holiday in school for Onam, still parents made sure we enjoy that one day just like as if we were transported to Kerala. A festival which is celebrated for 6 or 10 days now I hear and schools used to be closed for Onam Holidays those times in Kerala.
Dad's speciality was to make adaprathaman payasam and I know it used to be the most sweetest payasam as he used to put lots and lots of jaggery. 
Me and my brother we used to have a half-day from school and teachers used to respect that part and would allow us to go home early.
Parents used to invite non-keralite friends home to have sadya at our place and we used to call our non-malayalee friends at home too. The basic differentiation was because every malayalee will be having a Onasadya at their place and it doesn't make any sense to invite them home when they already have their own onasadya.
Once we come home we used to get into our onakodi - the new clothes and I remember my long thick dark hair was an attraction to everyone and my mom used to make sure I neatly do my hair just like a malayalee girl would do - the long hair pinned from two sides and put a band at the end so the hair is loosely tied. It did gave a different look to the personality and I enjoyed it too.
One thing I figured out that I was more a malayalee when I was in Maharashtra or being with Maharashtrians than being with a malayalee. Though growing up with malayalee parents yet in Pune did bring the mallu in us. But today we are in America and I feel we dont do anything for any such special occasions - it's a event that people will dress up to show that its Onam but the core element of celebration has lost somewhere.
What it could be? No, I am not analyzing about it but yes, these have become sweet memories and I am cherishing those moments today far away from home. 
These days it's more or less is it Onam? oh Happy Onam :) 

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~ Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

~ Dawn

1 comment:

Jeevan said...

Beautiful narrative on your childhood memories on Onam... The spirit of festivals are losing its base slowly make me feel sad. Being a neighbourhood state we ever celebrated the festival at home and it’s less than half a decade Onam has declared as government holiday in our state. But I love to celebrate Pongal, with others who don’t celebrate it at their homes.

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