Friday, 28 August 2015

The real Malayalee Onam

The real malayalee Onam!!!

Today, all the malayalees around the world are celebrating Onam. You read that right. Of the little things we malayalees are proud of is the fact that it is not a festival bound by religion – every keralite celebrates onam. All one need to celebrate Onam is to have watched Asianet at one point or the other in his/her lifetime ;)

Lemme tell you how a real onam pans out. The day before, we would have done a small pooja at home to welcome our erstwhile King, Mahabali – not Bahubali but Mahabali. Today, we wake up to a usual kerala breakfast with an addition of boiled banana – this is a must for onam. There will be a floral carpet and king Mahabali’s clay incarnations just outside the door. We take pictures of it and circulate among the whatsapp groups J. This is followed by incessant forwarding of messages and whatsapp pings about Onams – Ponnonam, Onam anshamkal, Thiruvonam and all the variants.

The relatives start coming home. Television will be ON with a smattering of these programs – a cine actor giving an interview, a “thattu polippan(block buster) film being screened, some onam songs and games, an interview by a  tamil film actor(yesJ ), in the breaks many Malayalam film actors saying “Onam ashamsakal” and such. Once the relatives have reached, we exchange gifts. It is usually clothes for children and the elderly in the family. Then  we have the Sadya(the main lunch with payasam). Right in the middle of the Sadya, we get a call from a cousin who is abroad – mostly gulf. All of us talk about how we miss him/her. He/She will say how they miss the sadya and the usual question – when are you coming next?.

Once sadya is done, all of us gather around the TV and start talking – yes, no one watches the TV but it has to be on. In the evening, there will be upperi (banana chips) with tea. There will be a detailed evaluation on the quality of chips J. Once this is done, all os us go out to some place or the other. Then, an early dinner and back to our homes.

There is a perception that malayalees work really well once they leave the state of Kerala. This has a  slight bearing on the way we celebrate onam too. Outside of Kerala, Onam celebrations are on a much larger scale – with fun and games and celebrations galore J. But be it outside or within the state, Onam is one time when we are at our celebratory best J. Wish you all a very happy Onam!!!!

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