Every year around this time I get a message from my mother reminding me Onam is on this … date. And I just Sigh! This year I will not do anything, I tell myself. I don’t have any time.
And then on the morning of Onam I will wake up and go hunting for flowers (or put my husband on the task), cook up a feast (obviously with the help of my cook), make sure there is payssum (now that’s all me!) and invite family over for dinner. Irrespective of whether it’s a working day or not.
What is about this festival that make me feel so exhausted before and after, but on that day fills me with enthusiasm and new energy. Anyone who knows my family and me, knows we are far from being religious. So no godly fear in me compelling me to celebrate. Living in Delhi where most people don’t even know it’s Onam, I silently celebrate with my family with no fanfare for others to see.Is it the pride in the mallu traditions and the need to stand out and claim our space? Contrary to that it’s the exact opposite. It’s to belong. It’s all about traditions, memories and reliving my childhood.
When I think Onam all I remember is family, yummy food and the Pookalam (flower rangoli) we used to make and our new Pavadas (lehengas) . And I guess that’s the magic I try to recreate every year. It’s the little bits of my parents and their traditions in me that I hold on to and hope to pass on to my kids. It is our history, our story, our love.
Happy Onam! Onam ashamsagal!