Skip to main content

Happy Onam: Revisiting Memories of Onam Celebrations


Everyone’s watch is set to a different time and the earth revolves slowly or fast depending on the state of one’s heart. – Anjum Hassan (Difficult Pleasures)

The scent of Onam brings with it the secrecy of pain and the tumultuous, roller coaster sense of gradually heightening excitement. Looking back, memories flood back into my mind. Like firecrackers that light up the sky in a brilliant display and burn itself out into a shimmering incandescence, these memories stored safely in my mind turn alight. The memories push through the shadowy boundaries of nostalgia and make my heart flip over with a strange, inexplicable sliver of joy and pain.


So many Onams spring to life. Onam with my parents – where my mother would be busy in the kitchen preparing all the items for the sadhya without any one’s help in the kitchen. When she used to fry the banana chips, I would sneak in to steal some from the hot plate because I didn’t have the patience to wait till it cooled. I’d take some to my father who would be busy putting all the traditional decorations that are a part of the Onam celebrations. My sister would also be there and we would squabble every few minutes and get scolded by my mother for creating a racket. Those memories swivel around me now, lingering along with the scent of freshly cut flowers that have been used to decorate the puja room.

Onam in the presence of my beloved Uncle Dathanvalichan still brings tears to my eyes. Without Dathanvalichan, Onam itself lost meaning for me. For many years, I could not bring myself to celebrate Onam without remembering the loss of this one man who was such a hero-like figure to me.  If only He had lived longer, if only I could have expressed my love and adoration back then. No one can take Dathanvalichan’s place in my heart even now.

Then there is Onam in the presence of my beloved ‘Ammukutty,’ my maternal grandmother – who was my pillar of strength and she used to be my best friend through all times, lovingly supporting, advising and guiding me on the path of goodness.

Ammukutty was the one emotional anchor that I had failed to recognize while she lived, and long after she was gone, I realized that my life without her could never be the same again. She had been a light that lit my heart from within, but I never recognized it then. She used to say to me so often, “You are the only proof that a woman called Ammukutty had ever lived on earth because you are her splitting image, even more than her children. Through you, I will live forever.” It made no sense to me then but as the years pass, I have begun to understand what she meant back then. She is, in her own way, living her dreams through me now. 

This Onam and every Onam I miss her and wish so badly that I could see her, lie on her lap like I used to and feel the soft pressure of Ammukutty’s fingers pulling through and gently sorting out the wild tresses that she would so patiently and lovingly tame with oil. Happy Onam, Ammukutty! I love you, truly. But keep watching over me.

Last but never the least, my Bhagawan, my very beloved Baba – how many Onams I spent basking in His electrifying physical presence and divine love! How many times I had the opportunity to have Prasad blessed by Him on Onam or to be there to see a glimpse of His beautiful form as part of the Onam darshan.

Onam spells a magical inner journey comprising of those unforgettable moments we once disclaimed or wanted to escape from at one point of time. But as the years pass by, we return to them with increasing nostalgia and fondness. During Onam, year after year, we revisit our stock of memories and throw light upon their sepia tinted layers. Perhaps we know that the truth of these memories cannot be marveled at in the presence of so many others around us on any other occasion but that of Onam. We see ourselves turn delightfully childlike and enticed by the spell of Onam through each passing year only to return to the repetitive mundane routine that makes sense to us while we are engrossed in living and promoting ourselves socially further and further, not really understanding how far we go are traveling from within ourselves and what truly matters.

Loving Onam wishes to you, my dearest friends. ഹൃദയംനിറഞ്ഞ തിരുവോണാശംസകള്‍...........

Comments

Bridget Wilson said…
Nice post... Keep it up... I really like celebrating Onam festival,,, it's colorful pookalam, festive celebration sadya... It's indeed a wonderful holiday, isn't it? Happy Onam to all!
Dahana Gadin said…
What a lovely post. I miss my family in Kerala, I wish I could spend the Onam with them but I can't. here's sending my most heartfelt Onam wishes to my family out there. Happy Onam!
Haddock said…
Luckily we had our onam sadhya at our friend's place (with two types of payasam)

Most Popular Posts

Why chant Ramayana during the month of Karkidakam

For Keralites across the world who follow the Malayalam calendar, today marks the beginning of the month of Karkidakam. This month, which, decades ago, was known and slightly feared for its torrential rains and negative impact on the health, wealth and well being of Kerala's rural community. 
Why chant Ramayana during Karkidakam To ward off the negative energy unleashed by Nature and its possible repercussions on one's family's overall well being, the wise elders introduced the timeless tradition of every family reading the Ramayana as an oral, spiritual tradition. Thus, it goes without saying that for Keralites who embrace these traditions, the act of reading the Ramayana is as much a spiritual cleansing as it is a kind of tradition they can pass on to bond with their loved family members, particularly children.
In the Ramayana, there is no 'preaching of principles' but you are taken through the Avatar's journey as a human being. Lord Rama depicts how a man shoul…

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. 
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he became very enthusiastic about chanting the mantras. Following this, my mother taught him the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra and he took to …

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

This post on Kerala's caste system has not been written with an intention to ridicule or glorify any caste as such. I do not ever judge or like to be judged on the basis of my caste. I do not support any form of caste discrimination because I know exactly how it feels to be treated differently because of one's caste. It isn't a great feeling.  

First Question is always "What is your Caste?" In Kerala, one of the first things you are bound to be asked by even new people you've just met is, "What is your caste?"  This is not a tirade against any caste but my experience, personally. And just for information, I have never used my caste name 'Menon' to this day. That is something I have learned from my father - who has never used 'Menon' in his name because he believes his destiny is shaped by values, vision and actions, not  by his caste.
As some one who is a Menon by birth, I can also tell you frankly that it often feels like a curse to be…

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Earth Angels have amazing super powers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions &  becoming invisible at will
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in this world. But y…

Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer

Come summer, and we women worry a lot about how the sun lashes out on our skin. True, skincare tips for the summer are plenty but what about the hushed secrets - yes, those tried and tested family secrets that are passed on from mother to daughters? [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]




Here are some that are totally easy to do. Best of all, these are effective and bring on a feel-good factor in the peak of summer.

1. Replace water with rosewater. It keeps your skin luminous and fragrant throughout the day. It's a good toner too.

2. Cleanse your skin by combining these ingredients - honey, milk, rosewater/rosepetals and turmeric. Add a dash of olive oil and yes, it feels wonderful.

3. Almond oil body baths are a must-have! You will smell delicious all day. This summer, skip all those body lotions & moisturizers! You will love the way almond oil pampers your skin all day!

4. Use a mixture of almond oil and olive oil for your feet. Your feet will sparkle an…

Gayatri Mantra as Panchamukhi: Get it right or let it go

Most people do not understand the importance of chanting the Gayatri mantra because they are not aware of its power. It is only when I began to read Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings that I learned how sacred and powerful the chanting of the Gayatri mantra is.
The Vedas represent the breath of God. The Gayatri mantra is the very basis of the Vedas. Try not to undertake chanting the Gayatri mantra as a light endeavor or as a hobby. It has to be chanted with faith, discipline and purity of mind and body. Be steady with your sadhana if you want to reap the spiritual dividend associated with the Gayatri mantra  and never once hesitate once you decide to do it.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba said that the Gayatri Mantra is referred to as Pancha Mukhi, the Goddess with five faces that represent the five pranas or life forces. Here's more on it.


Chant the Gayatri Mantra correctly: Pause Five Times Here are some important things to keep in mind while chanting the Gayatri mantra:

1. Wh…

Premam Malayalam Movie Review: A Superb Entertaining Love Story in which Nivin Pauly conquers hearts and Sai Pallavi is a delight to watch

Alphonse Puthren's Malayalam movie "Premam" starring Nivin Pauly has been a most talked about film as Malayalis across the world have shown great love for "Premam."  
"Premam" is a movie that will take you back to the bittersweet memories of your first love, second love and maybe, third and final love!
[Image credit: Google Images]
Premam Malayalam Movie Review: Butterflies are mentally mental, so is love
I had a big smile on my face when I read the words "Butterflies are mentally mental, so is love" on the screen. This was shown just before the credits started to show.
It marks the perfect beginning to a "nutcase" love story! I was all set to enjoy this delicious tale of teenage crush, love & mature love - the phases that each of us have gone through in this journey of life at some time or the other.
Premam Malayalam Movie Review: Story
Premam's story revolves around the butterfly-like, romantic journey of  George David (Nivin Pa…