Hari Shanker R

Hari Shanker R

A Happiness Engineer at Automattic.

Onam ’09 – A photoessay!

For most parts, 2009 was a year of disappointments and failures. I went through a LOT – found myself in umpteen issues and weathered the worst crises of my life! Had it not been for the occasional silver lining, I’d have lost control altogether.

Yet, I’d call 2009 – the year I turn 21, the MOST memorable year in my life, thanks to this Onam, which was simply THE best! ๐Ÿ˜€

For those of you non-mallus, Onam is the traditional harvest festival of agrarian Kerala, which celebrates the season of bounty with a melange of interesting customs. All Malayalees, transcending feckles of caste, creed, religion and gender, celebrate the grand harvest festival with pomp and grandeur. So goes the old Malayalam proverb: “เด•เดพเดฃเด‚ เดตเดฟเดฑเตเดฑเตเด‚ เด“เดฃเด‚ เด‰เดฃเตเดฃเดฃเด‚” (Thou shalt sell thy belongings and eat to thy content, for Onam!). ๐Ÿ˜€

Following tradition, my nuclear family (Dad, Mom and I) left to mom’s native place – Kottarakkara, Kollam, to celebrate this Onam. The native place trip has its roots to my being the only kid in the family. Perhaps, trips to native place were made to kill my loneliness – I could play with my cousins and have a great time. I remember my workaholic dad taking up to three days of leave for onam and packing us all off to Kollam regulary for each Onam and Christmas! What began as a loneliness-killing routine stayed on as a bonding exercise and today, we’re closer than ever to our grandparents!! >:D<

Armed with a (borrowed) Sony Cybershot S950, I clicked pics away. The camera sucks bigtime (it’s at the bottom of the food product chain), yet somehow the pics came in nice.

Let ’em do the talking! ๐Ÿ˜€

My native place – we arrived on the first onam day. ‘Twas a warm welcome, as always! ๐Ÿ˜€

Too many cars spoiled the broth! ๐Ÿ˜ We (kiddo cousins & I) couldn’t play any outdoor games! ๐Ÿ˜

Thiruvonam: The rain was a VERY unpleasent surprise. It rained cats and dogs. We thought all our onam plans were spoiled!! ๐Ÿ˜

Yet, we stood firm! The four of us braved the pouring rains, collecting flowers, leaves and all foliage we could lay our hands upon and made this (rudiementary) pookkalam! \m/ It ain’t the best, but… ๐Ÿ˜€

Onam + Bhakti = Nirvana. Wasting no time after the pookkalam, my cousin devi readied the pooja room and we were in bhakti mode! ๐Ÿ™‚ I had my conversations with Lord Krishna! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ah, the hugely awaited pic. That’s me, donning Mundu. However, the folds of my dhothi aren’t perfectly adorned this time. Technical problems relating to elasticity of the fabric, et al. Still I managed to keep it unscathed all day, sans external contraptions for the same! ๐Ÿ˜‰

My Partners in crime – dearest cousins! :)We had all the fun we could have in a span of three days. ๐Ÿ˜€ Was the best! \m/

An amazing Ona Sadya – courtesy my grandparents who’re among the BEST cooks I’ve seen! ๐Ÿ™‚ But yeah, on the third-onam day, the sadya was polluted with meat and I was forced at gunpoint to gobble up chicken. I refused though! ๐Ÿ˜‰

On the third onam day, we went on a trip to the nearby ‘river’. I guess the pictures are good enough to explain the fun we had! ๐Ÿ˜›

That evening, the three of decided it was time to groove and danced away to glory! I was the DJ! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I too shook my leg for a while! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Day 4 – The 4th Onam saw the three of us climb the nearby hillock. It was a very pleasant trekking experience, and the three of us accompanied by the local kiddo Rahul made the most of it!

That evening, I stole the keys of my uncle’s brand new alto, and decided to prowl away on an exciting journey over the long winded village roads! Sadly, the plan backfired and I was caught red handed. Nevertheless, the trip happened, even though my driving previleges were limited and I was allowed to sit behind the wheel only for a quarter of the journey! Yet, it was an awesome experience. Precarious trips through those ‘roads’ made me feel like Mohanlal’s ‘wanderer’ in Bhramaram! ๐Ÿ˜‰

No, it wasn’t me!! This sight greeted Vaisakh and me as we surreptitously walked over to the terrace of the house! ๐Ÿ˜ Apparently my ex-military uncle had made a few trips to the canteen and obtained his rationed monthly ‘quota’. We’d noticed uncles and dad climb upward all three days, but we weren’t sure what they were upto. They, presumably, had a very nice and sober time! My uncle forgot his Nokia 1100 at the crime scene – as you can see, even the phone got ‘drunk’! ๐Ÿ˜ What a fitting culmination to an Onam! ๐Ÿ˜

Check out all the pics in my flickr album – or watch this slideshow! ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S.

Neither dad, nor my uncles know about this pic! ๐Ÿ˜› Yea, so if you know my dad, dare you NOT mention this to him, okay? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I remember him debating incisively over the alcohol consumption during Onam, and the way he pokes fun at queues in front of BevCo sales counters! Take that, dad! ๐Ÿ˜‰

P.P.S.

I forgot this part, and I know it’s a tad too late. Still, here’s wishing a belated Happy Onam to all of you. Rock on! ๐Ÿ™‚

4 Comments

  1. Archana

    that blue shirt on onam day is cool.. liked it very much…

    PS: enthu cheyaam.. pennungalude swabhavama.. aadyam photo n dress nokkum ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. hari

      Thank you, chechi! ๐Ÿ™‚ Ente kunjammede Ona Sammanam aanu! ๐Ÿ˜€

      It’s okay chechi… Njaanum angane okke thanneyaa! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not just a female thing. Hehe!

      Btw, how did your onam go? ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Quest

    Rudimentary pookkalam was your design? ๐Ÿ™‚

    External contraption = belt? ๐Ÿ˜€

    As far as I can remember even I had chicken/mutton on every 3rd onam day, either at home or in my native place..

    Shook my leg for a while – pathalathil thirichethiya Mahabali paedichu poyi kaannum ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Did Vaisakh spoil your quota? ๐Ÿ˜›

    Glad it was a wonderful Onam for you with happiness ๐Ÿ™‚

    PS: Why the wiki link to Onam? ๐Ÿ™‚ Seen in quite a few onam posts ๐Ÿ˜€

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