Another delicious and prosperous onam has passed by. This onam seemed special to me, not because of the fact that kerala had put a new record in drinking rum and brandy. This onam gave me a flavour of traditionality compared to the past five onams. If I am to say about onam, I must go back to “attham” and then 10 days up to thiruvonam. Just want to write about the remarkable achievements that made this onam traditional to me.
Day 1 – Attham
There was a long journey from Trivandrum to Thrissur.
Achievement 1:- Atthappookkalam@Home
Managed to collect some flowers from the “muttam” or courtyard and make a small but nice “atthappookkalam” which is a floral design we do starting from this day to “thiruvonam”. Parents were happy enough to let me purchase my “onakkodi” the new dress to wear in onam celebrations, even though they had warned me on previous month not to buy any dress this year as I purchased something very expensive. As I felt guilty of myself for that, I decided to buy a shirt only, but later added a wrist watch to it which in total came up to the same amount that I spent the other day! As I have a bright white Ramraj cotton mundu /dhoti (from Tamil Nadu), with a kasavu (golden) lining. I can use it this time as it hadn’t been used after the previous onam celebration.
Achivement 2:- Traditional Dress
Was able to say no to Jubba or Kurtha which is widely known to be kerala traditional dress, but infact arabic or north indian. Kerala doesn’t have a traditional dress to cover the upper-half of the body for men. But I need to cover my well-built chest and six pack abs to avoid girls going crazy! 😉 So spent some bucks on a designer wear. And the watch was a biggie that didn’t suit my skinny wrist, but bought it because of my love for that kind.
Achievement 3: Atthappookkalam@Vadakkumnadhan
I saw a big atthappookkalam infront of the Vadakkumnadhan temple, in thrissur. Also got some snaps of the same and Panchavadyam, one of my favorite traditional temple art. But I’m a bit depressed to know that Kozhikode overtook us at this time with their massive pookkalam. But I love this one as it is infront of the majestic “gopura kavadam” or entrance of the Vadakkumnadhan temple.
The next few days don’t have much significance as I returned back to Trivandrum. So I’m jumping to day 7.
Day 7 – Moolam
This day was special as it was onam celebration in the office, Lot of programs were arranged like vadam vali, pulikkali, pookkalam competition, thiruvathirakkali etc. Had a Trivandrum style sadya with different courses and three types of paayasams(ada pradaman,paal payasam, the next I don’t remember ). The same day after celebrations, I went back to Thrissur as it was holidays until moonnaam onam.
Day 8 – Pooraadam
Nothing traditional this day, as It was a busy one in the process of buying my brand new Yamaha R15, got it and drove it all the day.
Day 9 – Utthraadam
Utthrada paacchil is famous which is the rush for shopping inorder to prepare for thiruvonam, but was different for me, only thing I did was to help the preparations for the onam celebrations infront of Eravu Sree Mahavishnu temple conducted by our club- “Select Team”.
Achievement 4:- Stay with Family
Turned down a suggestion of going for a tour for a whole day to Chimney dam as it was a blunder to stay away from the family on a special day. Also avoided the possibility of taking any kind of alcohol as part of the trip.
Achievement 5 – “No” to alcohol
There was a get together with my collage mates. In the party after the get together, I could control my instincts inorder to restrict myself from taking even a sip of beer, while sitting between all of my friends drinking in a bar! That was a great feeling!
Day 10 – Thiruvonam
Well, this one was a very special thiruvonam.
Achievement 6:- Traditional Meal
This time, I managed to convince my mom to prepare the traditional meal for thiruvonam after buying some groceries required, instead of the fried rice planned. Also suggested the traditional pulissery (or mooru koottaan in Thrissur slang) instead of sambhar. The result was that I enjoyed every bit of it. Pulissery, Inchitthairu (which is said to be equialent to 1000 curries), payarupperi, acchaaru, pappadam, and finally semiya paayasam, All served on a plantain leaf!
Achievement 7:- Vahana pooja
As it is a custom to have the brand new vehicles done pooja, which gives good fortune, I took the same special day for it: Thiruvonam. Visited the temple and took the coupon for it (tipping the “poojari” or priest with some money, oh sorry thats not tip, It is called “dakshina” a sacred giving, is also a custom). So that’s it! I got my R15 decorated with Flowers, sprinkled with “theertham” or the sacred water, and painted with “chandanam” or sandal wood paste.
Achievement 8:- “No” to TV Channels
This day was also a busy one for the preparations for the meal, also the onam celebrations at the temple etc. So TV channels couldn’t give a lazy effect on me with its onam special programs and movies. Really, really happy about it!
Achievement 9:- Palada payasam
This is my favorite payasam. On the thiruvonam day, I had a chance to have it as the same was there on my grandfather’s home. It was highly delicious as it normally will be! I had two glasses of it.
Day 11 – Moonnaam onam
Onam was like over this day, I had to return back again to Trivandrum afternoon. Completed about 230 pages of “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga, on train. Could get down at Kazhakkuttom where the train don’t have a stop but slowed down as it was early.
So thats how I celebrated my onam. It was on this onam that I rediscovered the delicacies of the traditional sadya which is somewhat different from the current definitions of a sadya. The only thing I missed was the “thrikkaakkarappan” pooja which is done on five piramid shaped objects which is considered as the lord vamana moorthi (vishnu) residing in thrikkaakkara. But I’m getting a feeling like I did something and made a difference this time, which is giving me an inspiration for making the next one more traditional. Wish everyone have future Onams free from Alchohol and TV Channels (as both are harmful) and celebrate it with the true spirit!