Onam was last Friday. The same day, post lunch, I was paralytic for about 30 minutes. 😛
Mom had gone berserk. Those of you, who know her, well she was twice the mother she usually is. She had got a meal with 26 items in, including some 4-5 varieties of pickles alone. < She just made me correct the count, stating that it was 28 items. I probably missed out counting salt & water! > It took me about 15 minutes, just to open and check what each container contained, stare at it and say, “Et tu!”
^Yes That’s about all the utensils we have…
Now, Mom was supposed to be ill. No, she doesn’t take any power enhancing drugs. and yes, I get all the super hyper thingie, people associate with me, from her and her alone. If you are my relative, yes I KNOW I look like her too… yes, her with a beard on… HA HA Funny Bunny! Quite an Archimedes you are yourself!
Anyway, this day, Mom found a poor unsuspecting guinea human < not quite a pig … thin frail Gujju boy he be>, in a very good friend of mine, who lovingly yet idiotically, got her an Onam gift. What the poor guy didn’t know was that this gift would now be returned 26 (or 28) fold! He sat to eat, not knowing he was about to be eaten up by the food instead. My mom’s eyes gleamed through the steam rising from the rice. Me, Dad, my cousin, and bro gulped. Lunch happened. A week on, I am yet to hear from my friend, that is if he still considers me a friend anymore.
My Dad is a gentle soul. But that, only when he is asleep. At all other times, he takes great pleasure in ensuring that his elder son, yours truly, is an active kid. Which means, double checking whether the bathroom tap is off 3 times in 15 minutes, lights have been switched off, as if a djinn within the Phillips tubes flickers it back on periodically etc etc. Get the drift? Anyway, so he is an active guy. Dad loves to exercise, and religiously does it, but that hadn’t changed his cute li’l Mallo Pottobello by an inch, in the last 15 years. But, yeah, to his credit, he has maintained it! His favorite joke is a jibe at my fave bhurji joint – “Kha Kha ke Anda banega tum ek din!!!” This joke has a cult following at my old workplace!
This post isn’t being written to tell you how thoroughly wasted I was on this given day, it is infact to capture a brilliant moment that I shared with my Dad that lazy afternoon. <Pre-lunch ofcourse… post lunch is still a blur!>
Dad got nostalgic. He suddenly stopped midway, reading through an WOnam speshyal debble digest mag that my Mom had picked for wonly fordy rubies, and started talking to me… “ Kutta, naattilthe Onamille, athinthe rasam onnu verya!!!”
< Author just realizes what a dork he has been and has installed an active blogpost auto translator called autotranslator.exe. Thanx to Y2Kmon for his suggestion >
…and started talking to me … “Dog, the Rasam in the Onams that we celebrated back in our village, it was of a different kind!”
< Author upgrades version of auto translator to autotranslatorupgradedversion.exe. Thanx to BashedUpY2Kmon for his suggestion >
…and started talking to me … “Son, the fun in the Onams that we celebrated back in our village, it was of a different kind!”
Dad then went on to say how the advent of Onam in Kerala would be with the arrival of smells! A week prior to Onam, fresh cut veggies would throng the Thrissur market. The scent, he says, gets pleasantly heady, as the corrianders and gingers fight it out with the limes and turboojes. A week of anxious, restless wait sets in, which though beautiful in itself, gets painfully long in bringing up the morning of the much awaited day. Sort of like an extended Friday morning feel.
The best part about my Dad’s Onam, was the gift that my Granddad used to buy him every Onam – a tennis ball! In those days, it cost Rs. 2, which was a fortune. Dad remembers how he used to ensure that the demand found it into Granpa’s ears a month before the D-day, and how the frequency of the reminders increased exponentially over time. Grandpa, would then get one of the workers to go enquire about it, after the constant pesterings. Then there used to be the forgetfulness of these guys who had all the Onam preps to take care off, let alone hunt for a ball. Follow-ups and reminders to the worker guy happened persistently.
The other kids, less fortunate ones would have know by then that Dad would be getting a tennis ball soon and would perform regular status checks. Then finally a few days before Onam, Grandpa will finally say that the ball has been purchased and handed over to Grandma. There was a madddd rush just to see it. Then Grandma will do the usual ‘mother’ thingie … “No no not now, wait till Onam” , “ You will lose the ball, if I give you now, and then you wont get another” etc etc. Tantrums and cries and hulla happened. < Whenever I try to visualize this … I always picturize a little boy in shorts, but with my Dad’s face as of now, complete with grey hair and moustache! Makes me go ballistic> Then Grandpa will do the “Bachcha hain … dikha do, kam se kam” bit and appeal for a truce.
And then just like that Onam arrives! And so did Mom … She hijacked the convo and started on with the whole gurlie thing during Onam, as to how the girls used to dress in bright, shiny clothes and used to get up real early to pluck flowers and create Rangolis made of flowers, and how they make pyramidal structures of mud & rock called Trikkarappan, and how they used to compete with the neighbours, as to who had the better Rangoli and all. And just as my Mom paused for a breath… which she does, once in a while, my Dad pounced back to his story! A mistake, that was later balanced off with extra Payasam slurps …
So then, post an early Onam feast, with the treasured tennis ball in his hand, Dad speeds on to the ground. He is ‘the dude’ that day, as all the children gather around him, and tennis ball exchanges hands! They look at it and baccha party expert comments are passed. The teams are quickly made, and in true Mallu style, soccer matches(not cricket) begin with that little green tennis ball. No one stops, till the searing afternoon sun is long gone.
As he wound up the narration, Dad looked very, very cheery, almost as if he was reliving those moments, as of then. As for me and my bro, our PS2 Soccer game that we been playing on since morning, suddenly seemed very stupid and boring!