While I was in Delhi (eh, yeah), Onam was a word that rendered all the devout-Mallus feverishly excited (my parents included). I didn’t get the Onam fever even when I was in Kerala for four years, where I earned (yes!) my engineering degree. Out of a class of 44, I was one of the 4 or 5 who decided not to wear the white mundu. But I was the only one who would have liked to read some yellow-paged dog eared book tucked in the cosy bed at my hostel rooms. The other non-mundu wearing fellas fled instead for the feast.
Meanwhile, the intermittent trips to Dilli were turning into a check-if-Mallu-now loop. The first day at home, a starched mundu lay on the bed alongwith the other clothes I was supposed to change into. Only on the first day. I never put it on, so my parents usually got the message and it stopped finding itself starched and whiling its time away on the bed.
Today, I would do anything to get my hands on that Onam sadya, to feel the crunch of that papadam, the tangy taste of the inji pulli as it arouses a tongue smack, the countless curries that await your taste buds. By this time, the tongue is a victim of the the countless tastes that it cannot describe. Then begins the main course – featuring a mixture of matta rice, sambar and crushed papadams. This is the time all the talking around the table stops and people just focus on what’s served on the leaf.Gorging on lip-smacking food is a high in itself. And then there is always the onam payasam and the sharkara varettithu , saved for afterwards.
While the above lines were happening to me, I was chewing on a chicken puff, with a headache as the aftermath of working a 12×3 weekend, and all I could feel was the taste of avial waltzing around my taste buds
Days on, I still can’t get over the Onam pangs. So I decide to put it down this way.
A better next Onam to me.
P.S: This wasn’t how I had imagined the great Onam weekend of Bengaluru to be!
On the weekend coming up to Onam, I wasted an hour before the gate-opening time and an hour after it, almost kneeling (in half-devotion and the other half because of the lactic acid awakening my lazy muscles) at the gates of the grounds where Avial was supposed to perform. This ground happened to be a little clearing just behind a cancer hospital, the irony of it all! Or may be not, may be the Catholic priests who run the institution believed in the ‘healing powers of good rock music’. Either way, we were gonna make the best of the concert.
Avial made it to the stage after the St. Johns College’s band, The Gig Bang Theory, failed to come close to banging anything, except our hopes of a good show. Five minutes of running sound checks and what not, the first evening-saving act stood there- in a green mundu, with a clean shaven head and “Nada Nada Nada”.
That song made me believe in universal brotherhood; I was surrounded by strong North Indian accents mouthing the absolutely correct Mallu lyrics. An entire album rolled by within a span of forty five minutes. Since then, this song of theirs has been on repeat, sometimes alone and sometimes with the rest of their album, for hours together without my ears complaining. Do check out their rest of the album, here if you havn’t.