Monday, September 16, 2013


           Nature will change entirely when the month of chingam begins. Paddy will be ready for harvest. The golden fields waving rhythmically to the morning breeze every where will be a treat to the eyes. 

     The violet krishnapoo will decorate the paddy. A merriness will be there in the air as the rainy karkkidakam with its illness, death and starvation  subsides. The golden sun will reflect on the multicolored water lilies . A group of  yellow migratory birds will emerge from nowhere and will quarrel with scores of country birds. The morning air will be very cool and lines of krishnapattu could be heard from homes.

          In the past, Onam in Payyanur was not a big event like vishu. It achieved its present status of a grant festival only recently. Onam is purely a commercial festival nowadays. Even though the myth behind the festival is a fond memory of a loving king of the people governing his subjects living in harmony in a socialistic world, the present day capitalists has turned it into a market festival in which every one exchanges old appliances (in good working condition) to new, good for nothing gadgets sure to be defective within months. The buying spree of people in payyanur town before onam is weird. The media rouses a psychological cue which prompts everyone to buy unnecessary things. The madness is such that by the time Onam is over the pockets of almost all will be empty.

 In fact puthari was more important in Payyanur than Onam which was a state festival. Puthari was an agrarian festival. The first day of the year in which rice from the first harvest of the year is cooked- Fresh rice with a fragrance- Some times the two festival will coincide. Then puthari will be celebrated with more enthusiasm. There will be an auspicious time prescribed by the temple astrologer for taking food on the day -some times early morning- but everything including fried banana chips and pariprathaman will be ready for the occasion . All men folk will help their women in preparing the feast. 

         After the feast everyone will indulge in all sort of country games. There will be inumerable swings hanging from branches of trees. Children will form merry groups indulging in country games. At those times no gadjets were necessary for play. madodukali - pieces of thatching tiles piled one above the other and hitting it with a ball- proved to be more interesting than any modern games. Elders played sedentary games like etteru with mussle shells. 

       TV,the new avatar for entertainment is yet to emerge.The only modern etertaintment was the cinema at Shobha theatre. Seeing a movie on a festival day itself is a day long affair as the queueu for the morning show will end up to matinee show. 
            We used to have an excursion to ezhimala on Onam. Just 8 kms away from Payyanur is the picturesque ettikkulam beach. There were no vehicles at that time and we walked the entire distance. The scenery and a sea bath were the rewards. But we will miss the Onam feast. Instead we will have to be contented with an odd meal consisting of old bread with thousands of ants and smoky tea in the old shop in ettikulam.