A Quest on Overdrive … :)

An eccentric rambler on life's lessons and mercies, found and lost… :)


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Thiruvonam

Happy Onam, dear readers 🙂 We had a wonderful day today, at my parents’ place 🙂 A few pictures of the pookalam, the flower carpet are shared here, for your pleasure 🙂

A collage of mom’s pookkalams this Onam season… 🙂

The one on Onam day, 23 August, 2010


I did do some of the work, the foundation of which was laid by Shanta and her son Manikandan

Ahem! Finishing touches… 🙂

The Thampuraans and Thampuraattys… that is what we call the royal personages of the erstwhile land 🙂 At our family temple atop a little hill! Only two of the lot are true blue mallus!

*Click on the pics. to enlarge 🙂

1710 hrs. 23 August, 2010

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Season of mellow joy :) അത്തം പത്ത് ഓണം

Saturday, 14 August is അത്തം … Aththam Nakshathram, the day that begins the joyous celebration of Onam… As we say, in Malayalam,  അത്തം പത്ത് ഓണം (ten days after the day of Atham, is Onam 🙂 ) The Aththappokkalam (flower carpet – പൂക്കളം) is put in the front courtyard of houses from this day onwards. In some places, it begins way before, on the Thiruvonam Nakshatram (തിരുവോണം) in the month of Karkkitakam, the Ramayana Maasam! Onam, itself, falls on 23 August, this year! Traditionally, the Atham nakshatram, that comes before Onam, is usually in the month of Chingam (ചിങ്ങം), but this year, due to the Thiruvonam nakshatram being in the beginning of the month, the Atham nakshatram comes in the month of Karkkitakam 🙂 More on why Atham is special to me, a post later. Very very very special, this year 🙂 🙂 !

This year, as with the other years, brings the self same joy, and a little more, as I hope the elder offspring will be able to make it for the festivities. Schools close here, during the Onam season, for about 10 days, so the days are going to be filled with much activity and fun, at home!

And so, the header changes. With the mood 🙂 It’s a combination of rural festivities, of temple festivals, my favourite temple, an age old stone lamp, and a pookkalam we laid out last year 🙂

May the season’s best be with each of you during this wonderful time. God Bless!

11 August, 2010

P S. The post earlier published with more on Onam, was in December, I think 🙂 Here 🙂


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At long last… of Onam, and an ending, to make a new beginning :)

Alert : Long flash back post! Lol! It started a  couple of weeks after Onam, and has been inspired entirely by Solilo and Deeps 🙂 They had both endearingly asked me to share the Onam moments; and I am so very sorry, Sol, and Deeps, that I have been so darned delayed in getting this to you 🙂 Therefore the relevance of this post stands outdated, yet it is one, like the Thrissur Pooram one, that I did so very much want to share:)


Also, this is to somehow make me want to get rid of my aches and pains, and my mental block, writer’s block et al, to energize me into getting back to blogging. I have been re-shaping this particular draft over the past three days, as and when time permits, in between corrections, spending time with the sons, and the parents, and renovation work at home 🙂 I guess I am a genius ( a self proclaimed one, please note) to have managed to get this far 🙂


Furthermore, this is to ensure that I tie up loose ends before the year ends, and that I will not carry excess baggage of “to do’s” into 2010!! (Huh?? Do I really believe that, I wonder!!! Rofl. Anyways, it feels good to have written that, and who knows, I may just con myself into believing it!!!! 😛 )

May the new year bring much happiness, love, laughter and luck into all our lives 🙂 May only good things happen most, and may the not so good ones help us discover more strength within 🙂 May we all be blessed to seek and acknowledge the good we see around, and speak out against injustice, and cruelty, most for those who cannot, themselves….


May we all just sail in tandem, with love, and enjoy each day for all its gifts…. 🙂


Amen!

A Happy Happy New Year to each a every lovely one of you out there 🙂

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This is for you, Solilo and Deeps (and of course, all of you who might find the patience to wade through the words 🙂 🙂 )

Years ago, as a wee girl ( sorry, make that aeons ago :D) my brothers and I would, every evening, at the twilight time, sandhya neram, as they say in Malayalam, sit down together with my mother, and recite little slokas, in praise of the different deities, and sing cantos from the Narayaneeyam, that my mother and aunt had painstakingly, and easily taught us. It was a lovely time, and we would vy with each other to recite best, and would be promised sweets for rendition without faltering. There was no forcing or indoctrination… just a feeling.. a good feeling of sitting down together, and praying together. At the end of the recitation of the slokas, we would recite the names of the “nakshatras”, the stars, that each day had, and the names of the months by the Malayalam calendar. So we’d go… “Ashwathi, Bharani, Karthika, Rohini, Makeeram…. to Poororattadhi, Uttrattadi, Ravathi… Naalu Iruvathyeezhu” – in other words, the names of the stars, followed by the phrase, there are 27 stars. And so also for the months in the calendar… Medam, Edavam, Mithunam, Karkkidakom, Chingam, Kanni, Thulam, Vrischikam, Dhanu, Makaram, Kumbham, Meenam… Raashi panthrandu- Translated, to mean… the names, twelve of them, being the 12 Rashis, of the year.

I narrate this incident only to tell you how very deeply ingrained certain things stay in our memories, because after the teenage years, I have not been regular, with the evening prayers, except for when my children were very little… 🙂 Once they too became teenagers, it had to be reminded to them, and even then sometimes we did not make time for it. However, they too, went through the routine of learning the nakshatra names, and the rashee names 🙂 🙂 That much happened, and they can recite it today too… though they perhaps have not recited it for more than six to seven years.. 🙂 I recall this more so now, whenever Onam comes around…

How I know that it is Onam, when the Thiruvonam day would come, and how we prepare for it, ten days in advance, on the day of Atham, and I also know how my children remember too! We still celebrate the English Birthdays, the day on which the date of birth falls, and the Perannal.. or the Malayalam Birthday, that comes, according to the stars that we were born under. So my Kunju, the FB, is Uthradam, Kunjunni, the SB is Revathi… and so on. Daddy’s is on Atham, THE Atham, that comes before Onam 🙂 This year it was truly special, for each year, only the kids and I get to spend it with them, my parents, but this year, my younger brother and his wife were also there, and it was lovely 🙂 🙂

And so started the countdown to Onam.

(Contd, after an aeon 🙂 ) Onam this year was hectic, because my mom wanted it at their home, and she was still recuperating from her knee surgery, to repair a torn ligament, and that had incapacitated her (read, made her walk more slowly, that is all! else she runs 🙂 ). She did the whole scene, food wise- the naaranga pickle (the vadukappuli variety), mulakaapachchadi (like the pulienji), kaalan, olan, elissery, not to mention the paayasam, and the chips, both the classic salted variety, and the sharakkara upperi (sweet, jaggery coated banana chunks 🙂 )

On the day before Thiruvonam, that is Onam day proper, is Uthraadam, or Onnu Onam (first Onam); this time we did a naadan, that is country style, dehati style pookkalam, the flower carpet with flowers from our very own garden… all those flowers that my mother takes regularly as offering to the temples she visits, and those she makes garlands out of, for her beloved deities. These were flowers like the Nandiarvattom and the Pazhivamalli, (the white flowers, that resemble the jasmine, and the Pavizhamalli has a lovely shade of orange in the middle),  the Kolambi flower ( kolambi means, pitcher like… pot like… 🙂 and this one is the bright yellow flower), the Shankhupushpam (the gorgeous blue flower), green leaves, and the omnipresent hibiscus and thulasi 🙂 I have included a few pictures of the flowers and the making of the pookkalam on Uthraadam day 🙂 First of all, the ground is sanctified with gobar, made out into a circular shape, with raised mound in the centre. It is here that the final flower, the hibiscus will be placed. We always start with a thulasi leaf, for benediction and benevolence and luck!! 🙂 The hands you can see in the picture are :our domestic help’s, her name is Shanta, and mine 🙂 And it is a series of concentric circles of contrasting shades derived from the petals of the flowers we gather 🙂

Here they are , the flowers, and the Pookkalam (the flower carpet 🙂 )

Shankhupushpam – the conch-flower (a literal translation that 🙂 )- a gorgeous shade of blue… for the pookkalam
The bright yellow “Kolambi” flower
The Pavizhamalli – a small white flower that resembles the jasmine 🙂

Alari poovu, another favourite home grown flower

The making of the pookkalam
This year’s naadan pookkalam … with home grown flowers only 🙂

On Onam day, it was the Thrikkakkarappan, or the symbolic representation of Lord Mahabali (made of clay, at home, the previous days ), that took the centrestage. Offerings  of “ada” (steamed coconut-jaggery-rice cakes in banana leaf) and bananas were made, and an umbrella adorned his place of honour 🙂 You can see the SB making the offering, in the puja. It rained and rained that day, but we were lucky to have been able to have the mud statues stay firm till the end 🙂

Making the offering of “ada” and bananas to Lord Mahabali, the Thrikkakkarappan 🙂
Thrikkakkarappan… an offering to Lord Mahabali, fruit and “ada”… 🙂

Of course, the sadhya followed, with much eating and fun! At the end of it all, mom all but collapsed, though happy that even this year her Onam was truly celebrated 🙂

The feast 🙂

The feast… taken from the SB’s mobile

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So that is the past unfinished business, neatly handled and done away with. I know it is really shoddy work, the writing, and the post itself, but I had resolved to tie up all my incomplete work, before the clock strikes 12 midnight on 31 Jan, 2009. Hopefully this will see the light of day by then!!!

Finally! Am now going to hit the publish button, before I get jittery about proof reading, layout, and all that stuff. If you got till here, I am your fan 🙂 Just let me know 🙂 🙂 I shall surely announce it to the world!

Thank you, each of you, for being here, and for your warmest support!

30 December, 2009