Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Too Celebrated Onam

 IT BEGAN with Uthrada Pachil, literally, in my 10-year-old car along the thoroughfares of Coimbatore on Thursday, with utmost care, finding space between whizzing-past two-wheelers.

I appreciated my driving skills as I successfully reached a shopping centre without losing limb or adding more scratches to my vehicle.
Thanks to market economy, everything was easily available there provided you have the right combination of purchasing power -- from plantain leaf (Rs. 5 a piece. The seller said it was special Onam rate) to palada (branded and non branded).
At the Flower Market I stood exposed.
I found that I was a poor haggler. The defiant vendors there had a wonderful time as I bought flowers for Rs. 180 (four varieties totalling 1.5 kg), after trying in vain to negotiate price with them.
Banana was scarcely available. At Rs. 40 a kg (a kg will be about 4 pieces, if one is lucky enough and the balance is propery manipulated!), nenthran seemed to be the king of fruits for the occassion.
Even the hardcore miser in me couldn't prevent another 'Gandhi' from escaping my purse, as I toured the vegetable market on Mettupalayam Road.
Fortunately, Maveli (king Mahabali) was not available for sale -- neither clay models nor plastic. So I could save  Rs. 100 or so on that count.
Since I have an inherent distaste for textile shops, I couped a major savings on that count too. No 'onapudava' this time.
I patted myself on my journo back, for assuming a moral high ground (when there is lot of sufferings around you, don't splurge), and got a sprain arm.
The 'pachil' (rush) that began around 10 a.m. concluded at about 2 p.m. and it was time for office.
With a stone face I sat in front of a computer at office, so none dared to come near me asking for an Onam treat.
Ha!! the clever me succeeded again. None came anywhere near me even to offer a greetings!!
I felt qualified enough to write a book on "How to save money and celebrate Onam."
After a hectic night at office I reach home midnight (I was proud that it was I who first sighted Onam before anyone else in my house -- again a me-first!) only to hit bed hoping for a colourful and eventful 'ponnona pulari.'
The 'pulari' (morning) was born when I woke up, at about 9 a.m. (being a holiday for schools, no one bothered -- or dared? -- to wake me up early).
Kids were merry-making with my Rs.-180 flowers. When will they learn austerity?
Within minutes a 'pookalam' (floral carpet) was ready with great colour combination and skill played by my daughter.
I told her to wash her hands of strains of fertilizers from the flowers.
"For a change, can't you admire the beauty of flowers?" she retorted. Alas! I have lost the ability. Whenever I see flowers or vegetables I can only think of endosulfan, which reports say is easily available in Tamil Nadu and used extensively. What a negative attitude!!
The smell of a 'sadya' (feast) is emanating from the kitchen.
How can I resist it?
I tried to bribe (apologies Annaji) wife into granting me a special privilege of tasting the 'payasam' before lunch time.
She gave me a ferocious look that will put to shame even master performers of 'pulikali' (dance of leopards), for entering the kitchen without taking a bath.
Since compromise is a better tool to curry favour, especially with a wife, I limped to bathroom to immerse myself in salt water (thats what we get here mostly).
Deft hands of my wife have turned the vegetables bought the day before, to mouth-watering dishes. For a while I tried to forget the LPG loss for a single day.
I sat in front of my yellow-shaded plantain leaf and gobbled whatever is served on it as if there's no tomorrow.
And to bed for a heartful of sleep.
By 4 p.m. I force open my eyelids and jump out of bed to get ready to office.
No, don't shrink your eyebrows. It's not a holiday. Couldn't manage a leave too (poor negotiation skills to be blamed!).
I was greeted at office with the most expected banter: "Where is the treat?"
I have already rehearsed my answer: "Onam is a national festival."
So go ahead and treat yourself.
The best part of Onam is that you don't have to cook again the next day. There's some more left in the fridge. I feel happy. Vegetables, gas, water to wash dishes, all saved.


Lenin said...

You are lucky!! Banana sold at Rs. 48 per Kg in Kerala

M said...

Celebrate Onam a week later, and you will find everything cheaper.