Monday, September 21, 2009

A missed Onam

I always look forward to Onam, Kerala's state festival, which this year, was on September 2. It is a fascinating celebration, steeped in tradition, to welcome the mythical king Mahabali (Maveli) of Kerala. It is believed that during Mahabali's reign the people lived in prosperity and happiness and there were no malpractices.

The Onam celebrations consist of many cultural events, mock processions of the former King's triumphant annual visit to his former kingdom, singing and games and dances, feasting and drinking and boat races, rain and sunshine, flowers and pookkalams (floral designs). Our family had a special reason to remember this Onam. Ammachi's birth centenary was on August 28, during the Onam week. (See: Oru Desathinte Amma.)




But I missed it all. On the night of 28th August I developed a severe breathing problem at Chennai. The doctors discovered that I had three major blocks and advised a bypass operation. The procedure was done within a couple days. While I was in the hospital, the functions, particularly relating to Ammachi's birth centenary, were conducted quietly. The motif for the pookkalam designed by the staff at Olavipe Homestay, was the birth centenary itself.


Right in front is the banner '100', partly covering the traditional Kerala lamp with two lighted wicks. The background, to me, appears to be the figure of a kathakali artiste. A good job, I must say.

Since I have to keep both my feet up every half hour, continuous work on desktop is impractical. Therefore I am selecting some relevant Kerala photographs and giving short comments. I hope you like it.



Here is the photo of a model of Kerala's famous snake boat. The state has different type of race boats, but the Snakeboat or 'chundan' is the king of them all. It is fascinating to watch them knife through water. It is said that a winning team has to pull the oar more than 60 times a minute.


There is no proof to back it up if I say that there are more songs about dragon flies in Malayalam than in any other language. These flying beauties which are called 'onathumpi' is part and parcel of Onam. They come out in hoards during the seasom and provide inspiration to poets to turn out great melodies based on them.


This is a conceptual image of a Kerala Houseboat. Backwater tourism which has helped in turning around Kerala economy is remarkable story of finding new use for something fast turning obsolete. The huge country crafts that form the backbone of houseboat industry were originally meant to transport farm products and other goods.

Trucks and mechanized boats took the wind out of the sails of the countrycrafts. Then some visionary gave new life to the rotting boats and the world came to know about the enchanting backwaters of Kerala.


The world famous Kerala bananna chips are made from Nenthrakkaya shown above. The yellow chips in the photo below are thin and salty. The brown ones known as Sharkarapuratti are thicker and sweet. They are coated with a paste of jaggary and spices before frying.


A request:
Please pray that I get well soon.

All photos copyright reserved. Click to enlarge.
Photos by Capt. Philip Manipadam, Reejo, AT.

22 comments:

RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

Happy to see you here again. Get well soon. Our prayers are with you.

Kamini said...

My prayers and best wishes for a speedy recovery from the surgery.
I loved the photographs - I spent my childhood summers in Kerala, and they brought back many wonderful memories.

islandgal246 said...

I missed your postings and am happy to see this post. My thoughts and wishes that you make a speedy recovery. Take care.

George Kadamapuzha said...

Long time since I heard from you. Hope you'll come through this healthy and strong. Besh wishes.

Nebu said...

Welcome back Achen :)Our prayers are always with you.

Jothish Ben said...

Wish you a speedy recovery. May God bless you.

Murali RamaVarma said...

We all were indeed missing you for the last fornight. Extremely happy that you are back with memories of Onam. We pray Almighty to make you well soon to get back to all exciting work you always want to do.

Rauha (Peace) said...

Dear Abe, I was shocked to read about your experience. I was so wrapped up with Joanna's problems and little Maria in the ICU in Madras, and her flight back to Newcastle accompanied by a special doctor and ICU unit, the trauma of the two boys having to fly back without Joanna, etc. that I forgot all other things. Hope you have recovered and back at blogging. You always remain in my prayers. I recently pointed to Uberoi (formerly Air India) to your blog as he wanted to start one. Stay well. Will see you in November. I am so looking forward to our reunion.Sushil

Kariyachan said...

Dear AT Sir;
Nice to hear that you are recovering. Get well soon. Our sincere prayers are with you.

rocksea said...

Dear Abraham, wish you all health and happiness. Hope you recover soon!

Gardenia said...

Happy to see you back with a lovely post on Kerala. Praying for your recovery. Beautiful pictures, especially the pookolam!

sunny said...

I was missing your postings.


Prayers and Best Wishes .

Binoj (somettan) said...

Dear Uncle,

So nice to hear that you were fortunate and got the right treatment at the right time.

Were you in Madras by luck or were you taken there for the surgery?

Pray to God that you recover fast, blog more and have many many many more Onams to celebrate and to compensate for the single one that you missed...

I too 'missed Onam' as my kids and wife were down with viral fever. But then, on reading your blog, I now feel it is an eye opener for me that it is my fault that I don't make every day, every moment an Onam for my family and friends...

Prayers,
Binoj

Anand Antony said...

Dear Abraham,
Wish you a speedy recovery. I too missed your posts. Take it easy and take care.

Ashvin said...

Dear Mr.,Tharakan, thanks for the email, I had called several times (in fact even last month)but couldnt get through both landlines and mobile numbers, eventually I spoke to Mrs.Tharakan. She herself sounded unwell, hope both of you are getting better. Shall try and speak to you soon.

agp said...

OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU.

Anyochi said...

Dear Pappachan Velliappan
We remember you in our prayers. Get well soon.
wILL include a brief note in the next issue of The Parayil Family Newsletter about your illness.
Love and regards
Anya and Roshina
Editors, PQRS

Free greetings said...

Happy Onam to you and your friends

Cheers
Prasad

Happy Kitten said...

Welcome back and it is great to read your posts again...

May the Almighty continue to shower upon you His choicest blessings..

Abraham Tharakan said...

RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN, Kamini, islandgal246, George Kadamapuzha, Nebu, Jothish Ben, Murali RamaVarma, sunny, Rauha(Peace),Kariyachan, rocksea, Gardenia, Binoj (somettan), Happy Kitten,

My sincere thanks to all of you for your prayers, good wishes and moral support.

Yesterday, that is one month after the operation there was a review by the cardiologist. By God's grace the progress seems to be satisfactory.

So, back to serious blogging!

Abraham Tharakan said...

Thank you, Anand Antony.

Krishna Vattam said...

hope you have completely recovered krishna vattam