The malayalees of the city celebrated Onam festival with traditional vigor and fervor. Meet the Krishnan family who celebrated this festival with rangoli and traditional food. Kaanam vittum Onam unaam which, when translated, literally means, “I will devour, even if I have to sell all the property I have.” For the entire Malayalee community in the city, Onam was the day to feast and make merry. On the auspicious day of this festival, families woke up at the crack up of dawn to begin the auspicious day with a floral tribute. One such family was the Krishnan family at Sri Nidhi society in Vashi. The moment we entered their home, a huge traditional floral rangoli lit with diyas greeted us. Onam is usually a ten-day festival, which is celebrated in villages. But in cities it is a two-day affair. Sujathan Krishnan says that the festival is celebrated with great gusto with the folk songs and dance. Onam celebrates the arrival of a portly demon-king, Mahabali. According to folklore, Mahabali, the Asura king who ruled the state, was so fair and just that even the gods became insecure. To teach him a lesson, he was pushed into the netherworld by Vamana, the fifth avatar of Vishnu, but was allowed to come and meet his citizens and enjoy the splendour of the state on Onam. And its not just the floral rangolis but Onam is well known for the traditional delicacies that are made on this day. The vegetarian dishes, offered on the plantain leaf, flow seamlessly with traditional favourites such as avail – a semidry mixed vegetable dish, sambhar, kaalan – yam and plantains in a buttermilk preparation, olan – pumpkin in coconut milk, pulisseri – buttermilk curry and inchi pulli – tamarind pickle. The Krishnans celebrate the festival in the traditional style all the way. Family and friends gather together, sitting on the floor with banana leaf spread out in front of them. The delicious food is then served in portions on the banana leaf. “Unity in diversity” is what India is known to everyone. Here people of different religion and community celebrate their festivals in traditional style and Onam is one such festival celebrated on a large scale in the city. With cameraperson Raju Sharma, Vruhslai Chitre for NMTV news.
September 20, 2009