A Dive into Seasons: Multi colored Autumn

After the rain patters the fields , the drowsy sun awakes from his deep slumber. He peeps into the land through the creaks of cloud flocks.  Awaiting him, lies endless plain sky, fleece of clouds emptying  themselves, giving sun his chance to gleam on his land. Finding open endless sky, promiscuous sun romances the trees, roads and sky. The white sky was his favorite. She was dungeoned by the warriors from the Oceans (monsoon). Sun had lost the battles, but won the war, sending them back to the oceans. When they romance, they blind the world, by calling angels of sky , the seven maids of her. They let loose their robe ends and stand showing their bosom curves.  Drugged by the beauty of the angels, their romance always remains unseen, uncaught by any light. A sight of the mighty sun shall send away the angels to unknown lands. Humans call them rainbow. They came whenever sun won his battles and visited their mistress. Once the king returns winning the war, it will be their last breathe in the land. The last rainbow, the vestibule to autumn. No one, but the angel, knows whether the rainbow is the last one. The last rainbow welcomes the autumn to roam wild among the fields, trees and hillsides. Farewell fairies. Welcome autumn, The young princeling. The most romantic of all the seasons, son of the almighty Sun,  shall romance every being.  Flowers blossoms and fields brim with smiling crops ready to harvest. Dry, grassy open grounds turn back to cricket for a while.  Air of festivity clouds the streets.  Mahabali, mythological king who ruled over Kerala,  packs up  his luggage  to visit his land ,his people.

!!! Welcome to Autumn( ONAM )  Kerala !!!

Pookalam(floral carpet) in making
Photography : Arijit Dey
Wet soil would have dried down. Over the green trees and plants, deluge of colors would have blossomed. Princeling decorates the land in colors to welcome the great lord, Maveli as he is known in Kerala. The Potbellied bare chested king with typical south Indian pointed moustache smiling at everyone with his cult umbrella made of palm leaves. Three stumps appeared in middle of the ground and goalposts were plucked out. Over the ground, weeds and plants fought for air and space, remnants of the monsoon. A week of cricket would stamp them to extinction. Well  chetanmar( elder youth) came after that week allowing their fellow siblings to roll over the weeds to clear the pitch for their return. Chaps clad in different school uniforms crowded in the ground for the cricket part of their life before the tuition centers jail them. Autumn always had ottam( Malayalam word for running) in it. Draped in Kasavu saree, teachers ( malayalees usually refer lady teachers as teacher and male teachers as sir/mash) and senior girls fill into the onam festivity , while senior boys and sirs came in wearing the Kerala mundu. Pookalam, designs made by flower, sprouts out in front of every home. Onam also resonates with the inherent communism in malayalees as no god is worshipped on Onam. Rather a Devil King, who fought against the jealous and greedy gods.

As autumns passed by, over my chin beards sprouted and myself grew up into senior secondary. Being a House captain, I was in charge of the Onam competitions in school. Vanchipattu, song of boatmen of kerala, reverberated across halls. Let it be riding through the empty roads of city early dawn to buy flowers for Onam or the pride in wearing mundu to school or the mouthwatering palada payasam of my mom. Multitudes of memories run through my mind. Chaotic city marred by honking and noises of street vendors, flower vendors , automobiles and whatever could spill a scream.  Onam day will have my ancestral home teeming with all uncles, cousins and aunts. The Sadhya( Traditional Kerala Feast) is another integral ingredient of the Onam celebration. Along with my cousins, we sat on the floor in perfect lines facing each other. First came the neatly cleaned banana leaves, which we ourselves cut from our backyard. Food served in banana leaves has a taste of its own. Then came uncles and aunts with Olan(white  curd curry), Pulissery(Yellow Curd Curry),  Avial(not the music band, but a mixed veg curry, sour in taste) , Sambar, Pappad( in Malayalam its pappadam) and don’t think list ends here. And the final delicacy, Payasam. Palada Payasam(a kind of porridge with bread crumbs) was my favorite of all. My taste buds have never longed for anything more than palada payasam.Sweet and thick porridge oozing through my taste buds, even drooping into my lips. The greedy tongue shall wipe my lips drawing in every single drop.

Autumns passed charioting  Onam  every year. Through the sunny beaches, lush croplands, hilly forests and crowded city streets, the chariot swept sprinkling fragrance of festivity, simplicity and happiness.  As delicacies that oozed through my tongue. As  the winsome smiles of ladies clad in traditional attire making pookalam. Like a million elements of the festivity, Onam breathed into the life of everyone. A million moments, like the petals of flowers in pookalam. Of different colors. Of  Different shapes. But delivering a smile on every glance on it. A million petals, a million moments. After the celebration, the ladies broom away them. The wonderful creation of our patience, creativity and imagination finds its way to dumping yard, behind our childrens playground. Well keats was right ‘ a thing of beauty is joy forever’. Hardly thirty minutes it stayed as a wonder on flowers. But the joy still pounds in my heart. . The laughter, the smiles and the entire atmosphere well incubated in my memory. Sometimes when my closed eyes diffuse into the silence around, my mind replays those sequences that makes me think again and again, that if gods ever existed, they must have settled somewhere there. That’s why  God’s Own country is so incomplete ,  Gods Own This Country fits the best.


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