Onam didn’t mean anything to me until a few years back, when I relocated to Cochin in Kerala. The first job I did in Cochin was a flyer for Cochin Duty Free Onam (Booze) Promotions (For Cochin International Airport Limited]. And a Voice Over Recording for the Public Addressal System for the same promo event at the Airport.
I wrote about the times of prosperity during the reign of King Mahabali (an asura king) and how he was banished from his Kingdom by the jealous Gods in the disguise of Vamana (a dwarf) and that he was allowed to visit his Kingdom every year (during Onam)…the usual stuff, but of course with the RGB punch.
I’ve been working with the company I work for currently for dog years (what seems like eternity!). And every Onam we have celebrations at Office. We come to office dressed in traditional attire - Women in Kerala saree and Men in Mundu, there are some spoilsports of course, who come in regular wear. However, that's the blue-moon day I choose to wear a saree, as I'm otherwise literally born-and-brought-up-in-jeans (borrowed that phrase from The Holy Lama - Patented).
Morning hours are dedicated to work. Lunch time and we have the Onasadhya (Onam Feast with a variety of dishes served on a plantain leaf, and payasam for dessert). Again the boys do the serving (a privilege we've bestowed upon them) and the girls giggle with glee and gobble away to glory!
I had to return to my desk because a client was online for a job brief. By four-ish, entertainment and games began. Tradition has it that newcomers have to introduce themselves and the others can take a potshot at them, to get to know them better (read 'bully them'). Endless rounds later (new-comers outnumbered old-timers such as myself!) with new talents discovered, we formed four groups and started playing dumb-charades (with malayalam movie titles) and I stay dumb most often because I wouldn't know most Malayalam Movie titles, except for playing cheer-leader and taking wild guesses. As the game hots-up with dumb-struck and dumb-found performances by the actors and the guess-ers, we fight against rules, set our own rules, yell and generally make merry (saving ourselves from what would almost land in fist-fights!). By the end of the game, Team No.3 (my team) had more members and more points than the other teams (hee, hee!). The next game was about to begin, but I had to wrap-up as I had to visit my in-laws who weren't keeping too well. Bid adieus, picked up the saree and jumped into the car.
Chock-o-block traffic. Driving bumper-to-bumper, it took me a good 1.5 hours to traverse a distance of 15 kilometres. A severe headache and backache followed. I was ready to drop-dead! M-i-L gave me some tea and balm (visitor turns patient!). Hubby gave me a good massage. All said and done, it was time to wrap up the day.
Onam thus celebrated. 6 yards off, denim back on...until next year maybe.