Sunday, August 22, 2010

Uthraada Paachil

I was thinking of writing something up for non-malayalees about our special festival 'Onam'. The fervour and pomp with which malayalees look forward to it and celebrate it, makes the others wonder about it.

Though I might not be the right person to tell anything as 'facts' about Onam, I would be pleased to share some of the information which I believe to be facts (might not what they actually are).

This is about the famed 'Uthraada Paachil'. Uthradam is a star, like many others which constitute the stars of Malayalam calendar. It falls on the ninth day of the 10 day Onam celebrations beginning from the day of Atham star,which itself is quite popular for the Tripunithura Athachamayam procession. The 9th day is also the Second off the three last and important days of the Onam festival. This is the day the malayalees prepare for the mega feast and the 'kalaashakottu'(grand finale) on the last and tenth day of the festival called the Thiruvonam (star also same name).

Traditionally, that is the day the people go out and purchase groceries and vegetable to prepare for the feast as well as buy gifts and new dresses for themselves. Thousands of big and small shops and vendors throng the towns and cities, with lots of attractive offers and prizes being given away for the festive season. A massive crowd also wanders through this mad sea of traders and equips themselves with the best and most colourful dresses and accessories.

For the last one decade, with respect to the city of Kochi, which has grown exponentially in that period, this crowd has always rendered the city immobile and unfit for any kind of automobile travel. Walking used to be the best bet, for anyone with some sense in their heads. Shops and roads in the main parts of the city (MG Road, SA Road, NH, etc etc) used to swell up with people moving in and out, crowding places giving great offers and skimming through other shops. Off the 10 days, this day is one when all emergency services are kept on full alert and police deployed to maximum capacity, to handle any untoward incidents. Usually most of the police force is deployed to manage the crowd and assist the traffic.

This time the crowd and traffic was heavier on Saturday (Puradam) than Sunday (Uthradam). It was raining as well yesterday, whereas today the climate was fit for shopping and general roaming around. Kochi being a heterogenous to-be-metro city, appeals to almost all kinds of travel bug bitten (/not bitten) people of the world. I was surprised to find the roads almost vacant and crowds not larger than normal today. I guess the Uthrada paachil just became a Purada paachil. I believe it is due to the 'IT' effect or the 'Gulf' effect, with most of employed malayalees having to leave for work on Monday itself. It might have caused the Onam celebrations to end in many homes before the traditional Thiruvonam day.

I saw many families having big feasts today and aged parents and/or kids waving goodbye to their young sons/parents who have to return to work, due to lack of leaves. Compared to yesteryears, a considerably higher amount of Kochiites or Malayalees as a whole are into the IT sector.Afterall it is a known fact that, you can find a Nair's tea shop even on the moon. Due to this kind of work culture, it is quite natural to see this kind of shift in traditional practices.

The above observations and explanations are a result of my own thoughts and ideas. Anyone having supporting/opposing ideas/thoughts please add to the comments. Any kind of passing comments also accepted, as long as it is fit to be displayed on the site.

Happy Onam to all malayalees, and happy onam to non-malayalees also.

Malayaligale malayaligal aakiya non-Malayaleesee... Ningal illathe njangalku enthu aaghosham? (To the non-Malayalees who made us malayalis malayalis...Without you guys, what kind of celebration can we have?)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

From home

I wanted to write something here. Specific? yes specific? But no, now I don't feel like summarizing when it is still alive. The feeling of being in Kerala, being at home, being able to zap through the pot-holed and densely crowded roads of the Queen of the Arabian, Kochi.

So leaving out the details , its all about beauty, music, rhythm, affection, memories, peace and clairvoyance.

Try forming the link of events in your own lives which give you these feelings, and you might be close to what I am feeling right now.

For those friends and unknowns reading this.. may all good things come to you. But remember that you get only what you give and you get all that you give. The sheet is always balanced.

Adios. happy onam to all malayalee readers.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Imagination and Artists

This is a wonderful line I came upon a few minutes back as I was reading the Author's Note of the Man Booker Prize winner 'Life of Pi' by Yann Martel.

"If we,citizens,do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams"

I am literally hanging onto to the meaning of each word of this sentence, dreaming about the implications of this statement.

Please let me know if you avid readers of many literary works have such mind blowing ideas conveyed through words.

Independence Day Resolutions

Normally, we people take resolutions only for the New Year. But, I for once, feel like taking one/some for our Independence Day.(Frankly, to me the independence day matters more than a new year)

My resolution,which I would like to outline in a simple manner is as follows:

1) From today onwards, I shall take more care to ensure that the rights of my fellow human beings( of any nationality/caste/gender/region/religion/profession.. ) are known to them, and they feel more confident to exercise the same.

2) I shall spread more awareness among my peers on what are their constitutionally and legally provided rights and what are the socially and morally expected duties required of them,to rightfully claim the rights.

3) I shall press on more strongly and tactfully for my own rights and needs.

4) Last, but not the least, I shall keep aside a substantial amount of my time and thought to perform my expected duties to the society, the dear and near ones and mankind as a whole, and not to forget.. myself.

Shortly, what I am trying to achieve with these resolutions and steps is a scenario where each benefit of mine in this free country is well earned( at least to my conscience ) and compensated by the goodwill I can pump into the people and the society. This is more about moral freedom than moral correctness and strict regimen of rights and duties. "Good begets good", is the only motto I can stick to for this idea in my head.

A very noble thought, but not commendable unless I have some live results. Until those results are very tangible, all these words are worthless like a crumbling dry leaf. And likewise, until I have real results to talk about, these mean nothing more than words written on the flowing water of a waterfall.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Twitter Addiction

Among many other things, the new found (from mar/apr 2010) Twitter addiction is one thing I have been trying to break.

I found this site called TweetStats which gives a lot of interesting data and patterns of tweets. I was alarmed at the increasing tweet numbers of my initial days. But as those were initial days, I didn't care much, but cared about what to tweet and what not to.

View the current graph for my account, which shows that, my activity had dropped continuously till June 2010, but picked up again in July, for reasons yet to be found.

Hopefully, due to this month's hectic schedule and unavailability of resources, my twitter addiction will break and I would return to being a normal citizen( rather than a netizen ).

Anyway I like the new zoom feature in tweetstats. addiction to tweetstats better not be imminent.. :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Freedom On Independence Day

In my childhood I used to be very excited for each Republic Day and Independence Day. Days to feel proud, tell big things, watch war movies, sing patriotic songs, carry flags etc etc.

Even through my high school, this feeling lingered, though in a lesser intense manner. By the end of school life, these days were a celebration of the sacrifices of the martyrs and of our basic freedom.By start of college life, freedom was not a matter of just these few days, but almost every day. Freedom from the exams, tension of jobs, rules, parents, people and countless other things. The last 2 semesters were focused on enjoying the freedom to the max and saving the memories, before jumping into professional life.

Talking of which, the professional life, which I had dreamt would open up many more gates and offer more freedom, was just what I had not wished for. Spending hours and minutes inside this 3X4 cell facing the dumbo machine and typing away, is not what the kid had dreamt about doing when he talked about 'freedom'. Even considering my geeky nature, this kind of routine strongly deserves to be branded as 'Correctional', especially considering the correctional effects it has been producing.

So, here I am , nearing yet another Independence Day of the country, where small children do slave labour without going to schools, the better off slog with books and academics without getting to enjoy their childhood, the even elderly ones sweat their asses off worrying about career prospects, and the rest of us glorified IT industry professionals suffocate ourselves inside our AC cooled cabins, some with dreams about LIFE still alive and many who forgot what it means to LIVE.