10
Oct

Times of India: Onam Ashamsakal!

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Dear Friends,

a few days back Sabin Iqbal very kindly invited me to write for a Times of India supplement on Onam. I got a chance to assert my Malayali connection and make a prayer that like Mahabali returns to Kerala, Shaheen comes out of his cage. He did! The supplement appeared on August 27.

Here is the piece:

About a quarter century ago, I first saw Onam celebrations at the University of Hyderabad. The whole Malayali community on campus, irrespective of religion, had put up a show. A friend told me the Mahabali story. I was impressed. Then there was sadya -a joint meal to which all of us were invited.

Then I did not know that one day I would become an honorary Malayali through marriage. I would enjoy not only my Onam sadyas but the warmth and love my wife, her parents and through them Kerala has showered over me through the years.

Just before the lockdown a kitten adopted us and enslaved us. Yes, there is no other way to name the relationship. Through the lockdown restrictions, for many weeks, at home a budding new life helped us negotiate the time. A month and a half back, the kitten broke its leg. It was a comminuted fracture, needing a titanium rod insertion and six weeks of cage time for the kitten.

During the lockdown, the cat in the cage, looking out of the window, reminding me of all of us. The fact is that the virus has put all of us in cages. Since God exists in every atom and serving a caged kitten is akin to worship, my prayer this Onam is like Mahabali returns to Kerala, our kitten comes out of his cage.

Who knows? The kitten might be actually either Mahabali or the God in disguise? For the people of Kerala, for all celebrating this festival beyond the barriers of religion, my hope is that the coronavirus threat is mitigated, an effective vaccine is available soon, and we get together next year for celebrations.

Onam Ashamsakal!

 

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