the day after the festival

Ulsavapittennu *the day after the festival * used to be a very sorry day for us kids back then – when we had festivals . The day after Onam ,for our kids gang back in the heart of the capital city was not the day after Thiruonam, but the day after the city’s onam celebrations ended with the procession. Onam celebrations in our sleepy city are world class , with how-much-ever world i’ve seen ; and as a kid it was kinda being in some wonderland.

The entire road from Raj Bhavan upto the Assembly Building would be closed to traffic by six in the evening . All those Victorian buildings would be illuminated and you have a two mile strech all for yourselves – everything in the world that costs less than ten Re. will be available on the road .

Nowhere in the world could a keralite see Yesudas singing at Chandrashekaran Nair, Kochin Kalabhavan and Jayaram performing at Public works , Shobana dancing at Nishagandhi , the entire Kalamandalam galaxy at Kanakunnu palace, Muthukad trying to make the Art Gallery disappear ,KPAC performing at Tagore Theatre,Charlie Chaplin film festival in Kalabhavan and Usha Uthup performing at Poojapura grounds *and at the fag end of her show,Mohanlal getting on to the stage and dancing with her – the ground is by his home * – all this in one night , in a three mile stretch : imagine.

Personally , what I liked the most was the carnival setting with Merry Columbus,Torra Torra and the one and only Giant wheel – the highest in the world. Ok fine..you looked up Wicki…but it was very close,you could see the entire city skyline from top of it . Then came the elephants, amazing big ones, upcoming terrors, smug faced palm leaf eaters – one passion that still clings on . And I shouldnt miss this one – Nishagandhi – the most romantic place in the whole of Museum junction ;the late night movies – last one I watched was ‘Satya’ – in that gigantic open air theater is one experience you shouldn’t miss in the capital .If you dont like the movie,just recline on the grass -you have a starry spring time night above .

And then the day after the festival. We used to hang around the palace in the early morning – first it was those ‘cycle tours’ and later jogging around the museum circle . All around was the smell of elephants from the previous days , all the illumination coming down , tamil workers dismantling the Giant wheel ,the local clubs clearing the athapoo stalls, the tall stage at Nishagandhi lying all deserted and the pervading feel of the vacation ending. We knew it was all just glitter,but how we wished it stayed a little more.

Yet another Onam passed without me actually knowing it and hence thankfully there is no Ulsavapittennu hangover. We guys hanged out at some far-away godforsaken beach with white sand. On the way back I got my first SMS saying they’ve dismantled the giant wheel. Oh well fine,then you guys enjoy – I texted back . I’ve kept away from the low key malayali samajam events out here, not that I have anything against them and I do respect the work they are doing but I’m from the capital city and our Onam is not defined in the wickipedia.

11 Responses to the day after the festival

  1. avan September 6, 2006 at 8:39 pm #

    Its my city too. I used to watch the Onam parade from the terrace above Triveni, at Statue Junction. Grandstand view !!! 🙂

  2. b v n September 6, 2006 at 9:01 pm #

    We used to hang around the Indian Airlines building…used to call it float 🙂

  3. Jiby September 6, 2006 at 9:53 pm #

    bvn, i got back from the city a few hours back…i was abt to write a post on what i saw but b4 that chanced to see ur post…u missed nothing much man, there was no float, no flowershow, no programmes at nishagandhi, kanakannunu abandoned, no foodstalls this time…just the giant wheel(which wuz there…wonder who texted u that info), marana kinaru, the illuminations and the crowds though their numbers mite be just 1/10 or 1/100 of what we have seen in our better days.

    if the govt cant organize onam properly atleast they cud have handed it over to somebody private….the stated reason for austerity this year was the agri crisis but i think it has more to do with the govt being on the verge of bankruptcy again!

  4. starry nights September 6, 2006 at 10:00 pm #

    Happy onam to you. I ave not personally seen an Onam parade but have heard numerous stories from my mother.

  5. b v n September 6, 2006 at 11:21 pm #

    jiby, Its a big let down man ,its terrible *shoot*..remember,even when kargil war was happening we had a blast during onam,dont know what these guys have in mind,its a pity we cant draw crowds during the city’s biggest event. The giant wheel SMS was my *esoteric* reference to teh malayali samajam event getting over, here in south florida :)))

    bankruptcy is no reason for all this..all of us used to get bankrupt at the end of onam 🙂

    Starry, happy onam to you too…from what jiby says the events in tvm was pretty lukewarm 🙁

  6. Neers September 7, 2006 at 5:49 am #

    very good!! 🙂 no hangover for me either!! :p

  7. Ash September 7, 2006 at 3:18 pm #

    Beautiful post! Brought back lots of memories..

    Onam in Trivandrum is very special, i know i have experienced it myself!

  8. Jo September 7, 2006 at 5:25 pm #

    You must be missing those old Onam days. But apart from those stage shows (that you wouldn’t miss even being out there, right? with all those Malayali associations) its only a shopping festival of Kerala these days. So you are not missing much, believe me. 🙂 Onam is better staying abroad with nostalgia.

  9. Anonymous September 8, 2006 at 12:54 pm #

    I think what makes Onam so special is that it is not associated with any God or Godess, which leaves us free to derive our own memories. If we are to take a tour from Malabar to Travancore on Onam, I am sure we will amazed at the varied associations each part makes with the festival. It is something more than the pookalam, sadhya and the kasavu sari. Something that defines the truest spirit of a malayali, irrespective of his geographical location and religious inclination. And ironically we realise and value all this, once we are miles away.

    ~Nina

  10. b v n September 8, 2006 at 5:02 pm #

    Neers, i wud prefer the party over this ‘no-hangover’ 🙂

    Ash, thanks,i miss the town pretty bad

    Jo, you can say that man…my bro called me and said he watched all the new releases…you too wud have done that by now :)) . But maybe you’re right – once i’m there i’ll get bored in like twenty minutes . Thanks for the comment man….you’ve got a neat blog.

    Nina, exactly…i was really posting on what you said -“truest spirit of a malayali” – i ‘thought’ for sometime and then decided not to start any new bad habits

  11. Anonymous September 11, 2006 at 1:57 pm #

    Very nice post! Lots of memories brought back this post. Currently I settle down in the UK. I am missing a lots and thanks for giving me a nostalgia.

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