Tuesday, 11 September 2012
A Mind to Give.....
Onam is a state festival of Kerala. Every Keralite across the globe celebrates Onam in great spirit and zealous enthusiasm. Onam is an occasion celebrated in honour of Mahabali the erstwhile king of Kerala. He was an asura king but very just and honest. Power and politics are not limited to human being and also find place among Gods…. It so happened that the Gods became jealous of King Mahabali and approachede lord Vishnu asking him for help… which is how Lord Vishnu assumed his fifit avatar from among his ten called the Vamana.. Vamana avatar was that of a tiny man. Having assumed the guise, Vamaa then goes to King Mahabali in his priestly form and asks for three measures of his land, each to be measured by a step he would take. The benevolent king being as good as he is gives the right to the little Vamana to take the three steps. He takes his first step and covers the earth and with the second he covers the sky and for the third he asked the king where and the king bows down and shows his head. Vamana puts his feet on the king and pushes him into the earth. Just before pushing him in he gives his a boon to come and meet his people once every year. We Keralites celebrate Onam in memory of this great king.
Onam is a festival of harvest as well and new clothes don the occasion during which the elders give gifts and money to the younger ones and vice versa.
I was home for Onam this year. My sister delivered a baby boy and I am acting the big uncle very well. There was this old lady, named Shanthamma, who was good at the postnatal care.. A very chirpy and vibrant lady, laughing always - one would be much energized on seeing her. But tke a look at her household and it wouldn’t take long to realize that her life was in misery. This poor 65 year old lady needs to earn to feed her daughter, son-in-law and 2 children. As if that wasn’t aleady enough, she is ill treated.
So this Onam we decided to give her some extra money so that she could have some nice food with it. My mom and sister gave her some money. I felt that it was a great gesture to give her that extra bit for all the help she was for my little nephew and sister. Deciding impromptu, I went down with some money to give her… when she walked upto me and told me “Aviii (she calls me Avi instead of Naveen) ninakku enikku ithraye tharaaan pattooo….” Which means “I can only afford to give you this token for Onam...” She squeezed a 100 rupees note into my hand.. God it was such a touching moment… I could have cried. A poor lady like her wanted me to be happy and she was forgoing her happiness only for me which I couldn’t imagine.
Yet my dear friend you should have seen how happy she was… we have all the luxuries of life and do we ever think about another person..? I felt ashamed of myself.. I was trying to add and subtract in my mind of what to give her but she was far beyond in her thoughts.