Food for thought

The entire family of our Malayali neighbours, all dressed in new clothes, fresh out of their baths, were huddled together on the floor in the corridor outside our house, as I opened the door today morning for the OH to go to work. Flowers in different colours and other paraphernalia was scattered all over. Everyone was engrossed in making a ‘pookalam’ for Onam, even the two naughty brats I have never seen concentrating on anything for more than 2 minutes. ‘Happy Onam,’ everyone called out as the OH and I emerged out of our doorway to take in all the works. Their smiles were infectious, and my boring morning suddenly got infused with a load of enthusiasm.

This year, it is only these Malayali neighbours who are celebrating Onam on our floor. Later, I found that they have made the pookalam in the centre of the corridor, instead of just outside their own house. It seemed rather sweet – a pookalam shared by all four houses on our floor. Quite made my day!

It made me think: Why is it so easy for us to draw boundaries – this is yours and this is mine? This is your festival and this is mine? Why can’t we all share in the enthusiasm of the occasion, whatever it might be?

Happy Onam, people!

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36 thoughts on “Food for thought

  1. My ma was once invited to a sadya and she could not stop raving about it. Sadly, I have never attended one..and this post is making me pray fervently to God that next year some Malayali family should come in my neighbourhood and both of us will make and devour the sadya 😀

    Pookalam looks beautiful 🙂

    IMHO, the boundaries are slowly getting disintegrated, at least in the cities. Nobody says no to celebrations and delicacies 😉

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  2. reminds me of the song “panchi nadiya pawan ke jhoke, koi sarhadein na inhe rokein….” from the movie refugee !

    also, there is a post in my drafts…pending to review before I post it on the same lines with a different feeling though….I think I’ll post it now 🙂

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  3. Pookalam is so nice and thats very sweet of your neighbors to have put that kolam in the middle of the corridor 🙂

    It would be so good if all people were thinking like this.. instead of drawing boundaries. back in my childhood, staying in quarters we used to celebrate all the festivals with the same enthusiasm. These days, its hard to find neighbors talking to each other.

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    1. @Greenboochi

      Yes, very sweet of them indeed. But then, I am sure, some people (in other apartments) might have taken offense at their having made the pookalam in the centre of the corridor. 🙂

      I have heard loads of tales about life in quarters from the OH. I have never had the chance to live in any. 😦

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  4. Happy Onam to you too TGND!

    Errm – I’ve been reading you chupke chupke and I absolutely love your book posts and reviews and recommendations!
    Dont know why I haven’t commented sooner! 😐

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  5. More and more people from various cultures should mix in communities and during festivals like these. I am sure that if this happens, there will not be a repeat of what happened to the people of North East in Karnataka a few days back.
    The Rangoli looks beautiful. 🙂

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  6. wow.. you have great neighbors re.. our fight saying even our normal kolam is crossing their area at times.. or keep shifting the shoe rack step by step into our area..

    happy onam..

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    1. @Sandhya

      Is it? I thought it is celebrated only by Malayalis!

      That said, I don’t know much about the history of the various festivals celebrated in India. I should probably get around to doing some research.

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  7. That pookalam is so beautiful 🙂 Lovely gesture by your neighbors.
    The boundaries are more prevalent in big cities where people do not have time for each other. In villages and small cities the boundaries are lesser.
    This gesture reminds me of my neighbor who lit a lamp at the door of our home too during Diwali when we were away last year 🙂

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