Reminiscing Onam

Onam….

It brings memories of old houses and courtyards….

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Of the wilderness that once harboured the prettiest wild flowers….

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Of children picking flowers, the wild lanes echoing with their excited chatter and laughter, their faces carved from the innocent joys of their simple world….
Of little girls clad in skirts of silk, their sparkling eyes darkened with kohl, their tresses unruly, jasmine flowers adorning their tresses, sandal paste smeared on their foreheads….

Of silver-haired women clad in serene white (Kamala Das describes them as swans in the darkness), their faces textured by wrinkle lines and crevices that spoke of the richness of their lives, the affection and mellow maturity that softened those crevices and features hardened by life, like dewdrops on rock that is carved from years of harsh weather. A streak of ash grey bhasmam adorning their forehead, tempering the radiance of their souls. Their lips softly chanting hymns, their prayers always centered on the integrity of their families….on the health and happiness of their children and grandchildren. Those women were indeed the soul of the house.

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Of dark nights radiant with the light of lamps….of the songs that filled the silence of the night….songs borrowed from the essence of the ragas of classical music….songs with a soul.

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Of pretty young women dancing in those courtyards, their souls shining through their simplicity….

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Of the night air scented with the exotic fragrance of jasmine flowers….

Of luxuriant green paddy fields….of an earth bearing fruits of man’s labour and struggle….of prosperity and self-sufficiency….

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Of the fragrance of new fabric….
Of the woven jerry threads that glistened like the golden rays of the rising sun….

Above all, it brings memories of all that we lost to time- the open spaces, the proximity of nature, and the threads of togetherness that characterized agrarian life….

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