Vishu, the harvest festival, the beginning of a brand new year. Konna, the beautiful yellow flowers that adorn every garden and every house. Kani – a platter arranged with utmost care the previous night so it would be the first thing you see in the morning. Waking up to start the new year with gods and gold and glory. Paddakam – the exciting thrilling, and often dangerous firecrackers. I couldn’t wait to grow up so I could be cool like my older cousins and light up a firecracker in my hand and toss it gently, heedless of the dangers if it were to burst while still in my hands. Malapadakkam – my personal favourite, a collection of many firecrackers strung together, but probably more dangerous. Vishusadya – the one meal of the year where my band of fourteen cousins would get together, and eat a feast befitting any royal family. Pudava – brand new clothes, usually made in white and gold, to celebrate and usher in the new beginnings. Best of all, the kaineettam – the pocket money every kid gets in the morning, to spend as he or she wants, no questions asked.
It’s been fourteen years since I celebrated Vishu. The memories are as fresh as if they happened yesterday. Something tells me this is the last year of my “Vanavas”, the fourteen years Rama spent in the forests, while he was banished from the land. I look forward to celebrating the next. Till then, I hope you had a nice Vishu and I wish you a great year ahead.
Photo courtsey: Challiyan via Flickr