As Kerala saw yet another Onam in the grasps of Corona, celebrations are scarce everywhere. The colours and vibrancy of this festival have become a thing of the past. The pitter-patter of little feet as they went in search of flowers for the Pookkalam (flower rangoli) is nothing but a bittersweet memory. The florists that used to line up in the streets during this time of the year are not to be seen anywhere. In most parts of the state, no youngsters dressed up to collect money as “King Mahabali” or “Onappottan”, which is usually done based on the folklore of the Generous king Mahabali who sacrificed his life for the happiness of the people. Children did not experience the excitement of the Onam holidays or the grandiose Onam celebrations that usually take place in schools before the holidays start. All of it is done online today. The little ones do not get to witness the beauty of Onam celebrations until a time comes when Kerala is corona-free.
This used to be the time when markets were abuzz with people shopping for clothes and other accessories for Onam. Today, as we face a crisis in all aspects of our lives including employment and finance, the extravaganza is non-existent.
As the test positivity rate increased in the state, this Onam witnessed everyone staying indoors and celebrating a minimal ordeal.
Families stayed indoors, enjoying a flavourful Sadhya, courtesy of the Onam kit provided by the Kerala government, and spending time with families. Some spent their Onam holidays travelling to places, after going through an elaborate ordeal of testing for Covid-19. Although merry, there is a sort of alertness and uncertainty in the air.
Stage programs and concerts that sold out their tickets in the blink of an eye during earlier years seem like a part of a different life today. It’s unimaginable in the present day to be in a venue with such a big crowd, all packed together.
Another phenomenon that’s missing during this Onam season is the release of new movies in theatres. This was one of the times when superstar movies came out in theatres and everyone went to the cinemas along with friends and family to enjoy the new flicks. With recent movies like “Kuruthi” and “Home” being released on Amazon Prime, OTT platforms have taken the place of theatre releases this Onam.
As things change all around, all anyone can hope is for everything to be alright soon and to get the chance to celebrate a normal Onam at least the coming year, which seems like wishful thinking at the moment.