“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Friday, September 4, 2009

An Onam Gift

Come September, Malayalees the world over celebrate Onam. I do not want to tire the reader with what he/she already knows. The spending spree, the discount fervour, new clothes, new consumer goods, holidays, get-togethers with family and friends, excursions – you know all that. Of course, one of the best parts is gifting your loved ones with new clothes – saris, shirts, pocketmoney for children which they spend on sweets or toys – it is fun, isn't it?

It has been quite a long time since I took part in the festivities of Onam. Something had died inside me long ago. There was a time when I used to roam the streets of Trivandrum which would be all aglow with illumination and cultural shows and beautiful women parading and us boys ogling at them to our hearts' content. But now, the festival spirit isn’t just there. Maybe it is that I am getting older; or that now I prefer solitude and quiet – perhaps a close friend or two – nothing more than that.

This year too, like I have done several years after my marriage, I went with my family to Eranakulam ( Kochi) where most of Parvati's relatives stay. Hers is a large clan; they all gather, chat up, drink, laugh, shout, rib each other, recount old family jokes – even after 19 years, I feel somewhat left out. I sat with them for a while and then slinked away upstairs to read a novel.

Parvati had left a few days earlier; K & I joined her on the 1st September; Onam eve is as important as the day of Onam, on the 2nd. 3rd being a working day, I returned home to my dogs by 2nd night. K came back today, the 3rd. P would be back only by 7th or so.

I have been/ am going through a rough patch. An unexpected huge (for me) financial commitment for forced buying of a piece of land, which put a terrible constraint on my modest resources, has shaken me out of my laidback, placid ways. The purchase is going to set me back lakhs of rupees. I am constantly reminded of it; my BP which used to be normal has shot up in the last couple of months.

Today evening 1730 hrs. Rap music blasts from K's room. He is with a couple of friends. K (his real name is Nachiketh – pet name, Kuttappu) is all of 17 years. Medium height, broad built (he pumps irons) fair and quite handsome with his charming smile, K is all of 17 years. Oh glory!

K barges into my room, splashes my religiously saved Adidas Eau de Toilette all over him and comes over to me and peers into the laptop. He says - “Acha, Cheriyamma gave me 1000 bucks”. Cheriyamma is Parvati's younger sister, Devi. I tell him- “Great, but don't splurge on all of it”, though he has every right to. He would gorge on Chicken Biriyani or Sheverma or Coke – but like parents the world over, I guess, I just lightly caution him. He says- “No, I won't”. My son gives me that shy grin and holds out a 500 rupee note- “This is for you, Acha, for buying the land”. I get up from my chair and hug him, kiss him on his bruiser cheeks. Tears gush out and I am at a loss for words. K is embarrassed, as any 17 year- old would be, at his emotional, weak, father. I straighten up and say - “Thank you, Appu”.

To a father who hasn't given him an Onam gift, K gave all he had – love. I don't think, at this moment, there is a happier father than me anywhere in the world.

************* Balachandran, Trivandrum, 03.09.2009


  1. Am so happy for you. I remember your comment on one of my earlier posts regarding this. So I know you had a great Onam for one!

  2. I am sure this was your best onam!! You have a great son..what other treasure is required..dont fret over the land..it will work out some way or the other.

  3. that was so caring of him to do...
    You would have been proud of him..

  4. This brings much emotion to me for many reasons. Many..You will be alright my friend..Sandy

  5. On my birthday, my father called me early in the morning and asked me what gift I wanted..he even offered to transfer some money...I simply told him 'Papa your call is the precious gift I could get'.....both of us were silent for few moments. I knew he had tears in his eyes...!

    I would pray you are soon out of this rough patch...

  6. very touching..a message for all budding parents..u get back what u give..
    financial commitment for land is never gonna be a lossy business..
    afterall why u care about money when u have the most precious asset in mr.K

  7. Hi Balachandran, I do not know you or your son, but that post brought tears to my eyes; this is why I am a believer, in people, and not gods. I am so so happy that I now know you and Nachiketh. Please stay in touch; and keep your BP in control. : )


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