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
This year too, like I have done several years after my marriage, I went with my family to Eranakulam (
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.