(Picture Courtesy: Priya Tulasi, USA)

Vishu, the celebration of lights and celebration for the Keraliets. It is the beginning of the Malayalam New Year. A time when the schools close for the long summer vacation after the end of an academic year. The children unshackled from the burden of education celebrate to their hearts fill.

For me, Vishu has special place in my heart from my child hood. It was the time when after the annual exams and closing of the school, we used to travel to my father's native place of Trichur. There all the cousins would come for the vacation. There used to be my brother Anu. with I always had a special bonding. We used to play many games including cricket. Then there was also the festivities in Trichur associated with Vishu, the cultural capital of Kerala. There used to be the Trichur Exhibition at the Thekinkaddu Maidan. We along with our parents used to visit there. There was all types of toys including motor boats. These things used to have special fascination in my heart. Those were the times when such toys were not available off the shelf and we had to wait the exhibitions. Then ether was the Giant Wheel. Even though I was the timid one afraid of such adventurism, my cousins including my sisters would have a bash out there even taking a ride in the Giant Wheel. Now consider that time when there was no theme parks like today. Hence these melas had a special attraction for the common man and there always used be a lot of crowd in such occasions.

Now the day of Vishu would begin with the Vishukanni. My grand mother and my aunt would decorate the Kanni in such a beautiful way that the beauty still lingers in my mind even now. The beauty of the Vishukanni used to radiate with the light from the Vilakku or just the oil lamp. After the Vishukanni, there was the Vishukainittam, the highlight when the elders would give us the money. The only earning of us youngsters, we would spend the money on buying crackers or some fasinating toys. Then would start the time of fire crackers. The Chakram, Malapadakkam, Pookutti, rocket, Kambithirri all stocked up my aunt will find their glettering best in our hands. My father was the boldest one who had the duty of lighting the malapadakkam. My brother Anu would do his bit. I used to confine my self to small crackers. We had the bash of the time. Then after bath, we used to addorn in new cloths and visit the temples of Trichur which include Kottapuram, Shankaran Kulangara, Parmekavvu and Thiruvempady. The highlight of the day was of course the Sadya or the feast. After a grand feast typical in Kerala fashion, it was time to return to daily life and return to Palakkad.

Now as I describe it, I really this from the bottom of my heart. The times narrated above was from my child hood. As we grow older and all my sisters and brother get settled into their lives in different parts of the world and I get busy with my own carrier, we feel deeply all those times we were together. In dome corner of our hearts, we have a special place for the times long gone by and the good times we had together. It is such pleasant memories of the past lingering in our minds that gives us the strength to move ahead in life with strength and resolve knowing fully well that there is always my sisters, brother and other relatives whom you can always trust for emotional support at times of need. That gives us the strength to move forward in life.



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