“We used to get up in the morning and go to the nearby park and pick all types of beautiful flowers for making our flower rangoli on Onam. I miss doing that, this year,” says Chitra Madanan, a Delhi-based corporate. One of the many city residents who will be celebrating Onam this year, with precautions such as practising social distancing, Madanan says, “I will be making rangoli from the flowers delivered to our house. Me and my friends will share our final rangoli design, over WhatsApp, with each other to see who gets the most likes,” gleams Madanan.
Onam (August 22 to September 2, 2020) celebration is almost synonymous with payasam, a milk and rice pudding that is prepared for guests who visit their relatives on the festival. Manmohan M, a DU student, who is spending this Onam at his PG, away from his family in Kerala, feels it’s difficult to even meet his relatives in the Capital. “I can’t believe that this year I won’t be able to enjoy the payasam that my aunt makes! Usually my friends who live in the same PG as me, accompany me to my aunt’s house in Vasant Kunj, to enjoy the Onam feast. This year, however, has put a dampener on our plans. So, we decided to try out making payasam on our own watching a YouTube link. Hopefully it doesn’t burn!”
During Onam celebrations, in the pre-pandemic times, a Malayali household would usually be packed with friends and family who were invited for lunch or dinner, to share a special Onam Sadhya (feast)! “Right now it’s not advisable to invite relatives over from different parts of the city at one’s place due to the pandemic, so I have sent out an invite to my neighbours for weekend lunch,” says Ijaya Nambiar, a Gurugrammer, who plans to celebrate Onam with as much fervour as she did last year. “Celebration means happiness. It doesn’t matter if the happiness is of a friend or a relative,” she adds.
Some denizens are planning to dress up in traditional attire and light lamps at home. “Our RWA has cancelled the annual celebration that we have for Onam. I’ll still don the traditional attire, light lamps and pray for the well being of everybody, especially those fighting Covid-19,” says Gouri R, a Delhi-based homemaker, adding, “We are all hoping that Onam ushers in a new beginning for everyone and the pandemic ends soon. May Onam bring us the much needed cure for the pandemic.”
Author tweets @FizzyBuddha
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