Mahabali’s day

August 31, 2020 § Leave a comment

It was Onam today, the biggest festival of the year for my wife’s folks from the southern Indian state of Kerala. The highlight of the day is a ‘Sadhya’, the festival’s lunch. We had planned on ordering a good one from one of the various restuarants that were offering these meals, but alas we couldn’t get any delivery service today.

So lunch actually turned out to be rice and noodles from a place called Singapore Street. For dessert, however, my wife made ‘Paalada paayasam’ a mix of milk and tiny chips or bits made of wheat or rice (I’m not sure) that are soaked in the milk and the whole thing boiled until the bits reach a certain consistency. This paayasam is often the main dessert in the Onam lunch or at least an important component of the dessert where there’s more than one.

We all had nice baths, lit an oil lamp — a brass one with a wick in it — and said a simple prayer before lunch.

She’d made batura (a flat, pliable Indian bread that’s deep fried. Very yum) for breakfast and I experimented with soaking one in the paayasam and eating them together — very delicious.

I sent off the story over which I was really stressed out last week, but actually ended up finishing early. And made ‘upma’ with vegetables in it for dinner — it’s a savoury dish made from what we call ‘rava’ (broken wheat) and has the consistency of a thick porridge or even a bit thicker or drier. We ate the remaining paalada paayasam for dessert.

The Hindu mythology of Onam is that it celebrates the rise of a great demon king Baleendra or Mahabali, from the depths of the earth where he was sent after the gods in the heavens became jealous of his glory and might and conspired his downfall. There’s a lesson in that for all of us, for even though the demon king was actually just and righteous towards his subjects, the jealousy of the gods prevailed.

#mythology #Onam #sadhya

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