*Warning : Sappyness Aplenty*
I needed to write about magic. The magic of Vishu. That was a long time ago. The week I went home – beginning of April. And now its mid may. But that’s ok. I have 25 years of memories to fall back on I guess…hopefully it shouldn’t be too difficult to make something up.
So yeah. It’s always been that for me – magic. The festival of Vishu I’m talking about. Always magic. There have been people in my life who haven’t really understood nor appreciated that. But maybe it’s not their fault. Maybe it’s me; maybe I failed to describe it properly to them. Then again it’s difficult to describe that kinda magic. I remember while watching Vaanaprastam, the word ‘medieval’ suggested itself to me. Not that the movie was medieval, altho it did have some aristocratic nonsense happening. I don’t think I want to go into a review of that movie. It’s a difficult movie to review and then it’s been a while…like years…since I watched it so…all in all not an appropriate time for a review. But yeah a few of those shots seems to take us to another time. A time before electricity, filled with the romance of the light from an oil lamp. Can you not see it? A lone lamp’s golden light pouring out of a single small window on a dark night with little or no moonlight. There’s this weird feeling I get when you imagine that…it’s the same feeling I get when I watch the evening lamp being lighted when I go to Kerala. For those few moments, that lamp is Midas and everything the lamp light touches turns into something exquisitely beautiful. Hmm…Anyway…
What I was actually trying to get at was that the same kinda magic i experience every Vishu. Maybe it helps that I’m always invariably half asleep. For those who don’t know, Vishu is the mallu new year. It’s that fascinating festival where if you are one of the younger ones, you get money from all your elders, and if you are one of the older ones, then just too bad for you…you get to give! 😀 I always wait for Vishu, cuz I’m the youngest in my house. 😀 But really that’s not all. I mean I will understand if you don’t wanna believe me when I’ve just successfully given a very convincing other reason. But still, try. Cuz you see some things just don’t change over the years. I have had the same feelings wash over me every year for quarter of a century. It’s amazing really. The night before, you know what you are going to see the next morning. There’s really nothing new, nothing unexpected. And yet, when my parents wake me up, I feel strangely excited, like I’m just about to see the greatest magician ever perform the most fascinating of his tricks. They would wake me, cover my eyes (over the years, my parents have taken turns), lead me to the pooja area and then ask me to open my eyes. The funda is that since it’s the beginning of a new year, you want the first things you see to be signs of prosperity, so that you see plenty of it for the rest of the year. its sorta like a harvest festival, so the signs of prosperity are harvest related things, like fruits and vegetables and flowers and coconuts (since we are after all mallus, in fact they are used as lamps) and grains and some gold and some silver (don’t go imagining treasure chests…these are just for the sake of it. just a little ring or trinket or something will do. we usually keep one of my mum’s chains or something). The whole thing is arranged in front of the pooja, with the lamp facing the east.
And every year, without fail, when I open my eyes and see the arrangement I’m awed (for lack of a better word). There really cannot be a better way of ushering in the New Year, they definitely got their concepts right. To me that vision of the entire arrangement bathed in the rich golden light of the oil lamps as I try to focus through my half sleepy eyes is one of the most beautiful ever. It kinda silences my brain for a while (and if you know the kind of person I am, you’ll know how big a deal that is). There are no thoughts, just that nearly divine vision. My parents still direct my attention of every detail, as though I am a child still, and honestly I more than don’t mind. Its all part of the magical moment. My mom’s voice softly directing my eyes towards the flowers, fruits, and all the other stuff. Once you see it all, you are supposed to close your eyes and pray, give thanks. In all my 25 years I don’t think I have even once, cuz my brain is still fascinated. Closing my eyes makes no difference, cuz for the next 10 mins or so I won’t see anything else. Once you pray, you go out, look at everything around you. And you know something, everything else is coloured by that one vision, everything looks beautiful. I’d say that’s pretty powerful magic. But then again, maybe it’s just me.