TLDR: A long overdue post, delayed by my insipid routine.
We are not normal people.
We are crazy.
We love being loud.
We love the intense fervor in life. We love our country, our religions, our festivals and everything that is associated with being Indian.
We love cricket, not only the gentlemanly game, but also the one with masala and mayhem.
We are divided by our thoughts and actions, but come an outside farce questioning our integrity, then cometh the force with which we retaliate.
We are Indians first, then classified as a Malayali, a Tamilian, a Punjabi etc. etc.
Our festivals are something that always remain close to our heart. Be it in any corner of the world, your heart travels miles to feel at home. Supermarkets stock up festival items to ensure that the craving of the body, heart and soul is appeased despite the fact that you bear the groveling heat and bone freezing cold to fend for yourself in a foreign land.
As a Malayali in the Gulf, a so called cliché adrift in the lands down south, we seldom find it difficult to celebrate our festivals, be it Vishu, Onam, Eid or Christmas.
Thronging in big crowds in the supermarkets during the festival eve, walking the aisles specially earmarked for the festival items, people load their trolleys with the festivity items.
A glimpse into the Vishu shopping fiasco at a predominant supermarket chain in the “Gelf”
She was tall and curvy in all the right areas. There was not a man (and a few women) who did not gawk at her. Her trolley lay filled with the choosiest items befitting a chef in a Michelin 3 star restaurant. Truffles, provolone cheese, apple cider vinegar, bagels and whatnot. She was gliding over the supermarket floor, her trolley inching through the maddening crowd, her estrogen overdose driving them nuts.
The Vishu counter was crowded. She stopped right in front. Lindt chocolates were on sale on her right side aisle. No, she moved left. To the Vishu counter.
She marked her arrival, her perfumed self had instantly made the crowd part to 2 sides, making way for her into the stacked shelves of banana and jackfruit chips, of semiyas and paladas, of payasam mixes, condensed milk and pappadams.
Helping herself with all the goodies, the jackfruit chips lay cozy with the provolones and truffles of the world.
The “Gelf” offers the Mallus amongst all other Kerala goodies, our ever-beloved coconut, in its rich and varied heritage. Imported from India, Thailand and Sri Lanka, Indian coconuts remain our favorite. To add to our convenience, scraped coconut in small plastic containers are our to-go purchase of every single visit of every single person.
The coconut stall in this particular supermarket is unlike others. Scrapped coconut is not to-go. You can choose your coconut from the nut sack, and they are scraped in front of you. So now you can figure out what goes on during a Vishu or an Onam eve. Hell breaks loose near the counter and the coconut guy develops his biceps and triceps in a day.
People run helter-skelter and with their overloaded trolleys, a child in one hand and a lot of coconuts on the other, it is fun and scary at the same time.
How much ever we wish to change, we still have something in us that holds us to our roots.