It was 1.45 am when my friend took me to the bus stand. The next bus to Chennai was at 2, which didn’t turn up. The next bus was at 4.30 am. A two-and-a-half-hour wait at the deserted bus stand, with biting cold and mosquitoes testing my fever-hit physique. I could endure things worse than this, but couldn’t afford the prospects of staying back in Bangalore during Onam…
I still don’t know what got into my head. Maybe the growing up part had robbed the fervor for the festivity. Grandpa had passed away last December, maybe couln’t imagine an Onam without him. Life has taken us, the ‘kids’ of the family, to various places, maybe we were too busy to bother about pleasures of the yore. I decided that I won’t go home this time.
It didn’t take long to realise that I was wrong. I was turning restless. Then, my aunt called — an invitation to spend the eve of Onam at her place, in Vellore, five hours away from Bangalore. She was in no position to take a leave for Onam on Monday. My cousin in Chennai too was coming down. So I took the early-morning trip, braving the fever and the cold.
Still, I was restless. I wanted to type something for my blog, but coudn’t get the emotions together. Onam memories — extremely vivid — was flooding my mind like an avalanche.
Then, a call came from Kerala.
“We’re off to the temple. It’s only the two of us here,” said my sister.
Then I realised what Onam means to me — my village, my home, my dear and near. Painfully understanding that I am still a nostalgic, emotional fool, I put my thoughts in order.
Far away, they were putting the flowers in order.
Chandu Gopalakrishnan is a business journalist currently working for the Bangalore edition of The Economic Times.
Read more of his writing on chandugopal.blogspot.com