Rain gods show mercy, Kerala celebrates Onam in style

September 12th, 2008 - 9:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 12 (IANS) With the rain gods showing mercy, Keralites celebrated Onam in style Friday.For many, the rains that lashed the state Thursday evening came as a dampener and many felt the showers would spell a wet Onam - but the skies remained clear all day.

The day dawned for many with a visit to a temple to offer prayers, while others chose to ready themselves for the most important event of the day - the sumptuous 24-course Onam Sadhya meal that is served on a plantain leaf.

Of late, in the major cities in the state, many people prefer to either visit a hotel for the feast or order the food from caterers.

“It is no longer an easy task preparing all these dishes. So, for the past two years, we have been placing orders with catering companies who deliver the Onam Sadhya,” said K. Satish a leading ENT specialist here.

Another feature of Onam in the recent past has been a spree of strikes in front of the state secretariat and even in front of the official residence of the Kerala chief minister.

Flagging off a protest march of Pre-Primary Headmasters Association in front of the state secretariat Friday, Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy said the state government should take note of the stir because while the rest of the state was feasting and celebrating, the teachers were demanding that the anomalies in their pay structures be rectified.

Asked what about his Onam Sadhya, Chandy retorted: “There is nothing like that for me.”

A group of people who suffered police excess during the 1975-77 emergency staged a protest in front of Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan’s official residence demanding pensions.

But Achuthanandan was away at his hometown Alappuzha, where he told reporters that it was regrettable that the centre had not reacted favourably to the demand. And, in a bid to deflect the issue, he quickly added that his government had done everything possible to ensure that Keralites celebrated a memorable Onam.

Then, after a sumptuous Onam lunch, Achuthanandan took a nap at his ancestral home.

For film buffs, this is perhaps the first time in many years that they were unable to see a new release of their favourite superstars on the silver screen.

“There are films ready featuring both Mammootty and Mohanlal, but the distributors decided not to release them because (the Muslim holy month of) Ramadan coincided with Onam this year and hence, many Muslims might have stayed away from theatres. So, the film releases have been delayed,” a leading producer told IANS.

Mammootty was busy on the sets of “Maya Bazaar” at Kochi. A devout Muslim, he observed the Ramadan fast and later served payasam (rice pudding) to all those on the set.

Tipplers ensured record sales of liquor and beer and sources in the Kerala State Beverages Corporation said the figure could climb to Rs.450 million in the 24-hour period till Friday evening.

The Onam holiday will extend till Sunday and government and private offices sector will open only on Monday.

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