Techies talk about their extended Onam holiday
They already had a cracker Onam at Technopark, before the festivities actually began across Kerala. But that, it seems, hasn’t stopped the techies from continuing the celebrations in their homes. This year the techies got an extended holiday and most of them seem to have made good use of it; as it is, weekends are holidays for most companies and apart from the closed holiday on Monday on the occasion of Thiruvonam, many techies had Tuesday off too. But, sources say that it wasn’t until Thursday really that Technopark was back to normal.
A fair majority of techies hail from out of town and, going by the extraordinary rush on the evening trains out of Kazhakkuttam and Kochuveli on Friday, many of them seem to have made their way back to their native places for the festival. “It was a time to reconnect with family and friends who are scattered across the country,” says techie Arun Sasi, over the phone from his native place, Ayoor, in Kollam district.
“The weekend leading up to Thiruvonam and the days following were packed with festivities. I got to eat sadya almost everyday - first from home then from my mother’s home in Pathanapuram, where all the family traditionally meet up on Avittam day, and finally from my wife’s home in Mavelikkara. In Ayoor, the local clubs organised many Onam games and I got to participate in all of that,” he adds.
Onam was very much a “community celebration” for others too. Techie Sudhish, made the trip home to a village near Perumbavoor for the occasion. “For Onam the local clubs go all out and organise many traditional games such as tug-o-war, uriyadi, sack race, sack fight, and a variety of cultural events for which the entire community participates. The day before Onam I was out in the fields picking thumbapoo flowers for the pookkalam, splashing around in the local pond with my buddies, and helping to cut vegetables and make pickles for the sadya the next day. Thiruvonam day started at 5 a.m. when we got up to make ada and herald the Onathappan. Then it’s all about trooping in and out of several houses in the village to eat sadyas. I must have had eight sadyas on the day!” he recalls.
But that’s not to say only the techies who went out of town had a rocking Onam. Local boy Vishnu M. who works in a business process outsourcing firm at Technopark, says he spent an equally “exciting” Onam in the city. “This year we literally had a rocking start to Onam thanks to the rock concert on Uthradam Day at Manaveeyam Vedhi. All the family came over to my place on Thiruvonam and my mother and my aunts prepared a scrumptious sadya,” he says.
And because of the extended holiday many got to go on trips too. While Srijith Murali who works as an analayst for an IT company in the city flew to Goa for two-day vacation with his family, Vishnu and his friends went on boys’ only trip to Chitaral and Vattakottai before catching the sunset at Poovar. Sudhish, meanwhile, visited the famed Varikassery Mana in Palakkad and on the way back stopped at Uthralikavu temple in Wadakkancherry and caught Kummatti Kali at Thrissur, before catching the train back to the city.
It’s not only the Malayali techies who had a blast during Onam, it seems. Many of the techies who hail from other states got invited to the homes of the colleagues and/or friends for the festivities.
For Shruti Gupta, senior executive, internal communications and branding at an MNC, and a native of Uttar Pradesh, it was her first experience of Onam. “I enjoyed everything - right from hearing about the legend behind Onam and clicking photos with Mahabali who came by our bays at work, to weaving pokkalams, dressing up in traditional Kerala attire, and the two sadyas, one at Technopark and the other at my manager’s house on Thiruvonam Day. Actually I realised that Onam is very similar to the way we celebrate festivals up north, especially Diwali. We too buy news clothes and get-together with our families during then. The chenda melam reminded me of the dhol during Lodi. The camaraderie and spirit of Onam made me proud of the rich culture and history we have in India.”