Till the other day, planners, power managers and farmers in Kerala were looking to the skies with furrowed brows and a prayer on their lips: for the skies to open up a little wider so that the farming cycle would remain intact and adequate power could be generated.

Although a little late, it did in different measures across Kerala, but that happened on Wednesday, as the people of State got ready to celebrate Thiruvonam, the most auspicious day of the festival season. The weathermen got it right this time when the entire State received rains ranging from 1 to 5 cm., almost in copybook fashion. But that did not dampen the Onam spirit. Celebrations and games to mark the festival took place across the State, though a little behind schedule.

Much of the celebration was virtual with the TV channels presenting families with a rich fare of films, interactions with real and wannabe celebrities, dance and music. Out on the road and in the playgrounds, little games were played, but in most homes, the majority remained glued to the TV screens. With the rain clouds hanging heavy, the official Onam festivities lost some of its lustre, but not enough leave the organisers cursing. The rains subsided by afternoon giving that window of opportunity to those waiting to stir out of their couches and go for the evening cultural fare organized by the State government and local clubs in all the districts.

All the talk about economic slowdown appeared not to have deterred those marketing consumer products and the Onam market saw brisk sale of gold, TV sets, washing machines and the bric-a-brac that are symbolic of an upwardly middle class. But, Onam this year was marked a by a tinge of sadness because of the loss of four precious lives in the LPG tanker explosion in Kannur late Monday night and the heart-wrenching images of young and old writhing in pain in with serious burn injuries.