When I came home for the vacation this time, things felt different. I saw a new road beside my house and it never used to be there earlier. Mother who came into my room saw me looking at the windows and she grasped my query unspoken. “That is the new road to temple. Your Dad gave it.”
Her words made me to look on to the concrete fence and yes, it was newly painted. I took my tea cup and opened the door to the right side to get a proper view of the road. It was barely three foot, yet people could walk through it seamlessly.
The long skirt girls with jasmines decorating their long hairs were coming through the way. They were carrying baskets weaved in bamboo filled with hibiscus flowers. Hibiscus is available aplenty and we hardly get to see a house without hibiscus in Kerala. The sight implied the time and it was almost 6pm. Now more Kerala traditional sarees are appearing at the entrance and I could hear the temple music.
I have been to temple several times, but could not remember a time when I went with flower filled baskets, wearing ethnic attire. I have always wondered why my mother is not so curious about it. She too is not so traditional, but lights lamp at home and wears only sarees everywhere.
In fact, I never tried asking her about it. Mostly, the topics related to culture or tradition never arouse in our house and it was as if we must grasp it ourselves. This approach seemed to be true to certain extend because I learned it myself from society perceiving things. Till date, nobody called me uncultured or non traditional, which makes me believe what I perceived and learned myself is true.
Plenty of times I have faced the question “Which is your memorable Onam or Vishu?” which I am still trying to figure out. The Onam at my house is like any other day, a late affair, with my sister and me waking up from bed at 10 am. We finish our routines and then think of putting a flower carpet. By that time, delicious payasam smell emerges from kitchen, making us hungry. All festival days were the same for us and we celebrated it just with food.
Neither the routines, nor the personality implied my religion or culture, never there aroused a day to project it too. Yet, I believe in Al Mighty and pray in my heart during the routines. I do not feel a need to flaunt my culture.
The biggest asset of not being forced into things like this is that I learned to respect all religions and cultures as ours. I feel awkward when I read or hear people speak filthy about a particular religion or culture.
Truly, I wonder why people value a man with a social tag. Before being locked into any societal shackle, he or she is a human being like any one of us. He or she bears the same pain, same pleasure and carries same red blood. Where from the deep heart we learn to differentiate them and what is the purpose of doing so? The pursuit for the answer continues.