Pooram – my childhood memories start here. In my mind it’s all there- in beautifully detailed memories. I’m holding my grandfather’s hand and stepping out from Home for Pooram. I still remember the excitement I went through each time during Pooram. It is a post-harvest festival based on the temples in each place of Kerala. It starts with the Varavu (procession) from surrounding temples to the main temple of the place that is organizing the festival. After school, we would sharpen our ears to hear any sound of ‘varavu’ and run towards the road to watch the many activities that come with it. The real Pooram for us would only start with the arrival of my grandfather, once he reached home after his work.
My siblings and I would be impatiently waiting for him, dressed up and with our cutest smiles ever, waiting for his hand gesture signaling the magic phrase that followed next: ‘Okay, let’s go now’ he would say with a warm & comforting tone in his voice – ‘But you have to promise that you will keep holding my hand, there are masses of people this time and we cannot loose each other!’ – these words were repeated each and every Pooram.
I was walking with him towards the Pooram whilst turning my head towards either side of road with my widely-opened eyes. ‘Where did all these people come from?’ – I asked myself each year all over again.
With each step that took us closer to the Pooram I felt the crowds closing in on us, my immeasurable reaction was to move closer to my grandfather and tightening the grip of my hand into his. ‘He’s my protector!’- I thought to myself.
My grandfather had the habit of buying us special Pooram sweets, part of which we would take to our relatives’ homes, to share them amongst our big family circle there. Back then, I didn’t understand why he was doing this…
The decorated elephants were one of my favorite attractions about Pooram and of-course the fireworks. My grandfather would take us to a secure spot to ensure that we would watch the firework spectacle safely. For me- it could never be close enough!
With the passage of time, I started going with my friends for Pooram. My grandfather continued the same tradition with my younger brother. I still used to join them at some point- accompanied by my friends.
As the years went by, my grandfather became sick, cancer…
One day, he called me to his bed on that year’s Pooram day, yet, this time, with a different phrase from the one I was accustomed to hear each year: “I’m Sick this time … Take your brother to Pooram, hold his hand as I was holding yours” and he gave some money and asked me: ‘What will you do with this?’ I explained him that I will buy sweets for our relatives and bring it to their houses. He was content with my answer and asked me to buy sweets for our home as well and some gifts for my sisters.
I was thinking while I was walking with my brother, I didn’t see any colors or any attractions in the Pooram this time. I was realizing he was handing the tradition and responsibility once carried by him on to me! He wanted to make sure that the successor generation will keep in touch with the family just as he was doing it all these years.
After my grandfather passed away, Pooram lost it’s special touch to me.
Even though I’m in Dubai now, each time I plan my vacation in December to experience at least one Pooram in my town.
During the recent years though, I tend to walk through the Pooram festivities with or without friends. But always with some sweet memories in my mind, A Walk to Remember my past.
Digital Landlord at Pomegranate Institute