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Trivandrum's Onakazhchakal

On the first day of the official Onam celebration week organised by the Tourism department, Yentha went around to take a look at what is happening around town. Here are a few notes that one might be interested to look through.

When we were considerably younger, all the elders used to speak of the Onam celebrations with a common phrase: “Light kanan ponam.” The decorations put up during Onam week is turning into legend. The whole city seems to be illuminated. Every government buildings, hotels, roadsides, and even vehicles seem to be adorned with more lights than any other time of the year.

As is the custom now, Kanakakunu is one main venue for the celebrations. The rest haven’t started yet and will be going off with a blast today. Kanakakunu has its regular visitor, ‘Golden Amusement Park’ back in action. The ‘Well of Death’ (maranakinar)is perhaps the most popular. Years of having the same show here have not had much effect in turning down the crowd. They keep coming, and keep coming. The turnout for the other rides is not worth mentioning.

The board below reads “Bangalore Karimbin Juice.” Freshly squeezed sugar cane juice is available. I wonder what is so special about “Bangalore sugarcane.” It costs 15 rupees for a glass. The curious thing is, there is a stall selling the exact same thing without the “Bangalore”, in the same Kanakakunu grounds, and it costs 20 bucks for a smaller glass.

“PAAMB PAAMB PAAMBEE,” goes the announcement, hoping to gather more people. The guy does announce that this is a technical trick. A girl’s head is attached to what is supposedly a snake’s torso. The girl talks, and even moves her ‘tail’. Her torso is nowhere to be seen. People do try to look under the table, which shows open space. Just how does she do it?

Just near Nishagandhi are two of the ‘Stoopams’ of the many in the Kanakakkunnu grounds. This pair has a large advertisement board hung around them. Onam is coming. Funds need to come. But what comes to mind is our dear old king. Last time we met him, he was still irked about the Tamilians stealing his ancestoral “stoopam” in Tamil Nadu.

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