Monday, 10 August 2015

From Grandpa with Love...

Shuffling through old papers, I came across a letter written by my father in law to my elder son,Manas who was then three months short of his 10th birthday.I found it interesting as unlike the usual letters it contained anecdotes on the celebration of the Onam festival.As Onam is just around the corner, I thought of  sharing this with the readers.Hope you like it...


My dear Chindu
You have written a nice letter.Did you write it yourself or did mother help you? I liked it very much.You write well in English.So I thought I will write to you again. But I have nothing new to write..
Today is 'Atham', the first day of Onam celebration.You know we put flowers in circles in front of the house.Do you do it there? Do you get flowers in the fields outside?

When I was a boy,we used to go out in to the fields to collect flowers At that time there were wastelands and bare hills outside.Wild plants and flowers were in plenty.We had small bamboo baskets to gather the flowers- Kadali, Kongini(Kingini),Thumba, Thottavadi(Touch me not), Mukkui,Pannipoo were some of the wild flowers we got.

Then we have balsam,chembararathi,wadamalli,mathapoo and merrigold from the garden.We draw a circle or star design and arrange different coloured flowersin it.Then we go to the neighbouring houses to see how they have done it.The next day we gather more flowers and make better designs.This we used to do for ten days.On the 10th day we have Onam.

There is gaiety and rejoicing in the homes.Relatives and children from other houses come and we have a great time running about and playing.One popular game we play for Onam "Thalapandu."We make a ball with paper or leaves.We did not buy it from the shop.We made our own ball and played. It is just like cricket.In place of 3 stumps, we put one stump.We have two teams- One team stands as fielders to catch the ball.A boy from the opposite side strikes the ball  in different ways , with the  hand, leg, over the head etc.The fielders have to catch the ball.If the ball is caught in the air, the boy is 'out' as in cricket.If not the fielder has to run,get the ball and throw it at the stump from where he stopped it.If the ball strikes the stump it is 'out'. This game we used to play for Onam.

In the house also there is gaiety.We get new clothes to wear, banana chips to eat, pappadam, payasam and a variety of dishes for the Onam meal.After the long rains, the climate is also good.There is sunshine and good weather.

Onam is actually a harvest festival.People get Paddy, banana,beans, chena (Yam), mathanga(melon) etc from the farm.So everybody has plenty of food and all are happy. Onam is celebrated by all Malayalees as their national festival. Do you like reading all this?If you don't understand, ask Amma and she will explain. You write to achachan again and you will soon learn to write letters by yourself without help from mother or anybody else.
Wishing  you and Chikku a happy Onam!
With Love

PS : The Grandfather  (Achachan),T,N,Sankaran is today no more.It is  sweet little lines like these that keep the memory alive..


  1. This is precious! Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. That is amazing! What a find.

  3. Thank you Mridula.As suggested by both of you it is something that can be passed on to the future generations.for whom these celebrations may mean something else.
    My son also celebrated Onam but the flowers were bought from the market while in his grandfather's time the thrill was to go far and wide to collect the flowers themselves...

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  5. Yes, you are right - lines like these keep the memory alive. It was indeed a wonderful read! Thank you for sharing this letter with us!

  6. Thank you Debajyoti for your appreciation and feedback!

  7. This makes you wonder how much do we miss the little joys of life these days :) great read.

  8. Thank you Surabhi for reading and sharing your thoughts on the subject!

  9. That's a precious find. Grandpa's desire to connect with his grandchild is so apparent in the letter, and that makes it a delightful read. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Sweet. He will live on through this letter; especially now that it is up on your blog. :)
    This letter tickled my nostalgia. I had an achachan who was neither my mom's dad or my dad's dad but was my grandfather all the same. :) I used to write to him when I was away in boarding school and he used to write letters quite like this to me. Those letters were packed with knowledge, wisdom, encouragement and love. His letters were longer than my pretty-long letters. (His were the hands that held mine when I wrote my very first letters in rice. :))

    Such a lovely post.

  11. Wow! so happy that this post could invoke sweet memories of your achachan and your bond through letters.

  12. Beautiful Achan! I had completely forgotten about this. You have given those memories new life ��

  13. Thank you Chindu. I presume Voidthought is my elder son Manas :)