Friday, March 24, 2006

Pangunipongal - Maavilakku - II

Prescript: Senthil is the central character in this post

“Dei, have you booked a terrace”? Murugan is the man of resources in our group. “What for”? “How are you going to watch maavilakku today”? “Loosu, there is no fun in watching maavilaaku from terrace. I toldya, don’t include these school-going makku (stupid) boys in our group. They lack common sense”. That hurts. I don’t dare to ask another question. I just have to follow him. Raasa comes in help. “We will go around and around, walk with the maavilakku. That way, you can have more fun”. “What? No., I am not walking with maavilakku (procession). Akkaa is carrying maavilakku today and the whole clan is getting ready for it. What do you think I am that stupid to walk with them”? “I toldya”. Murugan laughs. Others join. Raasaa helps again. “Loosu, we will walk separate totally outside the procession”. Then how will you get to see things? I don’t want to ask another question. I will ask Raasa later.

I have to get ready. House is in total chaos. They are really making big fuss about akka carrying maavilakku. That loosu (akka) is also making fuss about it. She is not letting me get ready. Always a pain, she is. “I am going to take bath first. I am getting late. You can do it later”. Fight for the bathroom. “Where are you going? What late? What do you have to do”? Nosy! “Senthil”. Raasa is outside. “Raasa, what are you going to do? Why is he telling you are all getting late? What is the plan”? I signed him not to tell her. “Raaasa, come inside. Where is your mom? Has she ground rice? We need another ulakkai”, mother. “Have you had food? Come, I have some idly for you”. Aachchi. “Aachchi, I have finished lunch. I did eat idly for breakfast”. Raasa replies to the eldest questioner. “Come let us go”, I have finished. “Eeh, did you eat your lunch? Look at him, he has finished his lunch. Where are you going without eating”? Aachchi’s voice slowly disappears, as we run. “Where are we going? There is still time for maavilakku”. “We will have to find who is sponsoring oil today. We have to become volunteers to distribute oil”. What? If we work, how are we going to enjoy? I am not going to ask that.

Oil sponsors have linked us with some other big guys who each will be the in-charge for a big oil andaa (tall cylindrical big brass vessel, equivalent to barrel). We have to fill thukku’s when the public brings one for a refill. We will move along with the procession. There are few groups. Our leaders (big guys), and our distribution points are explained to us. Ok. Joot (run).

“Sinnangulam maavilakku has come, it has come” someone is shouting. Karakam has started. "Look, it is your family in the front. Looks like lathaakka’s maavilakku is the first in the line”. Oh god, she will be bragging all day tomorrow. Hope there are enough entertainments outside tomorrow. I can’t see her. She is surrounded by Chithi, Amma, Selvikka and the whole clan. There is no distribution point here. They don’t need refill yet. The line moves towards the temple. We run to the temple to join our group. It is still twilight. The real thing starts after it gets dark. We wait.

I finally got their plan. The distribution starts only after sometime the line has moved, as people come with their own oil in their thukku’s and already the vilakkus have oil in them so they last for sometime. This gives us time to get a glimpse of everything. As there are few groups, we are not constantly distributing. When it is not our point/location, we have enough time to enjoy. Big guys refill the andaas (barrels), we have nothing to do with that either. Distributing is fun too. I even went with Murugan when he went to the line itself to refill oil for one family, no, no not for his folks, that girl’s. My god, all those girls are wearing so much gold. Their heads are completely covered with jasmine and kanakaambaram flowers. Murugan was talking all nonsense and was laughing for nothing. He said this is how you get the “close look” and winked.

It is full dark now. Best time of the season. I run. Silambu group leads the whole thing. They play as if they are fighting to entertain the crowd. It is like an art they are doing it. I walk with that group for sometime. Theeppandham group also playing similar art, but it looks one needs more practising to play this. It looks like a magic to keep the pandham (flame) alive and still move it like the way they do. It is windy today. That helps him when he spits fire out of his mouth. Whoo. Fascinating. Aknichatty and aayiranganpaanai are also there. Their lights are very dull in front of the loud maavilakku lights. They are everywhere. Line of lights, few in each, moving slowly, overpower the entire crowd. They take away my “enjoying” mood and calm me down. That’s strange; Yes, it is; Strange. I stop where I am. No more running. The crowd pushes me away from the line. I jump on to a bullock cart. They make some space for me. I stop there and watch. Now I hear the loudspeaker from temple. The kottu goes past us. Silent heads shaking nodding, talking to each other, oils being refilled, exchangers move in and out.. the line moves. Winking lights in each kudam wanders in the wind and moves with the head… “Senthil, Where did you go”? Raasa has spotted me. “Come, let us go. There will be orchestra tonight. We are not going to get a terrace for tonight. They are all fully booked. Murugan has gone to get his brother’s bullock cart. We will have to find a place for it. And we are going to stay there until he comes”. I jump off the cart and there we run.


டி ராஜ்/ DRaj said...

Hi Premalatha:
How old are you and your Bro in this post?

Sibling rivalary is something thats common in our household, aint it? I still remember, how me and my Bro & me and my sis used to fight amongst each other. It is often fuelled by some attention one gets over the other OR during resourse sharing.But it all vanished after I was sent to schools in other towns, where they had hostels. :)

Premalatha said...

We never stopped fihgting. Still do, over the phone. :-)

phantom363 said...


'enna close look & wink'? boys at any age have this curiosity. do girls have the same? :)

you have describe the amaLi so well. i think it a cultural thing for us. any function, and there is chaos, and somehow the order comes out of it. someone said it was organized chaos. i don't know if we are all that organized. there is always a bottleneck with key resources in these situations and everyone is searching for this one person. :)

what a wonderful series of postings. now let us see what is coming next...hmmm.. :)

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