You Don’t Share Your Onam Sadhya! Except Maybe With These 5 Mallus

I’m possessive about my Onam Sadhya, but here are 5 Keralites I don’t mind sharing it with.

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You Don’t Share Your Onam Sadhya! Except Maybe With These 5 Mallus
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(This story is from The Quints archives and was first published on 25 August 2015 to mark Onam celebrations. We’re bringing it back this year to get you off to a festive start.)

Okay, quick word association game.

One, two, three, GO – ‘Onam’

Prathaman Boat Race Pappadam KaikuththukaLi Aviyal Theyyam Parippu Sambar-KaaLan-OLan-Eriseri-Thoran-Uperi-Puliyinchi-GASTRONOMIC ECSTASY!!!!!

Sorry about that. I started off alternating a Sadhya item with a festive tradition in my mind. After the first two, I couldn’t get past the ‘Sadhya’.

(pregnant pause)

Did you just ask what a ‘Sadhya’ is?

<face palm>


Of Onam: The Carnival of Culinary Beauty

Since Onam is here, I forgive your lack of awareness of the BIGGEST MOST COLOURFUL TABLEAU OF TRADITIONAL SOUTH INDIAN CUISINE ON A BANANA LEAF EVER. (I swear it wasn’t me, the keyboard caps locked itself. You deserve it though.)

This is what the ‘Sadhya’ or the traditional Onam feast replete with over 24 items looks like.

The scrumptious Sadhya.
(Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

Though Onam celebrates and commemorates a beautiful story from Hindu mythology, the festival is all inclusive. It has been so, even before it was commercialised by gold shops, and online stores through festive sales and discounts.

Irrespective of race, religion or demographic, the spirit of the festival embraces all and is shared by everyone.


Five Keralites I Don’t Mind Sharing my Sadhya With

The Onam Sadhya, though, is a different matter. It has been observed that on Onam Day each year, the bellies of all those who have partaken in, observed or even heard of the Sadhya, traditionally and magically distend further to accommodate this feasts.

There has never been and never will be any sharing involved.

As the saying goes: Mi platano hoja ‘NO’ su platano hoja. (my banana leaf is NOT your banana leaf)

And yet, this year, I feel like making a few exceptions. So here are the five denizens from God’s Own Country, with whom I don’t mind sharing my Sadhya:

1. Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan in character for the movie The Dirty Picture in 2011. 
(Photo: Yogen Shah)

For her massive contributions to the film industry, to her fine acting chops and her voice that is to the ears what perfectly thickened jackfruit-jaggery-coconut milk Pradhaman is to the palate.

2. Verghese Kurien

Dr Verghese Kurien, ‘The Father of the White Revolution’. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Dr Verghese Kurien)

For being a kickass social entrepreneur, the utterly butterly one-liners, pioneering crowd-funding in Indian films (Manthan was financed by dairy farmers who gave Rs 2 each) and for that delectable bane of diet control – Mithai Mate.

3. PT Usha

Track and field legend PT Usha.
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/PT Usha)

For making me assume that the PT Period in school stood for her initials. And for making passionate sense in all of her interviews.

4. KS Chitra

KS Chitra, Indian playback singer from Kerala.
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/KS Chitra)

For giving me goosebumps every time she even begins to hum a tune. Chitra Chechi, if you’re reading this: You Are Awesome!

5. M Night Shyamalan

Indian-American Hollywood director Manoj Night Shyamalan. 
(Photo: Reuters)

For Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, I shall feed him two pieces of fresh fried uperi (banana chips) and a morsel of steaming rice mixed in salted parippu (boiled lentils) and fragrant ghee.

For everything else, I will accidentally smear lemon pickle on his nose.

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Topics:  Vidya Balan   onam   Sadhya 

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