Today is Onam. A festival celebrated by Malayalis from Kerala, a state in the South West of India. Regular readers of this blog will recollect that I have deep connections with Kerala, my late mother having been born there and apart from that, my having lived there for many years apart from visiting it in depth many times. I have friends there and also many Malayali diaspora friends and since morning have been flooded with Onam greeting messages which I have had to respond to.
While that part of the post was easy to create and write the next part is a little difficult. There are a number of families in India, who have suffered greatly during the lockdowns due to the pandemic and one of them is an entrepreneur who lives in my neighbourhood. She had to close down a small restaurant that she was running due to the lockdown. Unable to come out of the deep financial losses to restart her business, she has taken to cooking food at home and supplying to people desiring her specialities among them being food from Kerala.
A few days ago, a mutual friend had suggested to me to extend some support to this lady and since Onam was coming up I placed an order for two Onam specialities to be delivered to me today. The top image is of Ela Ada and the lower one of Palada Pradhaman. These two dishes were duly delivered this morning well in time for consuming during lunch and my son and I thoroughly enjoyed both dishes. Enough has been refrigerated for the DIL to have for her dinner on her return from work.
None of us are quite capable anymore of partaking traditional Onam meal like the one shown below, served on a plantain leaf.
I am not a great fan of Tony Blair but, this quote from him resonates with me in our current pandemic situation.
India is in the midst of a rampant second wave of the pandemic and unfortunately this has coincided with state elections in some of our states as well as the Kumbh Mela.
Our politicians have been holding rallies in the states that went to the polls and attendance was simply mind-boggling. Likewise, the Kumbh Mela saw huge crowds of people taking the holy dip and this too was scary.
From these huge gatherings, people could become carriers of the pandemic and contribute to further aggravating the already severe conditions in our country. Hospital beds and oxygen are in short supply as well as shortage of vaccines.
I for one am appalled at the lack of civic sense shown by our leaders as well as common people who have allowed tradition to overrule common sense.
“Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain.”
~ Friedrich Schiller.
This is my take on this week’s Friday 4 On 1 blog posts where Conrad, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been suggested by me. Please do go over to the other two blogs to see what they have to say on the same topic. Thank you.
Two local businesses gave me service of exceptional nature including going out of their way to deliver their products at home for me, considering my senior citizen plus vulnerable status. These two businesses however have to remain anonymous but I shall use the names using their initials so that I can send a link to this post to them to convey my gratitude.
The first one involves many people. I wanted a Kerala speciality normally not available in local shops and thought it best to approach a friend in Mumbai PJ, who had relatives in Pune to get information of a shop that would sell this speciality. He promptly got it for me from his relatives here, with the shop’s phone number. I rang up the shop and spoke to the owner. Mr F in Malayalam and expressed my need to him. I also enquired if he could arrange for home delivery explaining my situation to him. He promptly assured me that he would arrange for home delivery and he made good his promise by late evening. I thanked the person who came to deliver and discovered that he was Mr.R, the brother of the person that I had spoken to and that they were both partners in the shop.
To say that I was zapped is an understatement.
The next one was even more strange. I wanted something that is typically Maharashtrian and found a shop that sells this in the heart of our city. I rang them up and spoke to the owner HH and after exchanging of a few WhatsApp messages, I placed an order to be despatched to me by Indian Post’s Speed Post service.
The next morning, I received a phone call from HH who said that he was very near my residence and wanted directions to it so that he can deliver the material that I had ordered. He duly came and delivered the package after showing me various options that he had brought with him. I placed a further order on him which he said he would deliver again when he next came near my neighbourhood which he did regularly to visit some others for personal reasons.
Here again, I was overwhelmed with the consideration shown by the young man.
This is my little way of expressing my gratitude to these four people who came to my rescue during difficult times.
I hope that this inspires some others to write about good customer service and to inform the people who extended the same.
A friend posted this news item in a WhatsApp group and I was reminded of two stories.
With the first story in mind, I commented on the post with my comment “Mysterious things can happen!” and gave a link to this village, Kodinhi in Kerala, a state in our South West. Don’t you think that it is an amazing phenomenon?
The next story is personal. My late wife and my cousin both delivered sons on the same day with just twenty minutes difference in the times. When all of us lived in Mumbai, their joint birthday celebrations were routine. On every such occasion, my cousin’s late husband used to wonder at the coincidence with some snide comments that I leave to my readers to imagine.
The Jack in the jack fruit is derived from the Malayalam word Chakka for it. It is one of my all time favourites and I gorge on it whenever it is available. I love to eat the fruit as well its seed after boiling and removing the hard cover from the seed. One of the reasons that we don’t get much of it in many homes is the mess one makes while removing the outer cover to get at the wedges.
During the lockdown, our help were not coming to work and I thought that I would at least get the seeds from a dear friends and ex colleagues from Kerala who has a few trees growing in his garden in Kerala. While they were ready and only too willing to oblige, the courier companies and the post office unfortunately were not willing to accept packages for destinations in our state. So, I had to inform them that I shall bug them next year by which time hopefully the lockdown would have been removed everywhere.
I still craved for the seeds in particular and I think that this is where the Law Of Attraction kicked in. My daughter in love’s mother had procured two fruits and today, one of them was cut open by one of the maids who has been allowed to come to work. The surprise was that the fruit was from a tree in the garden of my daughter in love’s maternal home in Pune. I got my wish fulfilled and these seeds shown here are about to be boiled and covers removed so that I can have my favourite snack.
caused by forces that cannot be explained by science: Ghosts and evil spirits are supernatural. She is said to have supernatural powers and to be able to communicate with the dead. ———————————————————–
This Friday’s Two On One topic has been chosen by Shackman who perhaps has been influenced by the highly popular television serial of the same name! I have never seen it nor have any intention of seeing it in the future.
I personally have no experience of the supernatural nor have I met anyone who has had one. I have heard vague stories without any proof and have never taken the subject seriously except once in the Southern State of Kerala, when after an evening of swapping stories at a club’s bar up in the Munnar Hills, on a dare I spent a night in the verandah of an abandoned bungalow which was reputed to be haunted.
I slept blissfully without even a dream and woke up with a hangover, not due to any supernatural forces but due to the previous evenings excess. I proved to the sceptics among my hosts that the haunted story must have been planted by someone interested in the real estate and since nothing happened to me, perhaps, they should have a good strong look at what is the story behind the rumours and beliefs.
Having shared that piece of my experience, let me conclude this post by saying that since I have neither belief nor personal experience of any supernatural phenomenon, I have nothing further to say in the matter.
I am sure that Shackman will have something/s more interesting to say and request my readers to go over to his blog to read that.