Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Chingam 1


Chingam 1
- brian mendonca

Frigates anchor in Cochin's backwaters
The Southern Naval command
patrols the Arabian.
Panthirunazhi - an offering for the Gods
Spires of St Sebastian reach for the sky.
The Taj Mahal is rivalled in blinding white
On NH 47 students head for Nagercoil.
Appams with egg curry, or Malabar fish curry
swimming in Kariapala - Payasam for dessert.
Of an asylum at Thrissur, the locals are vague
as earnest Malayali poets gather in Kerala House.
Pazhampori, Unniyappam on a superfast bus
From Ernakulam to Trivandrum, you forego your lunch.
Weddings galore on this day of the Kerala New Year.
The credentials of The Hindu are hotly debated.
SIMIngly nefarious designs are hatched at Wagamon
Antony gifts an airforce project for Kasargod.
Mrs Vijayanadhan looks resplendent
in her red-bordered settumundu.
Mundus and umbrellas rule the day.
May this Onam be blessed
(You can also celebrate it in Saudi)
Trivandrum-based trains
thunder on beyond the banana grove.

(Ernakulam-Thiruvananthapuram
Sunday, 17 August 2008)

Glossary
Chingam 1: The first day of the Kerala New Year according to the Malabar calendar, celebrated on 17 August 2008
panthirunazhi: an offering of payasam made with 12 measures of rice, milk and sugar made to Lord Poornathrayeesa of Thripunithura - also to ward off the inauspiciousness of the lunar eclipse on 16 August 2008
Taj Mahal: a mosque of similar appearance on NH 47
appams: fermented rice pancake, also made with toddy
Kariapala: aromatic Curry leaves - a must for South Indian cooking
payasam: sweet dish of Kerala
asylum: the great writer of Kerala, Vaikom Mohammad Basheer (1908-1994) is believed to have spent some time in the Ayurvedic Mental Sanatorium, Chiyyaram, Thrissur (Indian Literature, New Delhi, vol. 245, May-June 2008)
Pazhampori: ripe Kerala banana, fried in batter made of flour (maida)
Unniyappam: Kerala sweet made from rice, flour and shredded coconut. This sweet and pazahampori were served with much fanfare on the 2644 Nizamuddin-Tiruvananthapuram Swarna Jayanti Express train bound for Thiruvananthapuram
Wagamon: hill station in Kerala on the Kottayam-Idduki border (See Hindu report, 17 August, 2008, Kerala edition)
Antony, A K: India's Union Defense Minister from Kerala lays the foundation stone for a manufacturing unit of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) at Kasargod in North Kerala (Hindu, 18 August, 2008, Kerala edition)
settumundu: off-white handloom sari with border worn in Kerala
Saudi: reference to a billboard in which Mohanlal - a popular actor in Malayalam, and a national award winner - invites people to celebrate Onam with him in Dubai
Onam: National festival of Kerala. Celebrates the homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali and is an annual harvest festival
-----------------------------------------------------
Image courtesy : Villa in Thripunithura, Hill road, Ernakulam
Gloss courtesy : Mr C G Vijayanadhan, Ernakulam for panthirunazhi and the significance of Chingam 1

No comments: