During the Onam day, the womenfolk of the house were preparing the feast. Towards the final stages of cooking, they noticed insufficent pappadams. One of the elders decided to send the boy to get more pappadams.
The boy started off happily. He walked two kilometers to one of the best pappadam sellers. The best was located near his aunt’s house. On the way back after buying the pappadam, he halted at his aunt’s place.
As soon as he saw his cousins and aunt, he forgot about the job that was entrusted to him. He had a rollicking time with his cousins. He also ate the Onam lunch at his aunt’s house.
When he returned home after the sumptuous meal, his father confronted him.
I vaguely recollect the rest of the story. The boy might have got slapped or caned. I’m not sure. This is a favorite Onam story narrated at all Onam gatherings during my childhood. The narrators changed mostly. There were consecutive years in which the same narrator presented the story. Sometimes, several Onams later, a narrator was given a chance for repeat performance.
The boy in the story is my dad and this happened during his younger days. When I was a small kid, I listened wide-eyed as the hero in the story was my dad. As I grew older, I realized my dad was not shown in the best light. So, I was mostly cross with the narrator. When I became an adult, and after losing my dad, I finally made peace with this story.
My dad spent most of his life as an expatriate. So, he was away during most Onams. His siblings missed him dearly and this was the most funniest and warmest memory they had of him during Onam. So, they tirelessly recounted this one Onam after another.
Like many Onams, I will be miles away from where this story will be recounted for the umpteenth time. But I can sense the laughter and the smiles during the lunch after the narration of the story.
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