The boy who went for pappadam

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.

Happy Onam!

Picture Courtesy:

Tags: Musings,Dad,Onam


  1. Elementary no? We all pass through the stages of life where,as humans, we have to deal with miseries of life. Now does this story make you smile now? I'm sure in a few years time it will, even though now it might just be a bit melancholic.

    I've heard the tales of my dad too, and how he has been when he was younger. Onam brings the family together and it is an occasion to listen to the past. I think now we have reached a stage where we now talk, instead of listening. Thats what I gather from your post.

    Nice read anyway. :)


  2. Happy Onam Nona. The story is beautiful.

    Nice to see you 've visited my blog. Sorry for taking so much time coming here. was on a blog break.

  3. @ScorpioGenius - The story now leaves a sense of melancholy as dad is no longer with us. But you are correct on the stage. Now, I have become more talking as I'm oldest in the group.

    @ColorMeSunshine - Thank you. Welcome back from the break!

  4. Happy Onam Nona.. Very touching story.. Life gives and take many things. we need to find the joy between these.. Good luck!!

  5. Nice nostalgia to go with the festive spirit. HAPPY ONAM to you & family Nona

  6. Some tales have the ability to become so huge in families that generations grow up hearing them. They become a big source of entertainment and joy. I am glad your father was able to bring laughter in some people, though unintentionally.
    Happy Onam to you. Please let us know what all you ate.Food is the most important part of our festivals.

  7. @Swatantra - Thanks. Happy Onam to you too.

    @Vaz - Yes, the festive season brings in the nostalgia. Happy Onam to you too.

    @Aparna - Rightly said. Thanks.
    There was a big feast at home. But I had a very bland lunch. But when I came home, I was treated royally. The feast was vegetarian consisting of parippu(dal), pappadam, three varieties of dry vegetable dishes(cabbage thoran, kovakka thoran and one more), theeyal(curry), pulissery(kadi) and payasam(kheer). I'm stuffed now!

  8. happy onam:)
    what is included in the feasts? the popadums are so famous...i've never tried them

  9. Hi Nona,

    You can add my blog to your reader now it will show the updated post.. I have rectified the issue.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  10. Wish you a very Happy Onam. Nice post. I love pappadam very much and eat almost everyday with dal. I enjoyed reading your beautiful story. Hope you had Onasadya. I missed it.

  11. Wish you a happy (if rather homesick) Onam. the way the memories of your father's adventure had been passed on, added a melancholy-sweet flavour to this poppadam story.

  12. @Neha - The pappadam is almost the same as papad. Instead of roasting it, we deep fry it.

    @Swatantra - I will add again and let you know.

    @Babli - Thanks. I had a late Ona sadya. :)

    @Sucharita - Thanks. :)

  13. Agree with Aparna, our family has a lot of such tales..which are told endlessly and enjoyed endlessly too..this one reminded me of those. Happy Onam to you.

  14. @Sujata - Thank you. And you should write about these on your blog.


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