From time immemorial, come rain or sunshine, I, Mahabali, have been regularly visiting Kerala all these umpteen years without fail. Suppose I happen to miss a single visit, utter chaos will prevail.
The Government will declare, ‘No Mahabali, No Onam, No Bonus.’ My effigy would be burnt in every nook and cranny of Kerala. Curse would be flung at me. But curse is something I am quite used to. It was after all a mighty curse which has landed me in this predicament.
So I feel it is my divine duty to meet and greet all Keralites on the D-Day. They in turn vie with one another to welcome me with grand floral decorations. But of late the large floral spreads have been diminished in size. The reason being the soaring prices of flowers almost competing with the prices of gold. So often fresh flowers are replaced by artificial.Real or artificial, my subjects know that I love all things bright and beautiful and all humans great and small.
Next what awaits me is the sumptuous feast. I love payasams, the white ones, the brown ones et al. But woe to me, gulping down the delicious liquid cup after cup has left me a chronic diabetes patient.I appeal to all my well-wishers to serve me in future only sugar-free payasams so that I can gulp down the whole lot without feeling guilty.
My woes do not end here. Come rain or sunshine I have to eternally carry my palm leaf umbrella, which is as big as a dish antenna. Can you imagine a Gandhiji without his walking stick or a Nehru minus the red rose? In the same way this huge umbrella happens to be the trade mark of a Mahabali. To add to my woes, it is unfoldable and remains in the ‘Open Sesame.’ Are you listening Ali Baba? On my next visit I am hoping my devotees would gift me with the fancy light weight umbrella, the size of a Tom Thumb.
Dear Malayalis, my next woe is regarding my heavy, outdated weird costume in red and gold. To add to my misery I have to wear a heavy-weight gold crown which often gives me a bad headache. If I lift my crown, my white fluffy hair would be revealed and along with the red and gold costume I would have been easily mistaken for a Santa Claus. Also as I step inside the Kerala soil, I come across so many people dressed as Mahabalis roaming up and down the streets. That is why it is imperative that a change of costume is a must, to distinguish the real Mahabali from the fake ones.
And before I take leave of you folks, I wish you all a happy, healthy and a shavarma- free onam. One more request please, how about offering me a non-veg Onam lunch next year in keeping with my new avatar.
(The views in the article are the author’s own)