I have been away from regular blogging for quite some time now, due to travel, personal exigencies and a job change. Wells, things are settled a bit now, and what better time to restart than this auspicious weekend, when Vishu (the Kerala new year) and Easter come together?
Vishu is always a new beginning for us Malayalees. We wake up before the sun, and see good things as first thing in the morning – called ‘kani’ (കണി) – fruits, vegetables, gold, an image or idol of Krishna, a piece of new cloth… hoping the new year will bring prosperity. Then there are fireworks until daybreak. The young ones get money from the elders – kaineettam (കൈനീട്ടം); literally, “handout” – and then we have our sumptuous afternoon feast: the “sadya” (സദ്യ). We hope for the same level of prosperity during the whole year – makes sense to a predominantly agrarian culture.
Easter is also a new beginning for mankind. In the traditionalist literal Christian narrative, it is the historic day when Jesus Christ arose from the dead and ascended to heaven, thus opening the way for the salvation of man. If we go to the pagan roots of the festival, it is the perennial regeneration of the sacred king, murdered and rejuvenated in perpetuity – Christianity destroyed the concept of cyclical time and established its myth in linearity. Easter is also celebrated with feasting after a month of austerity.
On the personal front, I have completed about thirteen years of life as an expatriate and is finally coming back to live in my hometown. A long-cherished dream of a personal library is also has finally come true. So it’s a new beginning for me as well: a new phase of life in which I will slowly withdraw from active life and move into a life of contemplation. Vanaprastha, the third phase of a man’s life according to the Indian ethos, is just around the corner.
So let my blog also take on a new lease of life on this day of renewal!