This past week, a tragedy of immense proportions took place in Kerala, where I hail from and the state I have proudly mentioned over and over in my autobiography Rainbows in My Clouds.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about an incident that took over 120 lives when an explosion – sparked by fireworks – gutted down Puttingal Temple in Kollam district during the annual festivities. Temple festivals, as long as I can remember, were incomplete without these firework displays. It is an age old tradition at the temples, meant more for entertainment than appeasing the Gods.
I stayed up late watching the news, trying to absorb everything that was happening. Saying that I was and still am sad, is an understatement. My heart goes out to the victims and their families.
As Kerala was recovering from the shock of this most unexpected and unfortunate tragedy, a new day dawned on the 14th of April, bringing with it a rainbow…another New Year in the Malayalam calendar, giving renewed hope, faith and blessings to the tormented hearts and souls…
So on the 14th of April, Kerala woke up to yet another “Vishu” the festival that signifies the first day of the harvest season, but more importantly to see the “Vishukkani” (the first thing seen after waking up on this day).This consists of a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles intended to signify prosperity around the statue of Lord Krishna in an ambience lit by the traditional lamps called “Nilavilakku”. Even here in Nairobi, we (the Malayalis) saw Vishukkani despite struggling to find all the articles needed, especially the yellow flowers that we call Konnapoovu (Cassia Fistula). You can never take these traditions out of a Malayali. They are forever engrained and entrenched in our DNA.
A week that started on a heartbreaking note has ended up on a joyous one. God Almighty surely has a way of bringing Rainbows in Our Clouds like he did, many a time, in mine!