Another Avurudu has come and gone, and with it, a number of “relatives”, an unquenchable tiredness and a sense of impending doom. Don’t get me wrong. As a child, I loved the season. I faithfully followed all customs and threatened ayya with bodily harm if he so much as nibbled at a kokis before the nakath time. I was up at 1am, welcoming avurudu; I was up at 8pm welcoming avurudu.
But since of late, I have started to see the hollowness there is to this festival. You spend days upon days cleaning the house, making sweetmeats (if one does that anymore. Most of the people I know are only too happy to drop into the supermarket and buy them on the 12th), and tiring self out. Then on the actual day itself, you starve yourself (hello, gastritis!) and then binge eat on oil and sugar. And then, the cherry on the cake – the “naegam”. You assemble a plate of “kavili” and go over to the neighbours’ house to spread goodwill. But let’s be real: we all know that they will be whispering about the content of your plate just as you are whispering about theirs. You stuff your face with more sugar and oil, gulp down too-sweet tea or a watery juice and then bolt back home, ready to go to the next house.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand the customs behind it. I just don’t understand how the religion and this festival can go hand in hand (in terms of Buddhism – I am not well versed in HIndunism) when The Buddha has preached in Sutta Nipata that one should not practice charms, interpret physical marks, dreams, the stars… I am not religious though. So my reasons to be skeptical about this festival are different. I feel as if it has become a trend now – all an act. You don’t even smile with the neighbour you so warmly worship today; you don’t stop the vehicle if you see him by the road; you don’t even like most of your relatives and put up with them just for the sake of saving face.
I suppose it IS different – I *hope* it’s different out of the city, where you can actually hear the koha, and a swing is put up on a tree. But for me, in my urban little world, where shopping for new clothes in a monthly routine, where I make the effort not to associate negative people who do not understand the life I lead – this facade is a bit too much. But then again, that’s just me.
If you are one of those people who wholeheartedly believe in avurudu (not for the sake of kokis, mind you), I am so happy for you and your beautiful soul. For me, each day is enough to mark a new beginning – and I’m pretty sure the stars can do zilch about my studies if I study at “wada allana nakatha” and scroll through my Twitter TL for the rest of the year.