Onam: The State festival of Kerala
Onam is a harvest festival celebrated by the Malayali people of Kerala. It is a state festival which falls during the Malayalam month of Chingam (either in August or September) according to Malayalam calendar. The festival commemorates the Vamana avatar of Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali. The Malayalis celebrate this festival with unity without the difference of caste and religion.
Onam is a celebration of ten days. The festival is marked by various sports and festivities in Kerala, including worshiping, music, dances, games and boat races. People put flower mats in front of their houses on this day, to welcome the King Mahabali. Onam is celebrated with lots of cultural elements. This festival is the most important harvest festival of Kerala. Keralites all over the world celebrate this festival with great pomp and gaiety.
As we look back through our ancient history, Onam was started as a celebration venerating one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu – Vamana. Lord Vishnu disguised himself as a Brahmin and visited the Yaagam conducted by the great King of Kerala at that time, Mahabali. Mahabali promised to give anything requested during the Yaagam. Vamana, the great Brahmin claimed three paces of land from Mahabali. The Brahmin grew so huge and claimed the earth and the heaven with just two footsteps. With one more footstep waiting to be given, Mahabali gave himself to the Brahmin as a mark of his word. Once in a year, Mahabali promised to visit his people’s home and so came into custom the great festival, Onam.
Not just Hindus, but Muslims and Christians too celebrate Onam, as it is a secular festival.
Follow healthy lifestyle during monsoon
A good healthy diet and simple life style is all you need to tackle the fury of monsoons which otherwise bring a lot of joy in our lives. Rains can be fun but it does bring along with it some monsoon related health issues which one needs to be careful. Being cold during rains means we drink less water and we need to be hydrated all time by consuming lots of fluid whenever needed. Dietary habits are important due to leas physical activity as we normally skip our regular walks and jogging during heavy rainfall. Yoga, free hand exercises at home and meditation would work wonders to keep oneself fit both physically and mentally as well.
Medicines for common cold and monsoon related ailments like fever, rashes and allergies should be kept handy. Keep yourself dry at all times as most of the diseases including the common cold is due to wetness. A balanced diet of proteins and avoiding fried items are magic ‘mantras’ to keep you healthy during monsoons. Always keep extra pair of clothing and rain wear to withstand showers which are unpredictable!
Take steps to revive auto sector
The recent crisis of slowdown in auto sector needs an immediate overhaul with a strong action plan by the Government. The recently elected NDA government is now poised with an immediate challenge post elections to look into the slow down issue affecting the auto sector. The same wasn’t anticipated prior to elections as the situation was normal earlier.
There is a need for increased efforts to bring in necessary industry reliefs by government and one should not merely look at assurances to settle down. There is a high demand to re-look GST provisions and Finance Ministry should involve actively to bring down GST rates in auto industry. Both the Finance Ministry and Ministry of Transport and Highways should engage actively and quickly expedite necessary process to bring down GST rates to enable auto sector come out unscathed from the crisis.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)