Of a new year, new beginnings and all that is wonderful- Vishu

I have never missed a single Vishu Kani in my life.  Without my realising it, keeping a Vishu Kani was one non negotiable thing that I did every year even after moving out of my parents home. Kani was basically keeping all the symbols of prosperity- grains and fruits, money, new clothes and jewelry and Lord Krishna (for blessings of a higher power)in one place and starting your year by seeing that. My earliest recollection of Vishu is of my father gently waking me up, keeping my eyes covered and walking me to the puja place where the kani was kept, of playing with a bunch of coins after which he would give me the Vishu Kaineetam-This was one festival where the elders would give the youngsters money. I remember my brother and I would compete to see who got the most money but for most part, the elders gave us the same amount (sigh! apparently equality trumped being the older one here). But this year, I am particularly nostalgic because it is the first Vishu, since my grandmom passed on. I used to call her and wish her and she would say “aah! Aayikote Aayikote! happy vishu!” A lot my love of certain traditions, of this festival have all come from her. A master story teller, she would weave tales from mythology and her childhood to teach us the importance of the various traditions. My aunt and I would sit around talking to her while she set up the Kani and then wait for her to come tell us a story that was connected to Vishu. Sometimes she would tell us those stories while setting everything up for Kani. This year, it’s just the husband and I. Kids are enjoying a summer break at their grandparent’s. Vishu Kani all done, a prayer of immense gratitude sent up..I’m sitting here eyes closed, feeling a little emotional and nostalgic.. memories drift in and out.

Vishu- for me is a lot of things…

my favourite festival…

it’s a time of new beginnings…

of feeling loved…

of kani and family traditions,

of good food,

of the joy of receiving money,

and just feeling incredibly happy.

It is also about some wonderful memories…

The smell of a 100 rupee note my achachan gave me,

my dad putting a bunch of coins in my hand and then checking how many were head up,

of mom setting up the Kani and blessing me saying that the new year would bring immense happiness and success for me…

It is the exact same blessing i whisper in my kids’ ears now..

Funny how things stick in your head .. and how traditions get passed on.

Of my brother and I competing to see who gets more money.

The smell of til oil and ghee lamps

and of seeing Guruvayurappan by lamp light…

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The smell of a wet morning because it would have invariably rained the previous night especially in Kerala

The excitement of wearing new clothes…

of having some fabulous sadya (feast)

It’s made me realise how the meaning of Vishu has changed for me over the years… it was just a fun festival where we got money and new clothes and had good food while I was growing up. But  in the last few years, it’s been about being thankful and of basking in the love of family. It’s been about telling my kids the stories and passing the traditions on. It’s been about truly treasuring the people who matter and making an effort to keep in touch.

Happy Vishu, people. May it bring prosperity, love, success and everything that makes your heart truly happy.

I send a prayer of gratitude up for all my blessings..

and think of my grandmom.

And a little memory whispers-  “Aayikote Aayikote! Happy Vishu”


5 thoughts on “Of a new year, new beginnings and all that is wonderful- Vishu

  1. Your post evokes memories of ‘vishus’ gone by. Somehow, ‘modern vishu’ isn’t the same anymore. Or so I feel.
    It’s amazing that you have the memories though. And you’ve described all of it so perfectly.


    • I totally get what you are saying, Sid. Of course it isn’t the same. We don’t even get crackers here now. They way I keep Kani is my interpretation of it. Not the exact traditional one. I don’t have a valkannadi at home 🙂 ( I need to get one though.) . Vishu doesn’t feel the same, because the world is different now. I love this tradition and do my bit to keep it alive for my kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Vishu for all the reasons you described above. I have only been celebrating it for the last 14 years since I married into a Palakkad household, but it is a tradition I cherish and gladly pass on to my daughter who revels in the whole ceremony that you have described so beautifully. That and everything it stands for. Such beauty. And lovely pictures too!


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