Asin has never hidden her fondness for her state festival Onam. If you ask her what she loves about the festival, she's quick to rattle off the many images she loves about it — Onasadhya (vegetarian platter) served on banana leaf, payasam, dressing up in pat-pavadas (silk skirts), women in their onakodi (a traditional ivory and gold border saris) and men in their mundus ( lungis).
But the best part of the festival for her was in welcoming Maveli.
“The best part of the day was when Maveli (King Mahabali) came visiting (a la Santa Claus) his subjects' homes,” she had said.
“He would be welcomed with a flower carpet known as the Athapookalam. As kids we would head out early in the morning with our baskets to collect flowers to make the carpet. It used to be so much fun,” she recalled.
Q: What are your favourite memories of Onam? Asin :They are from my childhood in Kerala. We would have traditional Onam celebrations at home, and since I studied at the Naval Public School, I had friends from all over the country; they would all come home.
Q: What was your day like on Onam back in Kerala? Asin :Mornings would be spent collecting fresh flowers, after which I'd play with my friends. I would also take part in the traditional dance.
Q: How do you celebrate Onam in Mumbai? Asin: We don't do much here, except make special food and probably a flower carpet at the entrance of our home. If I'm at home, I usually spend my day watching Onam special Malayalam shows on TV. Sometimes, a few friends come over.
Q: And if you're shooting on the day, do you take some food from home? Asin: I definitely take payasam. But over here, not many people know about the festival. If you're shooting down South (even outside Kerala), then they at least acknowledge it. Here people wish me when they find out.
Q: Do you get any special gifts on Onam? Asin: We just buy new clothes on this day.