It was a Vishu eve three years back, our first Vishu after the wedding. M was still at IITM hostel those days and I had joined him at Chennai to celebrate the festival together. Vishu embarks the new year in accordance with the Malayalam calendar. Tradition goes that as we wake up on Vishu morning, we open our eyes to the sight of Vishu kani, which is an arrangement of goodies. It comprises of food item(rice, coconut, fruits, vegetables),new clothes, mirror, gold ornaments, money etc arranged in front of Lord Krishna. The traditional lamp is lighted and adorned with golden kanikonna flowers. This ensures that we have a prosperous time through out the new year.
Since we were staying in guest house, it was arduous to follow the traditional rituals viz, kani and sadya associated with Vishu. Not to be disillusioned, we decided to arrange the kani by all means. We raked our grey cells to come up with an authentic kani. First, we needed a taalam to keep all the goodies. M suggested using his hostel food plate.Cool!! Then we went to the campus shop to buy fruits & vegetables. We decided to buy only the items which we could reuse later. So coconut, rice etc were instantly ruled out. Anyway, we cannot cook them without a kitchen setup. Hence we bought mangoes, apples and cucumber. M picked up a fivestar chocolate bar and was adamant on keeping that as a kani item. He believed that it will ensure a rich supply of chocolates and other junk items through out the year.
Now we needed a lamp. We were in dilemma, as the campus shops did not sell them. Then I had an Eureka moment. I remembered seeing these huge tree near the hostel, which had these hard brown nuts, dangling from it's branches. I had seen these huge nuts with it's case half split open, lying under the tree. That could easily be used as a diya. I could use M's Parachute coconut oil to light it up. For the wick, I tore up some old rags, and rolled it up. Hurray!! The lamp was ready. M was impressed by my creativity..heheee..
There was a fully blossomed kanikonna tree inside the campus. But we could not get the flowers, since the branches were too high and out of reach. Besides jumping under the tree like a maniac, trying to reach the branches, will invite unwanted stares from the students. So we decided to let it go. Instead, I sneaked into the hostel courtyard, unnoticed by the security and plucked the chethi, namyarvattom flowers.. What an evil way to start a new year :)
Only thing missing were gold ornaments. So me and M removed our wedding ring and chain. At midnight, we arranged our kani, kept the alarm for 4 am and hit the bed. And next day morning, we opened our eyes to the most special vishu kani. It was a beautiful Vishu, despite being devoid of sadya and crackers. The excitement and creativity behind bringing together the naive kani made it most memorable Vishu ever.