Monday, September 8, 2008

The god of hope vs the god of the market

Come Onam and it’s not only the colour and the celebration one notices but the over flowing of television sets and fridges and every appliance you can think of, onto the market place. Shops start stocking stuff outside the parameters of the shop because they don’t want to miss out on the big sale bonanza benefits!

The same goes with all festivities. Festivals and celebrations are constructed anew by greeting card companies who will create a craving which then will have to be satiated by the people (us) when they buy the products of the concerned company. This leads us to the question, what are festivals like Onam supposed to be? Is it a time of hope or a time of celebrating our wealth (which in many cases is only perceived wealth because we buy using loans!)?

Therefore Onam which is supposed to be a time of rekindling the hope that society has in equality, justice and peace, is over shadowed by advertisement gimmicks and sops meant to take our minds away from the God of hope and make us allign with the god of the market. So stories of hope have not disappeared. It’s just that they are now given good competition by the stories of celebration and festivities.

I searched for a story for my children
Not archies, or cartoons nor pogo
I strained to tell them about Onam
And Mahabali and Keralam
Little did I know what I was up against
And open mouthed was I when they said
‘Isn’t that the guy who stands outside the shops
Begging us to shop till we drop?’

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