Thanks to the Starks, this phrase is now associated with gloom and fear. But for most people I know on this side of the planet, this is a reason to rejoice! Well, this is technically not “winter” in its truest sense. In my books, however, anything below Celsius 20 makes the cut J
Margazhi is the Tamil month from mid December to January when everything nice happens. This is my favourite time of the year. Margazhi. Margazhi. Margazhi. I love saying it, the way it sounds, I think I like the word so much because of the “zh” in it.
Step out early on a margazhi morning (if you manage to pull yourself out of the cozy confines of your bed), you will spot Thirupavai reciting, bhajan singing, bare chested mamas braving the cold, while the mamis are engrossed in adorning their homes elaborate kolams.
Animal prints are not just for the fashionable few on the ramps of Milan. This time of the year is when the sales of the famed ear muff peaks. From Pondy bazaar to Purasawalkam, you will find these camouflage prints in all imaginable colours flying off the shelves. Everyone sports them – the veshti / madisaar clad temple goers, newspaper delivery boys, morning walkers, traffic police constables, maids, school kids, office goers… just everyone.
|Margazhi essentials 1 - The famed ear muffs!|
The ubiquitous mosquito bat – another margazhi essential, sells like hotcake as well. If you visit a normal Chennai household during the month, sometime after sunset, you will find the young and old walking around the house, brandishing this bat with volley like movements. While some prefer to lie low and wait for the kill, others prefer to do a time to time recon to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep.
|Margazhi essentials 2 - The ubiquitous mosquito bat!|
Margazhi is synonymous with the kutcheri season. I am no big rasika, I can barely tell apart one ragam from another, but sabha hopping is THE thing to do in margazhi. People from all over the world flock to Chennai to sabha hop. Do I make it sound like pub hopping? The similarities are many. Much attention is paid to dressing well. The finest silks and the best fragrances are reserved for Margazhi. This is where kanjivaram and jewellery style statements are made. People wait in excited anticipation to listen to the chart toppers of the Carnatic music world, while fresh talent is discussed, debated and critically analysed. At the end of the day, it is all about getting high – high on music, and of late - filter coffee, lip smacking, delectable “tiffin” and fashion!
The lights of Christmas add cheer to the month as well, followed by new year’s. Margazhi comes to a wrap, with massive Pongal celebrations to welcome the next month. Have you enjoyed the sights and sounds of Margazhi in Chennai as yet? If not, it is time you gave it a dekko. There is no month as beautiful and festive as this.