Mythology: Mahabali was a mighty king in Kerala. He ruled the kingdom so well that even the gods became jealous of the prosperity of his kingdom. Lord Vishnu incarnated as an elf, disguised as a Brahmin and approached Mahabali. He made him swear to grand him three feet of land for meditation. Despite the warning of his teacher, the king granted his request promptly. The elf began to grow suddenly, covering the earth and the heaven with two measures of foot. There was no space for the third measure. In order to keep his promise, the king bowed his head, and he was trodden down to the Underworld. He was allowed to visit his subjects once in a year. This is being celebrated as Onam, the national festival of Kerala. Although it is a story, it has lots of morals.
Along the mossy, spiral steps of weariness
And through the increasing dampness of alienation
Down ………down ……. once more to the underworld
A king in exile! Yea, fine, I lost my crown
Not in a battle, but for upholding honesty.
Am I sad? Nay, Kerala is still the same emerald piece.
With an annual permit I could visit my subjects
O, they are immortal! I see them every year
The same anxiety, sorrow, mirth and ditties
In their, friendly eyes, O they are immortal!
They are innocent, hero-worshippers!
I wonder still they haven’t forgotten me.
Who gets a more warm welcome than I do?
The festival brings them close to my heydays.
‘Don’t trust the elf!’, my teacher had warned
O had I heard it, the last foot of Fate
Would not have trodden me down…down…down
To the underworld, where shadows reign
It was only my head that bowed to cunning
Not my mind, O let me say adieu!
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