Malayalis across the world are excitedly looking forward to Onam — Kerala’s harvest festival and the annual occasion when all the family members get together for a celebration. The festivities that lead to Thiruonam (the main day) are nothing less than fascinating, with women making beautiful and elaborate pookalams (floral rangolis) in front of their houses, the traditional elaborate meal — Onam Sadhya and the many sweet dishes that follow. As interesting as these traditions are the stories behind Onam. According to popular legend, Vamana (Lord Vishnu disguised as a brahmin as one of the Dashavatars) asked Maveli, the big-bellied emperor in the Kerala region for three pieces of land to take three steps. He gave the brahmin the heaven, the earth and his head to step on to.
The brahmin did just that, but by keeping his third step on Maveli’s head, he pushed the king into the ground. It is said, the king was granted a wish in return by the Vamana that he could visit his subjects once every year. That is the day celebrated by Malayalis worldwide as Onam. Last year, however, when the king was on his usual round of visit to Kerala, he was in for a surprise, a rather dangerous one at that, too. When Maveli cheerfully landed in God’s Own Country, he saw a whimpering little stray dog and took to him with love. Only that, the dog had other vicious plans in mind.
A video called Run Maveli Run, released in 2015, has gone viral again this year. It shows the king almost getting bitten by dogs, but managing to escape unscathed every time. The video, made by AdEyes Animation Studio, will leave will leave you hanging for more, just like it does Maveli, literally.
Fancy ze cool Maveli with glasses, eh?