Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Pettikattal or packing
Going on leave to India for people in the Gulf is an occasion ,
even though these days it is not a big deal as things are convinient and one can fly at ones whim if the timing is correct .
Earlier the interval was longer and the preparation was also elaborate
Those days one had to buy the mandatory foriegene things for the near and kin as India was starved of such goodies
Today it like taking coal to Lancashire as almost everything is available there and sometimes with better choices too !
As I was packing today for my trip tomorrow my friend Biju came to put some items in a carton and pack it neatly .
Biju was an expert in so many things and neat packing was his forte ,and he was a boon to a clumsy person like me
As we packed Biju was recounting on the yesteryear Dubai when packing was an event by itself .
It was called Pettikattal or tying the bags !
most of them used to use cartons to pack all the nitty gritty they bought and there were some experts who were sought after for the act .
This was very common among the workers who used to go home once in say two or three years and had a lot to pack
The D Day was usually the eve of departure and many friends used to come to the room of the person who was going home for the pettikattal event .
some experts even came long distances for it ,
It would begin usually in the dusk and many would be fortified by a peg or two ,there would be hoots of laughter at the selection of things bought and the traveller would be the butt of many jokes ,it was a happy occasion indeed for all including the friends who werent going as they anticipated thier D Days and it would end with a sumptous dinner and lot of back tapping .
some experts in pettikattal prided that the bags they packed were never opened by the customs ! ( rememebr those were the days that the customs stripped all bags and left it like that so much so that the bag owner disgusted at the long act of waiting and worry over paying duty just put them all together in heap and lugged them home )
One hardly finds such incidents these days !
I asked one of the old timers about this pettikattal as it intrigued me ,
Mr Ummer a Gulf vetran working in Abudhabi university told me during pettikattal some even put old torn underwears , old khuboos or torn lungies along with the packed items so that the friend got an emabarassing shock when he unpacked them in front of an adoring family !
there was lot of fun and frolic and it was a gay event indeed .
so today with my "pettikattal "over I thought i will pen this before I start home tomorrow !
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