With a single line, Angela Goraphy shatters all the images you may have built of an American-born desi. She switches to the language of her parents — Malayalam — like a native who never left Kerala. Sitting in her New York apartment, Angela, who was crowned Miss India Washington three years ago, talks of Onam, and how she found a way to be with her family, sitting miles away through Facetime.
“When I get online from New York and my family does from Washington DC, we eat our Onam-special meals together,” Angela says. This is the first Onam she is spending away from family. Ironically, when they were all at the same place they didn’t celebrated Onam like this, cooking together, sitting together, chatting together. It had to take Angela more than 200 miles away for that to happen.
This is not the first time she has gone online to chat with her kin sitting miles away for Onam. She has been doing that with cousins back home in India, but this is the first time they all ate together. “It was 7 pm in Washington DC and 10 pm in New York. My mom, dad and brother came online with their full-fledged sadya that mom made, arranged beautifully on banana leaves. I could only make a couple of curries and rice and put them on a paper plate. But it felt great, eating together,” she says. She added in the chips she bought, while missing the homemade ones made by her mom.
After the sadya, they spent a long time updating each other with what’s been going on. She says, “I talked of the Onam programmes in New York that would be happening every weekend. The Onam celebrations here are grander than those in Kerala!”
Back at home, this had never been the case. They’d sit to eat and then go their separate ways to their separate worlds. But the year before, Angela made sure they’d have a full-fledged sadya. “I knew I was going to be away next Onam,” she says....