“Thai pirandhal vazhi pirakkum”, is an adage in Tamil, which roughly translates to “Come the month of Thai, doors of opportunities would open”. With my limited knowledge on adages, I think that this was used to denote the prosperity that would pour through a farmer’s home once the harvest is complete. But we have been using this to express hopes on a lot of other things as well. Take, for instance, this particular snippet- my small hiatus from snippets has been broken, thanks to one of our housekeeping staff in my workplace. Maybe, my writer’s block, too, had been waiting for Thai month to commence, so that it can let go of me. Well, let me get back to narrating the incident as it happened. Last week, as part of Pongal celebrations in our workplace, we had a series of competitions, of which ‘Pot Painting’ was one. A short while ago, I was in our pantry, admiring the artwork on the pot which had won the prize. One of our housekeeping staff, caught me in the act, and started a casual conversation with me, asking me as to why people didn’t take the pots home. I then explained the celebration and competitions to her and said that these pots would be saved as souvenirs. What she shared with me next gave me a pleasant surprise. She said that, in Porur (a suburb of Chennai), people had organized Uri Adi (Dahi Handi – Breaking the pot to claim the prize) and Vazhukku Maram (climbing up a slippery pole) competitions. These two sports, typically played during Janmashtami, have become so rare these days and are being practiced only in a handful of villages. So, I was pleasantly surprised to hear of the initiative to revive these sports, especially in the city, giving them another new beginning. Let us digress a bit from this topic to get a brief overview of these two sports. Disclaimer: What I have mentioned below is just from hear-say and may not be accurate. I have never witnessed those events in person, me being a city-dweller and all. Uri Adi – A pot filled with butter/curd and a pouch with cash prize is placed in the centre of a horizontal pole, by swinging it in the middle with a rope. The competing person is given a pole to smash the pot. As the person reaches for the pot, the people holding the rope of the pot swing it high up that it goes beyond the reach of the competitor. Whoever manages to break the pot despite all this gets the prize. Vazhukku Maram – A thick round pole is totally smeared with oil and placed in the center. Competitors are required to climb the pole bare-chested, and with no other support, reach the top and claim the prize kept on the top of the pole. As a competitor attempts to climb the pole, others will pour water on him and the pole in order to make the ascent even more challenging. Having had this background, let us come back to the present day, wherein the lady was describing the events happening at her place. She said that she had not seen one since her childhood days and was so eager to see that that she rushed through her relatives’ places in order to come back home in time to watch the show. She said that though almost all the males gathered in the crowd tried to climb the Vazhukku Maram, nobody could do it. The reward of Rs.2001 went unclaimed. Being the ever curious one, I asked her about the fate of the Uri Adi Paanai. She said that, again, none of the males could do it. Finally, a girl came forward, and hit it in the first stroke itself. She proudly claimed the reward of Rs.1001. I was so happy, for obvious reasons – one, a girl winning(where guys could not) and two, having something to write about.