Sunday, November 6, 2011

True Blue Mallu

I am a true blue mallu Malayalee. I might tend to get defensive when people make fun of the so-called 'mallu' accent, despite the fact that they have one themselves. I remember a time in Grade 9, when I got into a cat fight with someone because she made fun of a friend who referred to the Ganges as Genga during the geography class. To be honest, it was funny and I laughed myself (I still do)- for the first or second time. But come on, after repeating it nearly ten times, it does become rude and annoying. I was a new student at that time and my school was a girls' school, so I practically ruined all my chances of making good friends. Thankfully, as time went by, we forgot about it and things became better between us-we came to a stage where we made fun of each others' accents, but not so much so that it annoys or hurts the other. Personally, I cannot understand why such a big thing is made out of accents- surely, for a person whose first language is not English, a touch of the vernacular is bound to slip in. And the same people declare that they know Tanglish, Hinglish, and all other forms of Inglish (Indian English). If that's okay, what is the problem with accents? Defeats me.

Anyway, apart from accents, another issue that irks me is the fact that a lot of people (not generalizing, but it's happened to me before!) believe that when Malayalees get together they always speak in Malayalam. They say, when two 'mallus' get together, the first thing they ask is "evide naa?" And the rest of the conversation is fully in Malayalam. Oh come on, don't tell me this is not true for any other linguistic group! I'm sure if you happen to be from our neighboring state and you insist on carrying the conversation in English, you might well be classified under one of those peter types. Don't tell me you talk strictly in English when you get together, because that is not true.

Another oft repeated way to identify 'mallus', it seems, is just to ask a person whether he/she is from India. 99% of the time, the person is bound to say, 'No, I'm from Kerala!' Now, this is funny just because of the sheer ridiculousness of the whole thing. Whoever came up with it?!

And the Gelf connection. It's not like each and every one of us has an ungil there, although if I were to quote Shashi Tharoor (who is yet another Malayalee :P), the Kingdom of Bahrain, at one point in time, had more Malayalees than Bahrainis! (I'd know, I spent three years on the island.)

On a more serious note, if you happen to travel in and around the remotest corners of a GCC country, you are very very likely to find a Malayalee there. Heard of an Omani town called Liwa? It's a small, dusty town north of Sohar, home to the legendary Sindbad. While we were traveling from Muscat, back to Fujairah, we stopped at a shop in this remote town- surprise! It was owned by another ubiquitous Malayalee. In fact, we even had pazham pori and kattan chaya there. And it was indeed interesting to watch two Omani gentlemen, in their flowing white dishdashas and dashing turbans, attack a plate of Kerala Porotta and Beef Ularthiyathu.

Okay, now let me clarify things- This was not meant to be a post glorifying Malayalees as a group, nor am I a person who believes that my language and culture is superior to that of others. I consider myself to be a global citizen, but at the same time, I am a true blue Mallu. The two terms are not mutually exclusive. So, why am I a true blue mallu?

1) I love puttu, kadala and nendram pazham. Also appam and stew.
2) I would prefer to watch Lal ettan's movies any day over Thalaivar (ooh, blasphemy!) or for that matter, Amitabh Bechen, sorry Bachchan.
3)
I will watch Idea Star Singer on Asianet, no matter, however irritating the show gets.
4) I will also watch the Cinemala parody of the same and laugh my head off at the anchor who says, 'Welcome to No Idea Star Singer!'
5) I have, at least once, considered the possibility of opening a chaayakkada. (Don't worry Amma, just a passing cloud. I hope.)
6) I don't discuss viplavam, but sometimes the idea excites me, and sometimes I like to pretend I am one amongst the comrades. (Blame Lal Salam!)
7) Kerala and West Bengal are supposed to be those so-called 'intellectual' states, mainly due to the red fervor- I like to pretend that I am a budding buji* novelist. You know, those nerdish glasses (I already have those), long kurtas, swinging jhola bag types.
8) Even though my own Malayalam is kind of funny at best, and atrocious at worst, I will laugh at the Malayalam spoken by the malayalam korcha korcha ariyaam wannabe kochammas.

Hmm, that's enough, don't you think, to qualify me as a true blue mallu? Like most Malayalees, I do enjoy jokes cracked at us (we crack them ourselves sometimes!), as long as they are not used tauntingly or mockingly. So I'll end this post with one of my favorite so-called mallu jokes.

Why did the Malayalee go to Rome? No, the answer is NOT 'simbly'.
He went to Rome to listen to Pop(e) music!! Got it? :D

*buji is short for buddhi jeevi . Could mean bookworm or pseudo intellectual. Guess I fall under the latter category!

Disclaimer: This is just a paavam girl's idea of having fun- a few minutes of laughter when caught in the dreary process of studying for exams. Any offense caused to anybody is unintended and regretted.

3 comments:

  1. Well written post. But u forgot the most famous joke.

    "When Armstrong landed on the moon, the 1st thing he saw was a Nair selling Chaya over there"

    Jokes apart, I think Keralites are the most widely migrated/distributed ppl from India other than Punjabis. It shows how well they can adjust/adopt to different places yet not losing their roots..:-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! :)
    Hahaaa, yeah that is a famous one- It's mentioned in Shashi Tharoor's book as well! And very true, you can find Malayalees almost anywhere!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. English words murdered by Keralites (Malayalees) and other Indians:

    kangaroo (the worst offended word, Malayalees/Indians pronounce as “kanGAROO” instead of “KANgroo”)

    mixed, fixed (pronounced as 'miksed', 'fiksed' instead of 'miksd', 'fiksd')

    bear, pear, wear (pronounced as ‘biyar’, ‘piyar’, 'wiyer' instead of ‘beye’, ‘peye’, 'weye')

    Queen (prounounced as “kyuun” instead of “kween”)

    form (pronounced as ‘farum’ instead of “fom”)

    volume (books) (pronounced as "vaalyam' instead of "volyum")

    biennale (pronounced as “binale” instead of “bienale”)

    place names – Ohio, Seattle, Utah (pronounced as “ohiyo, seetl, ootha” instead of “ohayo, siyatl, yuta”)

    turtle (pronounced as ‘turrrtil’ instead of “tutl” )

    Mascot Hotel (pronounced as “muskut HOtel” instead of “MAScot hoTEL”)

    heart (pronounced as ‘hurrt’ instead of “haat”)

    auto (pronounced as "aaatto" instead of "otto")

    bass (pronounced as ‘baas’ instead of “beis”)

    twitter (speaker) (pronounced as “tyooter” instead of “twiter”)

    birthday (pronounced as “birthaday” instead of “buthdei”)

    garage (pronounced as “garej” instead of “gaRAZH/gaRAJ”)

    chassis (pronounced as “chasis” instead of “shasi”)

    pizza (pronounced as "pisa" instead of "pitza")

    our (pronounced as "avar" instead of "aue")

    flour (pronounced as "flower" instead of "flaue")

    alarm (pronounced as "alarum" instead of "alaam")

    film (pronounced as "filim" instead of 'film')

    little (pronounced as "littil" instead of 'litl')

    Sultan's Battery (pronounced as "Soolthan Batheri" instead of "Sultan's Batri")

    divorce (pronounced as "daiverse" instead of "divors")

    Tortoise (pronounced as ‘tortois’ instead of “totis” )

    November (pronuonced as "NOVember" instead of "noVEMber")

    one (pronounced as "onn" instead of "wun")

    beer (pronounced as "biiir" instead of "biye")

    February (pronounced as “fibruari” instead of “februari”)

    ReplyDelete

Sunday, November 6, 2011

True Blue Mallu

I am a true blue mallu Malayalee. I might tend to get defensive when people make fun of the so-called 'mallu' accent, despite the fact that they have one themselves. I remember a time in Grade 9, when I got into a cat fight with someone because she made fun of a friend who referred to the Ganges as Genga during the geography class. To be honest, it was funny and I laughed myself (I still do)- for the first or second time. But come on, after repeating it nearly ten times, it does become rude and annoying. I was a new student at that time and my school was a girls' school, so I practically ruined all my chances of making good friends. Thankfully, as time went by, we forgot about it and things became better between us-we came to a stage where we made fun of each others' accents, but not so much so that it annoys or hurts the other. Personally, I cannot understand why such a big thing is made out of accents- surely, for a person whose first language is not English, a touch of the vernacular is bound to slip in. And the same people declare that they know Tanglish, Hinglish, and all other forms of Inglish (Indian English). If that's okay, what is the problem with accents? Defeats me.

Anyway, apart from accents, another issue that irks me is the fact that a lot of people (not generalizing, but it's happened to me before!) believe that when Malayalees get together they always speak in Malayalam. They say, when two 'mallus' get together, the first thing they ask is "evide naa?" And the rest of the conversation is fully in Malayalam. Oh come on, don't tell me this is not true for any other linguistic group! I'm sure if you happen to be from our neighboring state and you insist on carrying the conversation in English, you might well be classified under one of those peter types. Don't tell me you talk strictly in English when you get together, because that is not true.

Another oft repeated way to identify 'mallus', it seems, is just to ask a person whether he/she is from India. 99% of the time, the person is bound to say, 'No, I'm from Kerala!' Now, this is funny just because of the sheer ridiculousness of the whole thing. Whoever came up with it?!

And the Gelf connection. It's not like each and every one of us has an ungil there, although if I were to quote Shashi Tharoor (who is yet another Malayalee :P), the Kingdom of Bahrain, at one point in time, had more Malayalees than Bahrainis! (I'd know, I spent three years on the island.)

On a more serious note, if you happen to travel in and around the remotest corners of a GCC country, you are very very likely to find a Malayalee there. Heard of an Omani town called Liwa? It's a small, dusty town north of Sohar, home to the legendary Sindbad. While we were traveling from Muscat, back to Fujairah, we stopped at a shop in this remote town- surprise! It was owned by another ubiquitous Malayalee. In fact, we even had pazham pori and kattan chaya there. And it was indeed interesting to watch two Omani gentlemen, in their flowing white dishdashas and dashing turbans, attack a plate of Kerala Porotta and Beef Ularthiyathu.

Okay, now let me clarify things- This was not meant to be a post glorifying Malayalees as a group, nor am I a person who believes that my language and culture is superior to that of others. I consider myself to be a global citizen, but at the same time, I am a true blue Mallu. The two terms are not mutually exclusive. So, why am I a true blue mallu?

1) I love puttu, kadala and nendram pazham. Also appam and stew.
2) I would prefer to watch Lal ettan's movies any day over Thalaivar (ooh, blasphemy!) or for that matter, Amitabh Bechen, sorry Bachchan.
3)
I will watch Idea Star Singer on Asianet, no matter, however irritating the show gets.
4) I will also watch the Cinemala parody of the same and laugh my head off at the anchor who says, 'Welcome to No Idea Star Singer!'
5) I have, at least once, considered the possibility of opening a chaayakkada. (Don't worry Amma, just a passing cloud. I hope.)
6) I don't discuss viplavam, but sometimes the idea excites me, and sometimes I like to pretend I am one amongst the comrades. (Blame Lal Salam!)
7) Kerala and West Bengal are supposed to be those so-called 'intellectual' states, mainly due to the red fervor- I like to pretend that I am a budding buji* novelist. You know, those nerdish glasses (I already have those), long kurtas, swinging jhola bag types.
8) Even though my own Malayalam is kind of funny at best, and atrocious at worst, I will laugh at the Malayalam spoken by the malayalam korcha korcha ariyaam wannabe kochammas.

Hmm, that's enough, don't you think, to qualify me as a true blue mallu? Like most Malayalees, I do enjoy jokes cracked at us (we crack them ourselves sometimes!), as long as they are not used tauntingly or mockingly. So I'll end this post with one of my favorite so-called mallu jokes.

Why did the Malayalee go to Rome? No, the answer is NOT 'simbly'.
He went to Rome to listen to Pop(e) music!! Got it? :D

*buji is short for buddhi jeevi . Could mean bookworm or pseudo intellectual. Guess I fall under the latter category!

Disclaimer: This is just a paavam girl's idea of having fun- a few minutes of laughter when caught in the dreary process of studying for exams. Any offense caused to anybody is unintended and regretted.

3 comments:

  1. Well written post. But u forgot the most famous joke.

    "When Armstrong landed on the moon, the 1st thing he saw was a Nair selling Chaya over there"

    Jokes apart, I think Keralites are the most widely migrated/distributed ppl from India other than Punjabis. It shows how well they can adjust/adopt to different places yet not losing their roots..:-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! :)
    Hahaaa, yeah that is a famous one- It's mentioned in Shashi Tharoor's book as well! And very true, you can find Malayalees almost anywhere!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. English words murdered by Keralites (Malayalees) and other Indians:

    kangaroo (the worst offended word, Malayalees/Indians pronounce as “kanGAROO” instead of “KANgroo”)

    mixed, fixed (pronounced as 'miksed', 'fiksed' instead of 'miksd', 'fiksd')

    bear, pear, wear (pronounced as ‘biyar’, ‘piyar’, 'wiyer' instead of ‘beye’, ‘peye’, 'weye')

    Queen (prounounced as “kyuun” instead of “kween”)

    form (pronounced as ‘farum’ instead of “fom”)

    volume (books) (pronounced as "vaalyam' instead of "volyum")

    biennale (pronounced as “binale” instead of “bienale”)

    place names – Ohio, Seattle, Utah (pronounced as “ohiyo, seetl, ootha” instead of “ohayo, siyatl, yuta”)

    turtle (pronounced as ‘turrrtil’ instead of “tutl” )

    Mascot Hotel (pronounced as “muskut HOtel” instead of “MAScot hoTEL”)

    heart (pronounced as ‘hurrt’ instead of “haat”)

    auto (pronounced as "aaatto" instead of "otto")

    bass (pronounced as ‘baas’ instead of “beis”)

    twitter (speaker) (pronounced as “tyooter” instead of “twiter”)

    birthday (pronounced as “birthaday” instead of “buthdei”)

    garage (pronounced as “garej” instead of “gaRAZH/gaRAJ”)

    chassis (pronounced as “chasis” instead of “shasi”)

    pizza (pronounced as "pisa" instead of "pitza")

    our (pronounced as "avar" instead of "aue")

    flour (pronounced as "flower" instead of "flaue")

    alarm (pronounced as "alarum" instead of "alaam")

    film (pronounced as "filim" instead of 'film')

    little (pronounced as "littil" instead of 'litl')

    Sultan's Battery (pronounced as "Soolthan Batheri" instead of "Sultan's Batri")

    divorce (pronounced as "daiverse" instead of "divors")

    Tortoise (pronounced as ‘tortois’ instead of “totis” )

    November (pronuonced as "NOVember" instead of "noVEMber")

    one (pronounced as "onn" instead of "wun")

    beer (pronounced as "biiir" instead of "biye")

    February (pronounced as “fibruari” instead of “februari”)

    ReplyDelete