Last weekend I was on a short getaway and I realised that my land truly is a beautiful place. Not just because of the landscape marvel and stuff, but also because of a heritage that is so overwhelming. Here’s the way I would love people(tourists and Non Keralites) to talk about or think of Kerala as.
Kerala, God’s Own Country! Here, you can sip coconut juice (plucked by wiry-legged, bronze-chested Kuttappans and Kochu Thommas)or dig into a plate of karimeen pollichathu on the wind-swept deck of a houseboat in Kumarakom. Or you can go on a forest safari to Thekkady or Gavi. If you don’t get a fresh Malayali tiger sighting, we guarantee you a fresh Malayali tiger dropping sighting or atleast a stone carved version of tiger, buffalo, elephant etc!!The beaches of Cherai, Marari, Kovalam and Varkala. The misty mountains of Munnar, Kuttikanam or Wayanad. The enchanting waterfalls of Athirapally. The lesser known Andhakaranaazhi, Kodanad, Silent Valley, Parambikulam national park, nelliampathy, kuruva dweep, agasthyamalai etc. The heritage of erstwhile Travancore and Malabar. The foreign influence and remains of Dutch-French-Portuguese and British Ancestry at Fort Cochin. The fingerlicking kadumanga achaar or succulent mutton chaaps and beef varatharachathu. The flavour packed biriyanis and the secret recipes of the syrian christians and malabar mappilahs. All this and so much more!
However, we also offer you many other sightings 🙂
Our YWCA/Rotary women in their kota saris and their weekly games of rummy.
Our Marthoma achens on their Bajaj scooters with their cassocks billowing behind them like capes.
Our nasrani achayens with their scotch whiskey and their waxy moustaches.
Our gelf returnees with suitcases full of foreign scents.
Our men are hairy and so are our women. We believe in equality, a what’s-yours-is-mine policy, including your wife’s Tata Estate, rubber estate and the three gold teeth in her mouth.
To see our men in form, attend a Malayali wedding. When they’re sober, they’ll discuss the stock market, insurgency in Pakistan and global oil prices. Two Johnny Walkers down, they’ll hitch up their lungis/mundus(Jockey Bermudas peeking from beneath) and break into inebriated renditions of ‘Alliambal Kadavil.’ One can learn patience just watching the men standing in long queues in front of BEVCO shops or learn the art of walking swiftly in a lungi/mundu and jumping onto a moving bus with the same ease and fervor.
To see our women in form, attend a Syrian Christian church service on Sunday and watch the Mariammas, Eliyammas and Shoshammas in the front pew belch out verse after verse of Suriyani hymns – lusty, off-key and hitting notes that will make even the Mar Baselios Bavas turn in their graves. Learn the art of multi tasking by just watching the old muthachis and ammachis sing,cook,play with the kids, watch TV and pray all at the same time. Learn the art of sales by watching the lungi clad chechis on Lunars, selling fish, bargaining and applying the Buffets and Kotlers theories in full swing.
And what about our superstars? Can your Tom Croose or Brad Peet vanquish a dozen gun-toting villains with a single, gold-ringed knuckle punch like Mohanlal or spew English like Suresh Gopi (‘Just remember that’) or own a courtroom like Mammooty (‘That’s all, Your Honor’)?
But all said and done, we are a simble, humble people with simble, humble pleasures: watching Idea Star Singer on Asianet or the mallu version of saas-bahu soaps like “Kumkumapoovu”, scouting the obituary section of Malayala Manorama, getting our dentures stuck in plates of chakkavaratty, ogling next door mallu aunty’s large sized “bumper” or her “charakku” daughters, finding bridegrooms for our daughters (must be minimum an ingineer), going for second show and hooting when the power fails.
And why are we the way we are? Simblee. Coz we are Malayee. We are like this wonlee. 🙂
Welcome to Kerala. Nice to meet you!