November 22, 2009


You know it’s not fair when the world flinches upon hearing a Malayali in his uber awesome accent. I mean come on people, we account for at least a decent 60% of India’s humour! And what amazes me even more is how the Malayalis react to the ridicule. Trust me on this one… they are not such good sports when they are the epicenter of mockery. Though usually they are harmless but you will definitely get some bombastic comebacks that will lead you to the hospital with a hurting tummy (due to the laughing of course!) I don’t intend to hurt any feelings here, so before a Mallu sentiment gets hurt, I would like to disclose that I’m a Malayali myself. And before any of you Malayalis reading this start pounding me with coconuts and run me over with one of your pet elephants for betraying my clan, my only advice will be to take it all in good humour.

The age of the santa-banta jokes is so passé. I think it’s the era of Lola Kutty now. One reason being that the maximum a Malayali can hurt you is by picking up his Mundu (Lungi) in style and tucking it like a skirt and exposing his hairy legs (sometimes even the striped boxer shorts) to the shock of the onlooker and leave him completely scandalized. And if he gets really mad he can even fold up his shirt sleeves to expose dangerously hairy arms and head butt you to leave an imprint of the coconut oil on your brand new white shirt. But otherwise they are pretty docile creatures in comparison to the hot headed sardars who don’t receive jokes very well. It’s high time we moved down south to the land of coconuts and banana chips for some more fun. I feel so proud when I get to hear songs sung in praise of mallus especially “Hotel Keralafonia” and “I am a Malayali”. Finally all the joblessness from the perpetual “Hadtaals” in Mallu land has given birth to some productive humour. But it’s not just the accent that cracks people up. It’s their sheer laziness in naming their kids these days. They might be good at fishing for good jobs in “Gellf” but not for good names!

Shakespeare didn’t know Malayalam. But he sure did believe in what an average Malayali believes –Vaat is in a name? I am sure we all have come across Malayalis named Biju, Soju, Kinju, Pinju, Seejo, Teepee, Potee etc. Before we exchange some of the most interesting names that I have come across, let us analyze why these Keralites resort to such torture.

Not long ago, Keralites had a habit of pre-fixing their name with their villages’ name, their mother’s name and their house name. That made for names like: Pilavulakandi Thekkeparambil Usha (that is PT Usha), Kallatu Kothakery Kamini George (luckily she is not famous), and Vallamattam Muvattupuzha Nisha Santosh. I could go on naming them…but I am not able to. All children born till the late 70s were forced to carry such long names. The fact that they were all sleeping when the naming ceremony was going on made them feel helpless. As years rolled by, the children-with-long-names grew up and decided to give really short names to their children. Names like Biji, Saji, Mini, Betsy etc. You could say it was a revenge over their parents…but today we are forced to live with such names. Sometimes there names are so short that their nicknames become longer than their actual names. And this is not an exaggeration. Nicknames could vary from MaalluKutty to Kuttoos or even Kuttappa. I once knew a person called Baby. I guess his folks never imagined he could grow up one day. You could try not embarrassing yourself by mispronouncing their names by not venturing anywhere near them but that idea nearly fails when you realize that Malayalis are “Blady” everywhere! So all one can do now is just enjoy their presence, laugh behind their backs and soak up every bit of humour they can offer before they all migrate to the Gellf !

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