Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Keralam

Facts I learned about Kerala during my trip to Guruvayur. (Since I spoof TN extensively, and this being a season of 'change', I request my keralite friends to take this in the spirit intended - I have a similar one on Maharashtra - but that doesnt fit in this context so let me save it for some other time)
  • State Law XVII in sub-article 47.2 under chapter "Behavior in public places" mandates all men in the state of Kerala to grow a moustache.
  • The last time people shaved in Kerala was on June 6th, 1973. That day they had a valedictory ceremony for the razor, shaved off a 19-year old kid for the last time and then burnt the razor. Nobody, who has a Kerala domicile, has shaved ever since that day.
  • On July 12th 2003, Mariam a school teacher near Thrissur delivered 2 chldren, who were born with a moustache and a stubble. The gene research department in University of Ottawa, Canada believes that this could be indicative of the future baby-birth trend in Kerala.
  • Today, nobody in Kerala knows what the razor is? Kids read about this mythical instrument in school books, as weapons used by rakshasas and asuras. Some stranger from 'Naarth' India went to a shop in Kerala and asked for a razor. The shop keeper quickly alerted the police, who arrived immediately and apprehended this man for questioning. After further inquiry it was found that the person intended to commit beard-shaving. He was admitted to a mental hospital and later fined Rs 750.
  • Beards have led to an identity crisis in Kerala. 90% of the people look like Jesudas. The remaining 10%, who are without a beard, look like Jesudas without a beard. We had to go to the Guruvayur temple and search for someone. I told my fellow travellers that the person whom we had to meet would look exactly like Jesudas. When we went there we found 70,000 Jesudas look-alike's waiting for us.
  • Malayalam is a sexy language. Seriously, the two languages I find really sexy are Telugu and Malayalam. Anything you tell me in Malayalam and I'll go "wow! so romantic". Its not as bland as Hindi or Tamil and its really got a tune or rhythm to it. Its like French to the English speaking world - you listen to someone say "taailet poi kazhuvi vanthu" and you go " wow! how sexy".
  • On the negative side, they dont make food in Kerala. Unless you consider Kerala food to be food. Given the aversion I have for boiled rice(each grain is as big as a sea shell), I think not.
  • On the subject of food, the Keralites are still upset that water is being served without cocunut. There is a odd murmer or two that if Andhra can put garlic in every possible food item and serve water with garlic, they should also be able to put cocunut in water. They have put some sukku inside water but they want the cocunut in water, so that it is consistent with every other food item in Kerala.
  • The state flag of Kerala should be a moustache, a beard, and a veshti (dhoti) below the beard. On the right side of the flag should be a cocunut and a cream-white saree. The flag should be sandal in color.
  • The state flag of Tamil Nadu should be similar to the state flag of Kerala, minus the beard, cocunut, saree and sandalwood color - and - plus - a striped underwear underneath the dhoti. The dhoti must be carefully folded upwards to reveal the underwear.
  • The people from the two states constantly crib about which of the two states is the best. Finally it boils down to a war between the beard and the underwear. So it boils down to the question of - which state's men make their women happy - the beard or the underwear?
  • Coimbatore Tamil, like Malayalam, is really sexy. Anything people from Nellai or Kovai say, I find it - sort of zingy.
  • Our guide tried talking to me in malayalam. After the initial excitement of hearing malayalam spoken to me calmed, I claimed ignorance of malayalam. The guide nodded in an understanding sort of way and courteously repeated himself slowly and clearly in Malayalam. He was surprised that I still did not understand him. He thinks I am little low on I.Q.
  • Since this topic was in my local cache, I quickly spotted this. This is the only place other than TN where the letters 'zh' make sense. You can comfortably use the 'zha' word and feel smug. For example Tamizhans in Kerala have the strange superman like power to say kozhikode instead of 'kosihkode'. This butchering of the english script by using 'zh' letters to convey some arbitrary sound is much similar to the use of 'th' by those crazy hindi-speaking folks, who pronounce 'this' 'that' 'thus' 'cloth' 'froth' normally but convey a 'ta-ha' sound when they say paratha (paratah), which makes no sense to the non-hindi speaking world. And I thought Sanjose = Sanhose was crazy.

The trip

My yearly trips to Guruvayur not only gives me a chance to visit Coimbatore (and if time permits a quick trip to Ooty) but also experience the drive from Coimbatore to Guruvayur. I sort of know Kerala is like God's own country etc. But this particular strech is extremely scenic. I also got to drive a Lancer for the first time. Although, like most cars this car has negligible pick-up when the A/C is ON, the overall experience was good. I am not a car guy so I may not be knowing what I am talking about - so excuse me if Lancer has a reputation of having defects.

Anyway back to the drive. I am impressed with the amount of vegetation in this route. It is almost like driving in the forest. On the way, just before Palakkad, there is a restaurant called Aryas, where we stopped for breakfast last year and found it to be good (a rarity for me in Kerala). This time we searched for it and went to Aryas again. Bad is the word. Every single item on the menu was bad.

Another thing to watch out for on this strech is Nenthram-kai chips (Banana-variant chips) Nenthran-kai chips, the reason why I hold Kerala with utmost respect, is made before your eyes and sold on the spot in the NH-47 highway that takes us from CBE to Guruvayur. This time I also bought Nenthram-pazham chips, the second reason why I respect Kerala, in Kerala itself, instead of the Kerala Bakery in Usman road/Thyagaraya Gramani street intersection. Nenthram-pazham chips is a damn good invention. In the long-run It could beat its twin nenthram-kai as the best chips ever. Ofcourse Beetroot chips, which is another start-up 'chip' company (the irony of using the real chips within quotes and the Si chip without quotes really bugs me) could give it good competition.

37 comments:

Nilu said...

madras vantha mokkaya poda arambiduvaya? .....

xeonX said...

Hilarious! :-) ..

the drive from cbe to palakad is beautiful isn't it? u can make out the difference.. the greenery just increases thousandfold the moment you cross the TN border and enter kerala.. awesome!

Hawkeye said...

nilu,

:-). ithu ellarukkum porunthum.

i had wanted to write something about old people's comments on 'ambattan' 'caste of N Ram' etc.. but u already wrote whatever i wanted to write. micham iruppathu mokkai thaan.

xeonx,

i agree the scenery is good. but i think the sudden spike in scenery level has got something to do with entering the forest.

Redcell said...

YYYmmmm, lemme think, that was a really cool one.
You could go on and on, why limit it to facial hair and food.
If you were blessed enough to travel in one of those privately run buses in Kerala, you would realise the Mallu idea of adventure a rollercoaster ride.

jomy said...

oye ..me a mallu !!

And i seriously think ...the female folks ther ..need a razor ..more than the men !!!

Hahaha !

Hawkeye said...

redcell,

have been to suchindram trivandrum areas. but a long time ago. in a 6-8 hour trip this is what i could gather

jomy,

long time no see. dont say anything about mallu women. its taboo in tamil nadu. we call it the land of Asin

Ram said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ram said...

mariyaadaya othukko... u escaped to Kerala to resist your temptation to vote for Vijaygaandh!

Thanu said...

OMG this is so funny. In Mallu land having a mustache is more like a mark of a man.

Most of the girls like to wear their hair long.

-mallu girl with long hair.

jomy said...

Land of what ?

Pradeep said...

If it is Naarth, It must also be shaap,Uskool,Mendal Ospital etc...

To be very correct it must also be yeshudas I thought...

Hilarious!!

Hawkeye said...

jomy,

asin is a popular actress in tamil film world. she is from kerala. needless to say i am a huge fan. also, i am dissapointed u dont even know her. ur domicile is suspended and u can shave your moustache.

Hawkeye said...

ram,

no such luck. cast my virgin vote finally this time.

Hawkeye said...

thanu,

Thanks for visiting. You have a wonderful blog going. I have to say, the long hair thing is really awesome.

The only way a mallu girl can get a boy-cut is by growing a moustache. Otherwise its not a boy and so it doesnt cut :-)

Hawkeye said...

Pradeep,

many cassatte covers say it as Jesudas. So do some of the singers credits. But I agree there seems to be two spelling going around. Maybe its the crazy sanjose way of pronouncing Jesudas.

sowmya said...

my guess is unakku meesa illai, athaan oor ellam meesayaa theriyardhu! :-)

c'est la vie said...

the line about the TN flag with the underwear totally cracked me up..:)

Thanu said...

Thank you.
Too funny, Boy cut by growing moustache.
There a lot of girls that have short hair in Kerala.
But for me a Cream set Saree, long black hair little moist left open and some jasmine flowers - Damn that is pretty.

Thanu said...

Just saw that u r fron ann arbor.. I love that Mangolian BBBQ place there.

jomy said...

No , my knowledge of malu movie watching ..is restricted to summer vacations in kerala , once in 3 years ...So thats how it goes ...


All the moustache shaving is kept for post-Shabarimala season !

Hawkeye said...

sowmya,

satham pottu pesaathe. mana'p prechanai :-)

Hawkeye said...

cesta la,

u wudnt believe the number of dhoti revealing the striped undies that i saw in coimbatore.

c'est la vie said...

yeah..I still remember my rickshaw guy when I was in school..classic case of striped underwear,lungi and beedi!!

Hawkeye said...

thanu,

yes mongolian bbq place is extremely popular. so is that medeterranian restauran in carpenter and packard.

Hawkeye said...

jomy,

u dont know what you are missing
or maybe you do :-)

Priya Bhaskaran said...

I truly enjoyed" Keralam" post. Though I am a mallu, born and brought up in Coimbatore, I could totally relate to your post. Through out the post I was laughing. It was a humorous post. People from chennai loves my coimbatore tamil. First time when I took the auto in chennai, I called the guy anna, he immeditely asked me " etha ooru ma" and he said people dont talk in chennai with respect:)
One my favorite temple is Guruvayoor; I was wondering how you missed to write about the regulation in the temple. I took my nephew for " choorootal" and we had a hard time getting into the temple. They had rules all over temples like babies not allowed in the main entrance, no bags allowed and what not!
I love the scenic route from Coimbatore to Thrissur; it is spectacular

Rahul said...

Funny take on malayalees.
Yeah the mooch is a trend in Kerala but its changing, can see more clean shaven guys these days.

But what I cudnt understand is u mentioned that the food is bad. Obviously u have eaten from all the wrong places. I suggest u travel up north from guruvayoor next time to the malabar area - Kozhikode side. The non veg food, espcially fried fish and red hot fish curry..Ahh my mouth is already watering. And the chicken biriyani just leaves the famed hyderabadi chicken biriyani far behind. Its a foodie's dream come true :-)

visithra said...

heheh agree with the food just too much coconut ;p but the moustache?? hummm i saw lots of moustacheless guys ;p

n guruvayurs a wonderful place

Hawkeye said...

priya,

one rule i respect in kerala is the dress code. there is simply no compromise..even if u are the PM there is no compromise.

Hawkeye said...

/* But what I cudnt understand is u mentioned that the food is bad. */

the boiled rice is bad. its so huge and so not tasty

Hawkeye said...

visithra,

maybe in the evolution scale people are experiencing hair-loss in the faces.

priya,

i agree the drive is spectacular.

Sreejith said...

:)) really funny take on us mallus. i agree a sizeable population on malludom is moustachiod but come on u tamizhans are no better at it!

atmavicharam said...

Meesa illathavan meesa kandappam..Bladinekkurichu orthu poyi.....For that, y all these hulla bulla ..my freinds?
lol

atmavicharam said...

This guy seems to have forgot looking down wards after seeing wonderful moustches in kerala.....all his thought revolve around it...I really wonder...wat he shud have been written..if he has seen more ( downwards from face)

Anonymous said...

First of all Keralites dont pronounce 'north' as 'naarth' ...its the Tamilians who do it...the Keralite accent is more thick like stressing the 'r' or 't' in a word...and for God sake dont compare Tamil Nadu with Kerala! We are as it is sick of North Indians calling all south Indians 'Madrasis'! And regarding hospitatility- nobody beats Mallu-land!

Anonymous said...

Kuttanadan punjayile... thitheiyeee thaka they they thom...

the above is a few lines from a vallam kali (boat race) song... anyways, bro u missed out the best parts of kerala... me as a malayali consider the palakkad area to be the least beautiful... its almost tamil nadu.... next time definitely check out the backwaters, go on a house boat and eat the fish cooked right there... an expereience ur not gonna forget... also swing by munnar to see something more beautiful than any alipine meadows...

RTN said...

LOL :-)….Nice to read your blog!! When I was in Combatore I did not feel much difference about the moustache of Tamizhans compare to Malayalees, both are same!! Might be due to Coimbatore is too close to Kerala :-).. Regarding the food, I think you were having a bad day, I have no other explanation! And English, wow…I have never seen a Tamizhan speaking English in British or American accent!!! All Indians have their mother toungue influence on English accent. I agree that driving from Coimbatore to Palakkad is very nice, but, if you want to discover Kerala and comment on it you need to travel from Kanyakumari to Kasaragod.