Saturday, May 15, 2010
Avial, backwaters and boiled beans
This post has long been coming. I really don't know how it got to this. I only know how it started. It started with my husband, V. For all you creatures with fertile imagination out there I am not talking about Miss T's origins. I am talking about the "Mal" madness in my life.
The reason for the review of situation is that even a random google search for an illustrator throws a up a mal woman's blog (she does beautiful illustrations). I decided I need to re-examine my life's choices and see what brought this on.
I grew up with the jokes of Malayalee having set up tea shop before Armstrong landed on Moon and malayalee woman's version of eLu ghante (Kannada words meaning 7 O clock) turning out to be eLu ganda (meaning 7 husbands) due to the nasal twang. And till this post I thought I didn't know many mals while growing up. Turns out I am wrong.
We bought groceries from a Mal shop. The biggest grocery store in the area where we went when we wanted exotic ingredients for cakes and ice cream was a Mal shop. Amma bought her sarees from this very lovely lady whom I only remember as girija's amma. One of my many best friends from school was a Mal girl. The bakery that sold the yummiest coconut biscuits was run by sajina's dad, a Mal. Sajina and I spend quite a bit of time rioting through the shop and hauling off huge caches of coconut biscuits, those animal shaped biscuits (do you get them now?) and rose cooks (that's acchappam :) And some of my parents' friends who plied us with yummy X mas and new year cakes were Mal. One of the nicest boy friends of one my friend was a Mal. I was so upset that they didn't get married that I moped around for months.
Though after school, I didn't come across any Mals for a long time. Then I met these two guys Ajay and Bijay in the computer classes. The two of them were this ultra lecherous creatures that we girls refused to even look at. That put me off all things Mal for a long time.
Then came V. I didn't even think of the fact that he was "Mal" till we decided to tell our parents that we were getting married! V says he swept me off the feet but I maintain that it was temporary amnesia.
Now comes the bewildering part. Ever since V, pretty much every other person I have met and become friends with is a Mal. Journalism college was full of Mal people. And these lovely Mal people I am friends with are somehow married to other wonderful Mal people (I say somehow cos I din't think that was the primary criteria). Through my work I've met a lot of people and mostly Mal. The people I've met via blogs are Mals and so the list goes on. Today I don't have more than half a dozen people on my phone book to whom I can send funny Kannada SMS to. The Mals on the other hand make up more than half of my phone book. Any given day for a quick get together, between V's and my contact list, I'll be the one inviting more Mal friends than him!
The fact that the Mals are out to conquer the world (I truly believe they will one day soon) cannot be the only reason for this phenomenon, right? And I am sure it is not the case of new convert trying to prove that she's as good as any. This is a bit of a puzzle really.
Having confessed to this Mal madness. I have to say this. I don't like Avial (Although I can make a good Avial) I am very wary of young men who've never stepped out of Kerala till they are 21. Like one my friend rightly said most of them are "vaayinokkal parties" (for exact translation turn to the Mal next to you). For the life of me I can't figure out why women can't ring temple bells in God's own country! And Mal friends are fun. Mal families is a different matter altogether. It is like the difference between being tourist and an emigrant :)