Category Archives: Mallu

Thoughts from being at hometown for a month

Homecoming after many months greets you with numerous pleasant and unpleasant encounters… relatives with plastic smile and intrusive questions, friends for whom every celebration means more and more liquor, mom who thinks son should be fed 24×7, brother who thinks his brother is drinking too much these days coz his belly hs bloated up, nephew who thinks his uncle = punching bag, at church bumping into that old schoolmate whom you had a crush on and disappointed to see her carrying a baby now(:P) …countryside drives through paddy fields that makes you believe you are in heaven, and the highway drives makes you believe you are in hell…. kerala never ceases to surprise you….by the time you are ready to return you are stuffed with so much memories to cherish until the next homecoming.

Took a long break to be at hometown this Jan. Had to attend a conference and also co-ordinate for brother’s marriage. An inter-religious, inter-state, inter-language, inter-culture marriage comes with its own challenges and opportunities. Challenge to break the conventional prejudice notions of people and opportunity to welcome a wonderful yet different person to your family. Both turned out to be refreshingly smooth and successful.

Cant resist mentioning few of the random observations I could make while at home, Kerala.

  1. For a marriage function, people come to eat. Period.
  2. Only people who listen to a marriage mass at church are the co-priests and altar boys. Rest all are busy envying other’s outfits.
  3. In a party, majority prefer brandy to rum to whisky. I was told that it is coz it gives them a faster ‘kick’.
  4. After 3 pegs, brand matters and not taste. Fill local liquor in a scotch bottle and they will still thank you. 😛
  5. Smoking is no more preferred, especially amongst 20-30 age group
  6. Everyone has an opinion about everything. However it is limited to preaching and not practicing.
  7. Goons and taporis during school days have become more successful than class toppers. Seeing this trend on a regular basis now.
  8. Gulf is still the ‘chosen land’, even for the newly pass-out engineers
  9. Interactive digital class-boards have come in our small town and students are also given linux os to use along with windows.
  10. Seeing more parda clad kids on the roads. People becoming more conscious about their religious identity ?
  11. People have gradually started to stop looking ‘down’ at people who start own business instead of job.
  12. Perception of success is more valued than success itself.
  13. Some book stalls still survive by selling only malayalam books. People are actually buying them. Long live the language.
  14. More real estate deals = more disposable income in hand = more audi’s and bmw’s on roads… Merc is no more the ‘in’ thing.
  15. Going through the speed track in highways are their birthright, even if the car is going at 20 kph they wont budge to left
  16. To get a work done, bribe/tip before the work. It helps far better than giving it later. Anyway you will end up paying for sure.
  17. Somethings never change… like a standard unlimited lunch that is still available for Rs. 20 in most hotels.

so after 25 days, 2000+km of driving, 4 functions and 5 kg increase in body weight…am back in A’bad. This time it was totally worth it…..and the memories are so overwhelming… let me take use months to  miss it so much that I rush back at the next possible exit.

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To Mount Abu and back in a day

Was expecting this Diwali to be passed off as just another holiday, and there comes @nithinkd from Delhi who totally changed the whole equation. Result, one of the best weekend + Diwali in my life. Nithin is a long distance rider with many years of biking experience in Hand ( has gone to Leh twice in his Enfield a.k.a Goddess), a mobile encyclopedia of automobiles and a virtual GPS. As Ahmedabad offers very little as a place to explore, Mt. Abu came as a quick option to be considered. I had done the 37115079same route with Arjun (my pulsar 150) 2 months back and was quite familiar with the route. Thus we set off for the trip on sunday morning and reach back same night. Clocked 510 km in 20 hours (10 hours of riding and another 10 hours of breaks)

Nithin has captured the entire trip in a beautiful travelogue and guess, it has left nothing more to add to it. So read on about an eventful journey to Mount Abu in his own words.

Vararuchi and life philosophy

A random conversation with #nishkus and esp. @kuttyedathi today reminded me of Vararuchi and Parayi petta panthirukulam. It’s an old mythical story which always fascinated me. I think this is one of those intelligent stories which make you think beyond the superficial story layer.

Outline of story goes like this :

Vararuchi, one of the nine wise men of King Vikramaditya’s court married a girl from Paraya caste which is one of the lowest castes among the society of Kerala. They started a pilgrimage and on the way one-after-another, they had 12 children. Each time upon delivery, Vararuchi asked her if the baby had mouth. If she said ‘yes’, he would say, “If God has given mouth, it will feed his mouth too” and would ask her to leave the child there and then proceed. Grieved by these, when the 12th child was born, she lied and said the baby did not have a mouth, upon which he permitted her to take the child along. But when she was about to breast-feed it, the mouth was actually not there!! Vararuchi then consecrated the child on a hill, which is called “Vaayillaakkunnilappan”

The children left out in the forest were subsequently found, adopted and raised by families belonging to different communities, recognised one another as they grew up, and used to get-together at the illam (residence) of the eldest son, Mezhathol Agnihothri, on their father Vararuchi’s death anniversary (Sraadham) – so goes the story or myth. Each of these 12 tribes / families still exists in Kerala and they used to get-together too.

These twelve children are:

  1. Mezhathol Agnihothri (Brahmanan),
  2. Paakkanaar (Parayan, a very low caste),
  3. Rajakan (Dhobi),
  4. Naaraanathu Bhraanthan (Elayathu, a lower class Brahmanan),
  5. Kaarakkal Maatha (high caste Nair, only girl born to the couple),
  6. Akavoor Chaathan (Vysyan),
  7. Vaduthala Nair (Nair Soldier),
  8. Vallon (Thiruvalluvar of Tamil Nadu),
  9. Uppukottan (Muslim),
  10. Paananaar (Paanan, a very low caste of country musicians),
  11. Perumthachan (carpenter),
  12. Vaayillaakkunnilappan (deity)

Each of these 12 had very intriguing stories and trust me it will enthrall you like anything when you read through. My favorites are Paakkanar, Naaranathu Bhraanthan and Paananar.

It even inspired a very famous poem in malayalam:

" Panthrandu makkale pettoramme
Ninte makkalil njananu bhrandhan
Panthrandu rashiyum neettumamme
Ninte makkalil njanan anaadhan
Ente sirayil nuraykkum puzhukkalilla
Kannil Iravinte pashana thimiramilla "

There’s a very interesting history to Vararuchi’s marriage to the paraya girl and his leaving kids behind is also associated to it. Whether it seems justified or not, his reasons for justification remains sticky. ‘If god has given mouth, it will feed him too’ (Vaa keeriya bhagawan annam kodutholum). To me it doesn’t relate to the god part of it, but more to the confidence a person has on a human.

In this era of spoon feeding children with everything and finally helplessly watching those efforts go in drain…. i guess it is also pertinent to know that humans are capable of growing to their right ability, if at all there were given the freedom to do so.

Read more about Panthirukulam:

Dowry: A social evil to be abolished in Kerala

If you look at the development index and Literacy rate of Kerala, it is one the most advanced states in India. Rich with natural resources and expatriate income keralites are also wealthy enough, despite the lack of industries operating there. You will hardly hear about someone who died of starvation in Kerala, compared to the situation in states like UP and Bihar.

Also despite the huge numbers of hindus, christians and muslims in the state, there is a strong sense of communal harmony which exists there. So naturally for outsiders Kerala model is something which could be emulated. No doubt this is possible, provided some of the ancient social evils which still exists in this place are abolished. This post is about one such social evil. Dowry.

History

The word dowry comes from the word ‘Dower’ which means a gift being given by Bride’s family to Groom. Dowry is an ancient system which was practiced widely in Europe and Asia even during BC period. The objective of dowry was to provide the groom a means of sustenance to take care of bride properly. So in simple terms dowry is a post paid bribe paid to Groom, not to harm the bride. Over a period of time, this entire theme got manipulated according to religious doctrines and as a result it became a tool for male dominance and female exploitation. It even was given a legal status, by depriving women from having a share in ancestral property.

Scenario in Kerala

Now lets look at how dowry is being practiced in Kerala. Dowry is not merely a sum in Kerala. It is a symbol of status, a valuation done according to your educational qualifications and wealth accrued, a symbol of showing bride’s wealth…it has many dimensions and the educated lot is prudent enough to give more and more ‘logical’ justifications to the same.

According to an exhaustive study conducted by an NGO called Jananeethi Dowry in Kerala is being offered by many ways such and the majority being:

  • Liquid cash
  • Property (house or land)
  • Ornaments (mostly Gold)
  • Vehicle
  • Fixed deposits

According to Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961,

"Any person who gives, takes or abets dowry is punishable with imprisonment of not less than five years and fine which shall not be less than 15,000 rupees or the value of the dowry, whichever is more."

Mere demand for dowry is punishable in India and a person demanding dowry can get imprisonment of six months to two years and a fine of up to 10,000 rupees. Any agreement between the parties involved is void under the act.

Now you might be wondering despite all these laws, how dowry is being practiced in Kerala. This is being done through Marriage arrangers or ‘Broker’s as they are belovedly called. Majority of marriages in state are being fixed by these brokers. So neither the Groom’s side demand dowry directly, nor the bride’s side offer dowry directly. There are fixed market rate for the grooms and until the bride’s side agrees to it informally, brokers wont finalize the marriage.

For eg: Currently an MBBS doctor can fetch anywhere between 25-50 lacs rupees of dowry where as an engineer goes for 10-20 lacs on an average. (Only God knws hw this figures are reached, but in simple terms they denotes the amount spent on grooms education and the social security he provides to bride based on that)

Similarly if the bride is beautiful, educated and has a job then the dowry rate could also go down (as they can milk her income after she is married)

** this figures are indicative. Heard that as MBBS seats are expensive now, there are cases where groom demanded more than a crore rupees as dowry.

Repercussions of Dowry act are beyond imagination. As dowry prevails even in the lowest strata of society, mostly the entire earnings of a family is being spent as dowry. This even leads to girl child abortions, as people consider having a girl child as an additional burden. In many cases elder brother marry to get dowry so that he can pay it as dowry for her sister’s marriage. This is a vicious cycle and I wonder how people still practice it without giving any serious thought. During 90’s, there were a series of news stories on ‘Kitchen gas cylinder blasts’  and subsequent death of the bride in the family. Most of them were the acts of those grooms, due to the unpaid dowry amounts promised by Bride’s family. Read this to know more about atrocities committed on women in the name of dowry.

Now let us see the most common justifications given by educated class for giving dowry: (source: jananeethi study)

  • It is bride’s share in parental property
  • To setup a life of their own
  • As rightful expenditure for getting such a good alliance
  • To follow tradition

As mentioned, the most used reason for giving dowry is ‘It is bride’s share in parental property’. Now let us examine the hollowness of this claim. Imagine a women being given Rs. 20 lac in 2009 as dowry. As of now, by giving this amount ‘parents’ have paid off the share of property to her and she is not eligible to ask for any share in the property after her parents death. Now consider that on the year of her marriage, parents were around 50 years old. Looking at average life expectancy, they die by the age of 70. This means, after this 20 years their property will be divided to children, which has now been appreciated by atleast 100 times (5% appreciation per year, nt looking at compounded). So when the ancestral property is finally divided in the year of 2029, it might amount to several crores of rupees and it would entirely goto the sons (they do have a rightful sharem as mostly parents are being taken care of by sons, especially younger son). But this also makes that 20 lacs given to daughter as dowry in 2009 so miniscule compared to present value of property. A never ending fight and legal battle thus begin.

Am not sure how well I could articulate this, but practically this happens in almost every family in Kerala and is the root cause of enemity between siblings. (I can vouch for this as Ive seen this personally in my relatives).

So looking at these scenarios, does this prevailing dowry system provide any advantage to anyone involved ? It is mere money circulation without benefiting anyone in long term.

How can this be abolished ?

I believe Dowry cant be removed completely from society by using Law enforcement. We need another Rajarammohan Roy to abolish this social evil. Currently, religious leaders are the capable lot to enforce this. Most in the affluent class still practice dowry just to get along with the existing societal systems. No one has the courage to stand up against it. Because, by doing so they end up delaying their daughter’s marriage, as none would agree to marry her without dowry. So a combination of strict governmental laws and religious doctrines preventing giving or accepting dowry is the best way to eliminate this social evil. Am optimistic about this, seeing amazing initiatives like this.

Interesting fact is not all states in India are under dowry clutches. For eg: In most Gujarat communities, giving or accepting dowry is considered humiliating. May be we could also take some clues from them.

I purposefully didnt discuss many other supporting factors which fuel this dowry system, thinking I might just go overboard.

Would love to see your personal experiences and takes on Dowry in Kerala.

To know more, Download this amazing study report by Jananeethi on Dowry in Kerala.

#Mallu #Twialogues in Twitter

Yesterday was an amazing day. Never had so much fun on twitter. A harmless twitter hashtag #twialogues was ransacked by hyper enthused, humourous #mallu twitteratti and the result was a non-stop stream of top dialogues from old malayalam movies as twialogues. I had the laugh of my life and am yet to get over it.

twit

Today morning @crucifire gave me the idea of recording these historical tweets as a blog post for future ROTFL sessions. So here are they. Have tried to include most which I found are amazing….if I’ve missed any, pls do post’em in comments.

1) @kuttyedathi Manassil kuttabodham thOnniyaal pinne tweetunnathellam yaanthrikamaayirikkum!

2) @whizkidd: Kochhu kuttikal tweet cheythaaal kolu muttaai ttaai ttaai"

3) @arocks Ayyo acha tweetalle, Ayyo acha tweetalle, Ayyo acha tweetalle

4) @sreenadh1987: orkut dukhamanunnni…twitterallo sukhapradam

5) @startonomics: namukku tweetdckil poyi tweet cheyyam.athiravile ezhunnettu rply vannuvo ennum, RT undo ennum nokkam..avide vachu njan ninakku.

6) @ronyjacob oru twitter kittiyirunnenkil tweet cheyamayirunnuuuuu

7) @startonomics namukku oro tweets angu kaachiyalo ? ee choodathu tweeta bestt…davidetta tweet unda ?…2 retweet…chilled

8) @whizkidd: Kutta, tweetil sangathigal onnum vanillallo, sruthi pora..

9) @vimal Hello! Doordarshan kendram alle..innu vaikkittu tweet cheytha kuttiyude id paranju tharamo?

10) @zeqox tweeter alias retweeter

11) @rockus: Daasa, nee americayil poya pinne ninte tweet aaru retweetum.

12) @theexperthand oru tweet ezuthu oru RT enikkum, oru RT local party secretreykkum ayakkoo..oru RT thaanum vach

13) @jestinjoy twitter undo sakhave oru blogger edukkan

14) @zeqox amerikayil twitterila polum enthu viditharamaanivan parayunathu, Twitterillatha naadundo ?

15) @startonomics Njan ee tweetschoolil onnum padikkathathu kondu, Retweetinte pravarthanathine patti onnum ariyilla

16) @theexperthand: ivaru bayangara retweetukaara.. thiruvithamkoor ragavinte kayyinu tweetdeckum twhirlum vaangichavara

17) @zeqox in the twitter of my wife and daughter you will not Retweet any tweet of the today.. get out of twitter erangipodaaa

18) @anvimal: polandine kurichu nee tweetaruthu enikkathishtamalla

19) @kuttyedathi "enthey ee alpam glaamor ulla tweeter ne penkuttyolkkishtamallennundo ? kaakka tweeti nna.. thOnnaNE

20) @CruciFire: Twitter – Jana kodigalude vishwashtha social network 😀

21) @vimal nee aanelleda pennugale vazhiyil nadakkan sammathikkatha alavalathi twittteeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

22) @lakshmi_h thomassukutty tweetikoda

23) @startonomics athentha daasaa ee tweeting nammal nerathe thudanganjathu….ella tweetinum athintethaya samayam undu vijaya..

24) @lakshmi_h: ahaa aiswaryathinte retweet muzhangunnathu pole

25) @lakshmi_h: Angane retweetukal ettuvaangan ee twitter handle iniyum baaki

26) @roshinroy Ormayundo ee tweetukal? Orma kanilla.

27) @lakshmi_h retweetom ki zindagi jo kabhi khatam nahin hota

28) @arocks Illangi… Ende Twitter Id Ninde Pattikku itto!!

29) @whizkidd shekharaa enikk swasthamayi tweetanam .athinu thadasam nikkan ninte ee kaikalundavaruthu…athu kondu athu njan edukkuvaaa

30) @vimal Eda nee vellathum kando? hmm..enthu?..full tweeted..poda first timonnum angane full tweeted kanan pattilla..aliyaa..sathyam! umm

31) @theexperthand enthokkeyaayirunnu tweetdeck,twitter destroyer,twhirl.. avasaanam tweet retweetayi.

32) @zeqox enthado twittere njan engine aayi poyathu..thaan chinthichittundo.

33) @vimal Kittiyaal reply allengil retweet!

34) @kuttyedathi "thirike njaan varumenna vaartha kelkkaanayi tweeters kothikkarundennum. thirike varunneram tweeti thakarkkuvan njanum kothikkarunduennum

35) @jestinjoy lal salaam twittere

**Have numbered it for the ease of mentioning your top favorites from this list.

**List is random. No particular order followed.

So here is my #followfriday list of humorous #mallus in twitter. Guess, no intro required for these tweeters. Their tweets are sufficient. 🙂