Sunday, January 27, 2008

Malayalam Ariyilla

(Dont know malayalam- when spoken in the 'fake' mallu accent can also mean 'cannot SLICE malayalam')

A little knowledge of malayalam is advisible for this post.

I have read many posts on misadventures of malayalees speaking hindi- some original, some copied. Quite ashamed to admit it, but in my family we have had our embarrassing moments trying to speak our mother tongue- Malayalam.

During those long evening family prayers (when all except Ammachi are alseep), in response to the Litany to the Blessed Mary everyone mechanically responds ‘Njangalku vendi apeyshikanamey’ (pray for us)...Now the jus-returned-from- Ooty-boarding-school uncles in an attempt to actively take part in prayer and listening to Appachan started responding ‘En CONDITIONamey’….

In Malayam, (if I can translate per se) we try to ‘make sure our prayer reaches’ God. (That should explain one and half hour long Sunday mass) My sister is generally good with her Malayalam, except one day when she told father- “Daddy nammakku prarthana CHETHIKYAM”… Dad with the 'why-did-I-bring-these-girls-out-of-Kerala' look, corrects her- ‘Moley prarthana CHETHIKYAM alla, ETHIKYAM (refer to ‘reaching prayer’ logic)’
P.s chettiya has no sensible meaning as far my knowledge of Malayalam goes.

Yours truly- the worst in the lot. My knowledge of Malayalam is purely phonetical and vocabulary mostly picked up from movies or Asianet. If my younger cousins want to outsmart me all they do is ask me the numbers in Malayalam-especially 85 and 95. If they want instant entertainment, copy of Malayalam Manorama is pushed in front of me.

Once sitting and watching Ammachi dry betel nut (adakya) in the sun, I innocently asked Mum- “Ammey idano olakyya”!!! (Dear cousins don’t say ‘olakya’ or ‘thenga kola’ in front of kids). Or the regular question I ask Mum- Amma ente pillowna evidey? (Mum where is my pillow- talona in mallu) The other day I wanted to scrap a malayalee friend ‘endu patti’ (wat happened)..typo error it ended up being ‘enda patti’!!

When I was enrolled in St. Teresas’s school in class 8, girls in class viewed me as the NRK mallu from Bombay and I did get a good share of attention and respect. So much so girls would try (uncomfortably) to speak in English or not talk to me at all. [Little did they know that I was not speaking to them cause I was not comfortable with my malayalam]. In addition, the strict Chemistry teacher was my aunt. So no messing with the new girl in class. Now the tailors were taking more than 3 weeks to stitch the new uniform. On enquiring

Me- Uncle uniform eppo kittum? (wen will I get the uniform)
Tailor- “uniform chuvayazhicha kittum” (u will get the uniform on chuvayazhicha)
Me- “chuvayazhicha paranya” (what is chuvayazhicha )
Tailor- “kuttyikku Malayalam ariyillale- toosday toosday” (kid u don’t know Malayalam. Tuesday)

Now on the way back, I chat with some other northy friends and laugh and say “ooh chuvayazhicha matlab magalwaar” and all of us repeat that line a zillion times in the break. Break ends. Class teacher walks in.

Teacher- “Anndey uniform ready aayile?” (Ann isn’t your uniform ready?)
(Since the question was posed in Malayalam and I was not on guard I respond back in malayalam)
Me- “Illya ma’am. Tailor parayanu enikku uniform MANGALAZHICHA kittum” (No. Tailor said I will get it on MANGALAZHICHA)
Rest is history- I was the butt of jokes in class for the next one week. I was reduced to a normal student and started speaking in broken Malayalam and my friends in English to me...

I am very grateful to my father for taking us out of Kerala because with our family practices, my priorities today would have only been a husband and two kids. But somewhere along the line I regret the fact that I do not know much about my state, my culture, my language (and most of my relatives). And it is sad that most malayalees take pride in saying that they don’t know their language or their culture. And even if they do know, deny it and fake a 'malayalam-is-so-difficult-for-me' accent. And i have noticed this is more among the fairer sex. Those chechis at St. Teresa’s college and convent junction, endless heroines in movies, kitty party aunties in Ernakulam south and rotrary clubs, the funny hostess of Idea Star Singer… What is sadder is that NORMALayalees tend to put these ABNORMALayaless on a pedestal!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Doing fraandsheep on Orkut

“You don’t know Orkut, the whole world is on orkut.”
That line and a dirty stare-like smiley from a friend three years ago was how I was initiated into orkut. Four years back started what I would call a revolution (atleast in India and Brazil)- social networking sites. In the beginning this concept caught my fancy. I met friends with whom I had lost touch for over 5-10 years. Checked out the profiles of the erstwhile high school babes and bitches and got jealous (I am human!). Found all my past crushes, checked out how they looked after all these years and their present relationship status too ;~P. I hate to admit it, but yes orkut is a part of my e-life. Wat makes orkut interesting?

Names- (& u thot I will start with fraandsheep :~P) I thought our parents named us Ram, Shyam, Sita, Gita, Libby, Tibby. But who names their kids ‘trust no one’, ‘love is blind’, ‘don’t believe wat u c’, ‘love knows no boundaries’, 'smell of love ummm...'. What compounds the problem is the display pic- the place is infested with Deepika Padukones, Shahrukh Khans, Che Guevaras, Emma Watsons, Brad Pitts. Do they realise how difficult it is for their scrap recipients to identify them wen they get a scrap from ‘MorOniC WoMaN’ and the profile picture shows Rakhi Sawant or ‘Blessed Gurl’ with Pam Anderson. And we also have stars, hyphens, asterisk marks decorating your name..

Albums- So all of us know that photos in orkut till sometime back were not safe as one could save a pic at the right click of the mouse. But there were (are) still some people who want to put their pic, but still fear and we end up seeing their backs, hand, torn jeans end, eye, a newly-shaped eyebrow, nostril and puppy’s tail, rahul dravid, some hills and valleys..

Foto captions- Some ppl come up with brilliant captions for their pics. Captions like ‘I am hot, am I not?’, ‘isnt she smart?’ [y do u want our opinions too], , a pic with a girl in front of the computer ‘This is what I do when I am boring’.

“Mah-moi” language- Our wannabe-ism has been taken to new heights with this language. So sometimes the new ‘about me’ columns have ‘This is mah life, I live with moi parents’ or photo caption ‘moi sister and ma’. (my heartfelt sympathies for the French.)

This one worries me-
Kiddie champs- Sadly orkut is getting very popular among kids-The Orkuttans and Orkutties and their folks don’t understand the dangers I presume- so we have a random Tia Mol who writes ‘I am not 18 I am jus 9, here to have fun. Relationship status- open marriage, orientation-bicurious’. But that apart there are these dashing heroes, all of 10, putting up their macho pics- a) Where they are wearing ‘full pants’ standing with their chettans and wearing plastic ‘cooling glass’, b) with folks wearing a wet t-shrit in Veegaland and other such concerns . Their ‘ideal match’ is Emma Watson’ or ‘Miley Cyrus’. And they converse in the ‘mah-moi language’ more than teens.

Fraandsheep request- It is through orkut, I learnt that ppl are seeking ‘frandsheep’ and not friendship and that they don’t want to ‘befriend’ you, but rather ‘do frandships’ or ‘make frandsheep to’ you. Take for example

“H@!!!!!!..I'm Gikku,Nw Frm Mavelikara..I would like to Make a Good Friendship with u..(I kno these r usual words of Every Guy to Start a chat with a Gal.) Bt I'm not. I realy like Good Friendships.If U havnt any Objection...... I expecting Ur Rely.. For More abt me go through My Profile.. Take Care.”
“i am a cool dude with good sense of humar as my Existing friends say,i found your name and profile, it's very intresting , if u want to maintain a good friendship
u r most welcome u can reach me @ 98XXXXXXXX”

Followed by the regulars- u r my ‘hart’, ‘sole’, ‘liver’ etc, ‘there is somethOng in you that I like a lot’ (talk abt I and O being next to each other on the keyboard)

I tried to wean myself away from Orkut, but with fraand-requests like this who can live without Orkut :~P

Friday, January 04, 2008

New Year Revelations

Lot of revelations happened last year, especially in the last quarter, when I left home for the first time to firang land. Here are a few of them.

- A ‘please’ or ‘sorry’ or ‘thank you’ will only get your work done in England. Never said so many sorry, thank u please ever in my life.

- Even an Englishkaran (Englishman) has problems in understanding my English, which I thought had a neutral accent.

- It is the policy of National Health Services to ask you if u r pregnant on routine check up. It is not that they suspect/ accuse you of being pregnant.

- Don’t get shell-shocked if prophylactic is provided in the ‘student induction pack’.

- I still manage to get ‘looks’ from old 50-65 yr old Englishmen. Wonder y they keep thinking that I am interested in them!!!

- Rajma bursts when heated in a microwave and dal needs to be soaked before it is cooked.

- You have to attend to the milk kept on the hob. The hob doesn’t switch off on its own.

- I look like a Bangladeshi and Dad looks European Chinese (according to my Polish hallmate). And I thought we looked INDIAN!!

- Gatwick Airport resembles Bhatinda railway station as the Europeans also convert their bags into pillows and lie on the couches in the waiting area, thereby not letting others sit.

- Our ‘Cuticura’ is an international brand. Saw it lying in a dutyfree shop.

- When they have no reservations on a train, the Europeans like Indians will sit outside the loos and in some cases even inside.

- Inter City Express (ICE) touches 300km/hr only from Cologne to Frankfurt. (We should have gone further!)

- KÖLN is Cologne (this was my biggest revelation)

- Read about a place the next time I head somewhere. I have to go to Cologne once again to appreciate the Cathedral.

- Eau de Cologne is different from the water flowing in River Rhine through Cologne.

- Fallen snow resembles ice found in a refrigerator without defrost.

- The dumb actresses of the Indian film industry deserve some amount of respect. Its not easy standing on snow with a backless blouse and chiffon saree.

- I should just stick to juice as just one glass ends up making me dance much to the embarrassment of my company. (Disclaimer: I am not a drunkard, I dont go beyond a drink except that one dreaded time)

- Chech and I still look ‘under 18’ [according to German standards] as we were the only ones asked to show our passport for entry. (Man did I feel good!)

- Mum is still not concerned about my advancing age, Dad is still concerned about y he is not receiving any ‘pocket money’ demands from me.

- Ammachi thinks I am a little girl, she still calls me Minukutty (aargh!)

- Never rant about any blog in particular to Chettan to an extent which irritates him. He ended up attacking an unsuspecting fellow blogger, followed by attacks from Chech and yours truly. (Disclaimer: We r a heady mix, but we aren’t as crazy as we appear)

- Chettan is the brother I always wanted (Thank u Chech for the kidilum choice, Chetta- my Euro trip ;~D)

- Chech has become a very good cook, and I have gotten over the paranoia that she is trying to poison me.

- College is the best time of your life and u realise this only when u finish college and land up in an office staring at the computer and trying to sound pleasant and more importantly ‘knowledgeable’ to your clients.

- Office is the best time of your life and you realise this when u land up in college after a 4 month stint in an office and start hating homework and taking down notes in class. Suddenly ‘end of the month’ lost its significance and excitement.

- May be middle of this year when I am out of grad school I will appreciate it more.

- A stricter boss is a better boss. (BFD u r still my best mentor till date)

- There is no place like mum’s kitchen. Never looked forward to idiappam and puttu as I do now (Mum are u listening??)

- There is no better place to study than a room where u can overhear Mum humming. Over the past three months I ‘hear’ silence more often than sound. And there is no better luxury in knowing that ‘Dad will take care of everything’.

- I can never find a replacement for my best friend Vidhi. May our friendship continue forever and ever. Amen