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!!


eljo said...

still remember the mangalazhcha bit vey vividly... so malayalam korachu korachu samsarikan ariyam, alley??? ;-)

maneesh said...

ahem.. lesson number 22 page 33 and half

chetikyam - (v.) chettal - to cut ( i presume..what is it that you do to nariyal for nariyalpani u cut it na?)

occasional usage also tends to lean towards showing off.. chetti adikya.. ( to cut and beat in its literal sense)

neway.. abeyshikanamey is actually apekshikanamey .. we even speak mallu with a mallu accent :D

interesting stuff... mangalazhcha.. hehe..fron today officiall mangal pandey's b'day .. am looking forward to the comments here.. especially if hemant lands up.. :D :D

I'd also like to take this opportunity to state that I see a lot of parents in bombay who converse in their mallufied hindi with their kids (my aunts n uncles included).. it is very dissapointing to the say the least.. perhaps the only silver lining is that they might not carry an accent with them like yours truly

anN-series said...


yes yes i can BARK malayalam :P..njaan marichu marichu padichatha...:P


oye thanx for correction..but as i said my knowlege is phonetical..toh jaise sunai deta hai waise likhti hoon...infy is keeping our art lover heymoo bery bery bissi..doesnt come here very often these days...tu toh mera bachpan ka dost hai...mere accent ka mazzak udatha hai...

maneesh said...

oye.. mai bas showoff kar raha tha apna mallu skills :D .. mai showoff hi toh hoo after all :D
yours truly
showcase blogger!

mathew said...

mangalazhcha...that is simply ROTFL material.. ;-P

i knew this post was coming from you..i have actually bookmarked that idea star singer video for future laughs..

Personally speaking christian prayer session at home has given us umpteen entertain once it happened while struggling to read bible...
"Yeshu paatu paadi marichu" instead of "Yeshu paadu pettu marichu"

no one could stop laughing hearing that...

Mark IV said...

lollz... we should have called u that when we could!!!
funny how mondays and tuesdays resemble the name of some banana chips, while your name is reduced to ann-day!!!!

Aiswarya said...

I don’t even know the girls name, but when I watch her on Asianet, I sit and wonder how she asks for her washed underwear! Amm.. ent jattay evite? My foot. Fair enough you can speak English, But if you know the language (Malayalam) then f^&%*n talk it properly eh!! Gets my blood boiling!

Amazingly funny post as usual!

Rainman said...

This post reminds me of the time when I thought meen (fish) meant mean in English (this was obviously a long long time ago).

Rainman said...

Ippo enikku korachu korachu Malayalam ariyam!

Bullshee said...

When we were in college, being college guys we used to play the occasional prank. One of the most popular ones was to strip a guy completely and dump him into the hotel corridor to fend himself in the naked wild!

The funniest memory I have of malayalam gone bad is when the victim of one of these pranks, Kevin(who studied in Sharjah most of his life), barges into our room, desperately trying to maintain his decency and says:

"Njan naschinju!!"

Hemant said...

Hilarious!! Nee ente Raviazhcha 'success' aaki!! :P
My folks tease me with this lil' anecdote, which happened several yrs back during one of our annual visits to kerala...
The entire family was at the dining table for lunch when this cuckoo on the wall clock sounded its noon alarm..
Yours truly, a 4-yr old NRK (from Pune then), uttered "Yeh Ochha Kay?" (hindi malayalam marathi)

God knows what I would have spoken if I had been in that situation after dad's stint in coimbatore :P

PS: Artlover hemu wd defntly visit ur blogspace more often if Infy doesnt make him work on shukrazhchas n raviazhchas

Alex Mcone said...

Ha ha ... that was something I could really relate to. I came to Kerala for the first time around ten years ago without any inkling of the language. I could probably understand if someone asked me my name but that would be it.

Circumstances forced me to take a bus one day. Imagine a kid who cant speak Malayalam and worse still cant read the names of the places on the bus placards !! Wooh hard times, real hard times.

Anywayz nice post. :D Cheers.

Alex Mcone said...

Oh by the way, I put your link on "Blogs I read". Hope you dont mind.

Anonymous said...

hey was hilarious! v even marked ur blog in my fav websites list..sahi many times do I need to tell u....u can actually start writing a weekly column!!

raghav said...

Being a Tamilian who has lived all his life in Trivandrum studying sanskrit(!!) as the third language ( after hindi and english) .. i can commiserate with ur feelings :)

My friends in college used to hand me Balarama and asked me to read out the comic strip and I would sit and struggle for 1 hour ( and still reach half way) ..

but Mangalaychca bit is truly hilarious.. thats one major faux paus ...

will make sure I come back for more .. keep blogging

Macadamia The Nut said...

Ann, this is a topic SO close to my heart... I've lived in Bahrain from the time I was 9 months old, till the time I came to the USA. And since I come from a multi-ethnic background Malayalam wasn't normally spoken at home. Usually the norm in the 'Gelf' is to make the kids more Mallu-ish than the ones in Kerala. But that wasn't true in my case. I grew up with very very VERY basic Mallu. But the rare visits to Kerala only made me want ot learn more words to add to the repository of Mallu words I had. I even tried to learn to write.. failed attempt but at last I tried :D

Then I started noticing that each time I went to Kerala my younger relatives would have this fake Manglish accent... the very ones who taught me to cuss fluently when we were kids.

Lol! Who're they kidding. When did it ebcome such a fashoin statement to say that you can't speak your own Mother-tongue (or fathertongue in my well? Crap!

Sachin Garg said...

I know 'vanakaam'
would that do?
or rather, is that malyalam in the first place?

KK said...

Heheh. I could just hear how the glorified words would've sounded like when you inflicted them upon unsuspecting Malayalees(TM).

A little thrown off base about the respect and attention though, thought you would have been a prime target for the witch-hunt.

Zee said...

i know the feeling. people come to me and recite urdu poetry fluently and then expect me to know what they're talking about!!!

Dhanush | ധനുഷ് said...

You put it Nice and Honest with a great sense of humour, which not many would do :)

Too Good. Keep them coming.

Laughed a lot on the "Managalazcha" Stuff :)

anN-series said...

nice to know tht even ppl knowing malayalam have such experiences reading malayalam..and i guess Jesus wud have preferred the 'singing and dying' idea ;~)

Anndey means Ann' languague is funnier than urs

thanx..that woman makes me feel like a caterpillar going inside my veins.. FYI her name is ranjini haridas

lol dude..and btw do u saw 'korachu' as in 'bark' malayalam :~P

@bullshee u ppl were cruel..poor guy

"Nee ente Raviazhcha 'success' aaki" ur ltd knowledge of mallu finally made u address me as 'tu' and not 'tum' :~p if u remember our little neighbour chinju also spoke a mal-tam-eng-marathi lingo

i have had those days..but i jus learnt by heart the malayalam script of the bus i had to take back..and my pleasure in being listed in ur blog roll...

anN-series said...

my sweetheart u have even commented on my post which requires knowledge of mallu- girl i love u :~)

like ur balarama i am given kallikuduka and malayalam manorama..i plan to sue my tiny tot cousins for mental harrasment!

thankfully my cousins havent yet faked accents, but those girls speak beautiful malayalam and neutral accented english and i love their schools for that..and yea last vacation home my aunt got me a Class 1 malayalam book-imagine me after 5 yrs of law reading class 1 malayalam..btw i still cudnt read it..shame on me!!

vanakkam is tamil my friend

my mallu friends had a hearty laugh..and since all the ice had broken i wasnt a target for witvh hunt! (luckily)

i can understand that feeling :~)

thanx buddy...

Deepti said...

Ann.. actually strolled in here from Silverine's blog ...
Being an NRK, I can totally relate to your post !!!
I have beent he butt of so many jokes durin my kerala visits, especially with Pazham and mazha when we were younger :)

Deepti said...

And one more thing!! totally agree with your take on Manglish and the Idea star singer host ( who rolls her eys n tongue for the effect too !!)
You have a nice style of writing .. will kep strolling by :D

d_grail said...


dont even get me manglish or more frequently mindi is horrible..

contrary to being proud..i hate it..esp wen i visit other mallu frenz houses and thr parents expect u 2 reply in chaste mallu

endore vishesham appam :(
(hope i gt dat rt)

Girl With Big Eyes said...

You just brightened up a dull afternoon at work for me!

I even started snickering after reading the hilarious 'mangalazhcha' incident. My mates were looking at me as if wondering what's so funny about the work!

keralahunk said...

I am putting up here in New Delhi. I know there are so many Girls and Guys here who for just showing off say that they can't speak Malayalam well even though their parents speak only Malayalam in their home. The funny thing is when they proudly say and believe that they do not have a Malayalee Look when one can clearly see the sign stamped on their forehead "MADE IN KERALA".

It could be just a spelling mistake, Tuesday is Mangalwar and not Magalwar and the hostess on Idea Star Singer speaks better Malayalam and her hold and accent on English is marvellous as well. What do you say?

keralahunk said...

I am putting up here in New Delhi. I know there are so many Girls and Guys here who for just showing off say that they can't speak Malayalam well even though their parents speak only Malayalam in their home. The funny thing is when they proudly say and believe that they do not have a Malayalee Look when one can clearly see the sign stamped on their forehead "MADE IN KERALA".

It could be just a spelling mistake, Tuesday is Mangalwar and not Magalwar and the hostess on Idea Star Singer speaks better Malayalam and her hold and accent on English is marvellous as well. What do you say?

VMJ said...

I just came across ur blog today (no actually I've been here before once or twice when i wasnt such a committed blog that doesnt count) and spent the entire friday afternoon in office reading. A lot of explanations to my colleagues for laughing uncontrollably, thought i should post a comment at least blaming me for having made me stay back in office on a friday evening after 3pm. :)
Had a great time reading most posts especially this one. Get to your regular posting frequency please. :)

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