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We Mallayalis are a strange breed indeed. I have always known that. I was reminded of it this time when I visited Kerala. I had gone there to address two groups of English teachers – in Kottayam and Cochin. Driving from Cochin airport to Kottayam, I was once again struck by the incredible beauty of this land and by the amazing contradictions in the people there.  You see, apart from being born and brought up there, I have had the ‘experience’ of a lifetime spending couple of years of my adult life in Kerala. In terms of excitement, that experience falls somewhere between being bludgeoned continuously every 30 seconds with a blunt object and having 220 volts of electricity being applied intermittently to your backside every five minutes. Massive ups and downs if you get my drift. I often ask myself why this is so. The answer always comes back to ‘The Fundamental Rights of a Malayali’.

To understand the ‘Fundamental Rights of a Malayali’, one has to first understand the psyche of a Malayali. The Mallu is one incredibly sensitive being. I have long pondered on why the good lord made Mallus so fair minded, yet so darned bristly at the same time. Finally, in a moment of inspired insight, the answer came to me. Unlike the rest of humanity, who evolved from mere monkeys, the Mallu has evolved from porcupines. This simple fact, so well hidden from Darwin (possibly because his limited experience never encompassed extreme cases such as meeting a Mallu), explained the bristling behavior of the Mallu. Having laid the foundation, I have taken great pains to put down a comprehensive list of the ‘Fundamental Rights of a Malayali’, a compendium of guiding principles which govern a Mallu’s life, his interaction with other Mallus and with other lower level mortals and why his ‘each particular hair stands on end like the quills upon the fretful porpentine’ (as you can see, Bill Shakespeare on the other hand, has certainly experienced a Mallu to have written these lines so appropriately) when he is affronted (as is his usual wont).

The ‘FRoaM’ reads as follows…

Right to equality – Every Mallu is born a communist unless otherwise specified by his/her parents. They shall continuously strive to create a society of equals by uplifting themselves as much as humanly possible and after that by subtly taking potshots at others who are more equal.

Right to Samaram(strike) – Every Mallu at birth is inculcated with vast knowledge of Satyagraha, which he/she hones by continuous practice of striking at least once every month from grade 1 to the age of 77. During months in which holidays are limited, he/she strikes several times extra to get his/her rightful number of off days.

Right to Flag Hoisting – Every Mallu male is entitled to hoisting his Mundu or his Lungi several inches above his knees and to showing off his hairy legs while pretending  to be Silk Smitha.

Right to Freedom of Spirit – Every Mallu must at all points in time be pickled liberally and should strive for this exalted spiritual state by imbibing from early morning. Even if he has to queue up in front of the Kallu Shaap before it opens at the ridiculously late hour of 8AM.

A corollary to this is Right to Brandy – A true blue Mallu shall only drink Brandy, since he is able to assuage his guilt by pretending that the good spirit is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Right to Red rice & Fish curry – A  Mallu may consume fish curry and red rice any time of the day starting 6AM.

A corollary to this is right to Beef fry and Porotta, right to Appam and Muttakkari and right to Tapioca and Fish curry. (except that Appam and Muttakkri may start at 5 AM.)

Right to Consider Sreesanth as the God of Cricket – The Mallu does not believe in RamG’s epic story on the 10th Avatar of Vishnu being Sachin Tendulkar as given in Oh God!!. In his mind, Sreesanth is the only god of cricket and has been unfairly treated by Krishnamachari Srikanth, a mere jealous Paandi.

Right to Murder English Pronunciation- This is a very Fundamental and inalienable right of a Mallu. Specifically, he may murder all words having an ‘O’ in them or may ‘simbly’ substitute a ‘B’ for a ‘P’ every time it dares to make an appearance after an ‘M’. The same may be said of a ‘K’ or a hard ‘C’ if they so much as try to jump in ahead of an ‘L’ as any of my ‘Ungles’ may agree.

Right to Amazing Names – A  Mallu may be named by clubbing together any set of right sounding syllables as in the case of Jiju, Joji, Shiny, Shiji, Shiju… etc. Siblings may adopt rhyming agglomeration of syllables as in the case of Jincy and Lincy or even Tiju, Liju and Biju.

Right to scoff at Tamilians – A Mallu may at all times treat the Tamilian as an inferior being (Having actually drawn a substantial part of their cultural heritage from Tamil Nadu) and may call them Paandis.

A corollary is that the Mallu has the right to be offended if the Tamilian retailiates by calling him a ‘Malayali Gentleman’ in a sneering fashion. For more on this, you may read up my treatise on the subject as given in Tamil Brahmin Father-in-law

Finally, and most importantly, the Mallu has a Right to Bristle at all insults, real, imagined or not yet imagined.  He has to uphold the traditions of his ancestor, the fretful porpentine. A very very important corollary to this is that all male Mallus must sport some of the quills inherited from their ancestors on their face- namely on their upper lip. This helps them bristle.

That, my friend, completes my well researched document on the Fundamental Rights of a Malayali. Now let me warn you, we Mallus are actually amazing. We have religious harmony, communal harmony, sex ratio, development index, literacy rate, female infant mortality, all to prove that we are a great breed. And we even have the ability to laugh at ourselves. But if you, who is evolved from a mere ape and not an exalted porcupine even so much as dare chuckle at this article, we shall all bristle in indignation, and poke your sorry backside with so many quills that you will never be able to sit again to have your Masal Dosas and your Tandoori Chickens.

For reading more such fun stuff, read my book, ‘From Ouch to Oops’. (be prepared to startle those around you with sudden explosive laughter and at the same time, feel awesomely positive). To but this, click here From Ouch to Oops

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Comments ( 6 )

      • Girish Venkateswaran says:

        Ram,

        Hope you are doing well.
        Like the article – good time pass.

        Padmagirish
        BTech Naval Arch, IIT – Chennai, Class of 1989

      • Rakesh says:

        wow, is the last para supposed to be funny or ur meager defense against the response u r gonna get :@

        1. the most important point… ‘How dare you even think of substituting “SACHIN” with some one else :@ :@ :@’

        2. not even 2% of the people i know are communists…
        may be they won the majority…. well i guess thats what happens after years of consistent looting and a short course of religious extremism with an ineligibility to cast a NOTA

        3. for ur kind information, just because u find a large queue in-front of the liquor shop on the last day of a month doesnt mean we all drink… u could’ve seen a queue 5 or 6 folds longer in-front of a theater on the 1st day of a star’s movie

        4. i dont blame u for the hoisting the flag part…. that’s something u wont understand…

        5. ah almost forgot. English…
        our mother tongue happens to be Malayalam. if at all we have miss pronounced, it was deliberately for the sake of fun. u dont need to spit out british english whilst addressing ur close one… the miss pronunciation adds a touch of affection or freedom in it and so we do it…

        All these were out of the frustration of seeing an article that portrays malayalees very inaccurately.
        Sorry if i were disrespectful or have hurt you in any manner.
        Have a nice day.

      • ramgopal vallath says:

        Dear Rakesh,

        Thanks for writing in with your feedback.
        I believe the ability to laugh at oneself is very important to succeed in life. I do – all the time. It has helped me get through really tough times in life.
        And most Malayalis I know also laugh at all these quirks of Malayalis.
        There is actually nothing you can teach me about Malayalis that I don’t already know, being a Malayali myself.
        Maybe you should stop taking yourself too seriously. You just proved my point about over sensitive people.
        But I am sorry if I hurt your feelings. The post was not meant to do so.

      • Rakesh says:

        Dear Ram,
        I myself completely agree with the point that one has to be able to laugh at self(believe me, those are not just words). But what u have done here(with certain points) is completely indigestible and i can assure u it isnt my sensitiveness taking over. I just took the privilege of pointing out ur mistakes just like u did in trying to judge/explain malayalees.
        Just like one should be able to laugh at one self, one should always be ready to accept his mistakes… I completely agree with you on certain points, but the 1s i pointed out, i completely disagree and u should realise its because u werent right with them at all. Please dont tell me i am wrong cause i have lived my entire 23years of life as a malayalee. Nothing wrong with ur post but certain facts u mentioned are completely wrong wether u admit them or not. Thats all i meant to say.
        Good day.

      • JekkersKirl says:

        Chef http://www.ramgvallath.com stiff upper lip cool portal created!
        Article useful, the main thing that helped people, Respect to you!

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