Tag Archives: Malayalam

Another Pen Story of Tough Love

Once a favorite uncle of mine gave me a pen. This uncle was a soldier in the Indian Army at that time. Soldiers used to come home for a couple of months every year or so, and give gifts to everybody in the extended family. There was a sense of entitlement about the whole thing, and it never occurred to the gift takers that they could perhaps give something back as well. During the past couple of decades, things changed. 送礼者会蜂拥而至,,en,海湾,,en,马拉亚里斯,,ml,马拉雅拉姆语,,en,中东的钾盐民工,,en,从而严重削弱了可怜士兵的社会地位,,en,无论如何,,en,我从叔叔那里得到的这支笔是一个叫Crest品牌的漂亮的哑光金标本,,en,可能是由我叔叔在喜马拉雅山山脚下走私到中国边境,,en,我为我的这份宝贵财产感到骄傲,,en,我想以后几年我会拥有所有财产,,en,但是钢笔没用那么久,,en,它被一个大男孩偷走了,在夏天的一次测试中,我不得不和他共享一张桌子。,,en,我对损失感到震惊,,en,比那更多的,,en “Gulf Malayalees” (Keralite migrant workers in the Middle-East) thereby severely diminishing the social standing of the poor soldiers.

Anyway, this pen that I got from my uncle was a handsome matte-gold specimen of a brand called Crest, possibly smuggled over the Chinese border at the foothills of the Himalayas and procured by my uncle. I was pretty proud of this prized possession of mine, as I guess I have been of all my possessions in later years. But the pen didn’t last that long — it got stolen by an older boy with whom I had to share a desk during a test in the summer of 1977.

I was devastated by the loss. More than that, 让妈妈知道我很害怕,因为我知道她不会好心地对待它,,en,我想我应该更加小心一点,并始终将笔放在我的身上,,en,果然,,en,我妈妈因失去哥哥的礼物而生气,,en,坚强的爱的拥护者,,en,她叫我去找笔,,en,没有它就不回来,,en,现在,,en,那是一个危险的举动,,en,我妈妈不感激的是,我从字面上接受了大多数指示,,en,我仍然,,en,当我出发去绝望的错误时已经很晚了,,en,因为我本来不应该回来的,所以我根本不可能回来,,en,不是没有笔,,en,几小时后我父亲回到家,,en,在事件发生时感到震惊,,en. I guess I should have been more careful and kept the pen on my person at all times. Sure enough, my mom was livid with anger at the loss of this gift from her brother. A proponent of tough love, she told me to go find the pen, and not to return without it. Now, that was a dangerous move. What my mom didn’t appreciate was that I took most directives literally. I still do. It was already late in the evening when I set out on my hopeless errant, and it was unlikely that I would have returned at all since I wasn’t supposed to, not without the pen.

My dad got home a couple of hours later, and was shocked at the turn of events. 他当然不相信艰难的爱情,,en,离得很远,,en,或许他对我的字面理解,,en,曾经是它的受害者,,en,派克笔的故事,,en,较早,,en,他来找我,发现我在离家十公里的那所锁着的学校里漫无目的地游荡,,en,育儿是一种平衡行为,,en,你必须锻炼坚强的爱,,en,以免您的孩子在以后的生活中不为严酷的世界做好准备,,en,您还必须表现出爱意和爱心,以便您的孩子在情感上可以感到安全,,en,您必须为您的孩子提供足够的食物,不要过度放纵,,en,否则你会宠坏他们,,en,您必须给他们自由和成长的空间,,en,但是你不应该变得超脱和漠不关心,,en, far from it. Or perhaps he had a sense of my literal disposition, having been a victim of it earlier. Anyway, he came looking for me and found me wandering aimlessly around my locked up school some ten kilometer from home.

Parenting is a balancing act. You have to exercise tough love, lest your child should not be prepared for the harsh world later on in life. You have to show love and affection as well so that your child may feel emotionally secure. You have to provide for your your child without being overindulgent, or you would end up spoiling them. You have to give them freedom and space to grow, but you shouldn’t become detached and uncaring. 在多种维度上将您的行为调整到合适的水平是使养育父母难以掌握的艺术,,en,真正让我感到恐惧的是,您只有一枪,,en,如果你弄错了,,en,错误的波动可能持续的时间比您想象的要长,,en,有一次我对他不高兴,,en,我的儿子,,en,比他六年来要明智得多,,en,告诉我我必须要小心,,en,因为他会像我对待他一样对待他的孩子,,en,我们已经知道了,,en,我们不是吗,,en,我的母亲确实为我准备了一个无情的现实世界,,en,我父亲在我身上养育了足够的好心,,en,组合也许还不错,,en,但是我们都想,,en,比我们父母做得更好,,en,做个好父母,,en,就我而言,,en. What makes it really scary is the fact that you get only one shot at it. If you get it wrong, the ripples of your errors may last a lot longer than you can imagine. Once when I got upset with him, my son (far wiser than his six years then) told me that I had to be careful, for he would be treating his children the way I treated him. But then, we already know this, don’t we?

My mother did prepare me for an unforgiving real world, and my father nurtured enough kindness in me. The combination is perhaps not too bad. But we all would like to do better than our parents. In my case, 我使用一个简单的技巧来调整我对孩子的行为和待遇,,en,我试图在上述治疗的接受端想象自己,,en,如果我不应该受到照顾或受到不公平的对待,,en,行为需要微调,,en,此技巧并非始终有效,因为它通常是在事实发生之后,,en,我们首先根据情况采取行动,,en,在我们有时间进行合理的成本效益分析之前,,en,必须有另一种正确的方法,,en,可能仅仅是培养很多耐心和仁慈的问题,,en,你懂,,en,有时候,,en,我希望我可以问我父亲,,en,孩子们,,en,喀拉拉邦,,en,为人父母,,en,来自新加坡的派克笔,,en,上世纪初,,en,中国人和印度人大量移民到新加坡,,en. I try to picture myself at the receiving end of the said treatment. If I should feel uncared for or unfairly treated, the behavior needs fine-tuning.

This trick does not work all the time because it usually comes after the fact. We first act in response to a situation, before we have time to do a rational cost benefit analysis. There must be another way of doing it right. May be it is just a question of developing a lot of patience and kindness. You know, there are times when I wish I could ask my father.

Eye Catcher

Long time ago, my teenage gang saw a pretty girl whom we called the Eye Catcher. One of my friends in the gang insists that he came up with the name, although I distinctly remember that it was I who first used it. I remember because it was from the last page of India Today of the time, which had a column titledEye Catchers.But my friend has always been more articulate than me, and it is quite possible that he coined the catchy name without any help from India Today.

Time has flown, and today has become yesterday. During the years spanning that age of innocence and now, whenever our gang met up (once a year or so in the beginning, once a decade of late), the Eye Catcher was a topic that always came up. And once, one of us wondered if we would talk about her if we met at the age of fifty, which was incomprehensibly far away then. (Again, I think I was the one who came up with it; may be I like to take credit for every witty thing that happened around me.)

Now with the distant fifty just around the corner, I wonder. Was it the prism of adolescence that amplified beauty, or was she really that eye-catching? Now, of course, the ravages of time would have surely dulled any beauty she may have possessed, and made cynics of the beholders prompting them to consider prisms of adolescence and ravages of time. I think I prefer not to know the answer. Often the blurry pictures with fading colors are more beautiful than the garish reality in high definition.

It is similar to the scratchy Malayalam songs I listen to in my car. My English-speaking family laughs at me whenever I do. To them, the lyrics don’t make sense, the beat is silly, and the sweet melody of Yesudas is almost gross, like cold pancakes swimming in stale syrup. I don’t blame them. Even to me, it is not just the words and the sounds that bind my heart to the songs; it is the fading colors of the past. It is the faces and scenes that the songs bring to mind, like the smell of June rain, the orange hue of the muddy potholes, and the tall coconut trees against blue skies and white cumulus, gently swaying their heads in assent to whatever adventures the day had in store. And the faces of the simple souls who played out their part on that stage of life and bowed out. Memories of a paradise lost.

But those players played their part well enough to imprint themselves on the songs for good. And with the twilights peeping over the horizon now, I often wonderwhat am I going to leave behind? What are you?

A Parker Pen from Singapore

During the early part of the last century, there was significant migration of Chinese and Indians to Singapore. 印度裔移民大多数是泰米尔人,,en,这就是为什么泰米尔语是这里的官方语言,,en,但是有些来自我,,en,说喀拉拉邦的故土,,en,其中有纳塔拉然,,en,五十年后,,en,会和我分享他的印象,,en,内塔吉·苏哈什·钱德拉·波塞,,en,和四十年代的印度国民军,,en,娜塔拉让,,en,到时,,en,被称为新加坡爷爷,,en,新加坡Appuppa,,ml,教我瑜伽,,en,稍微解释一下它的神秘面纱,,en,说像,,en,瑜伽练习者,,en,即使在人群中,,en,不是它的一部分。,,en,当我的一个朋友在工作中评论我走不动时,我记得这一说法,,en,有点像《肖申克的救赎》中的蒂姆·罗宾斯,,en,被企业的喧嚣,,en,哪一个,,en,当然,,en,可能是一种礼貌的叫我懒惰的方式,,en, which is why Tamil is an official language here. But some came from my Malayalam-speaking native land of Kerala. Among them was Natarajan who, fifty years later, would share with me his impressions of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army of the forties. Natarajan would, by then, be called the Singapore Grandpa (Singapore Appuppa), and teach me yoga, explaining the mystical aspects of it a bit, saying things like, “A practitioner of yoga, even when he is in a crowd, is not quite a part of it.” I remembered this statement when a friend of mine at work commented that I walked untouched (kind of like Tim Robbins in the Shawshank Redemption) by the corporate hustle and bustle, which, of course, may have been a polite way of calling me lazy.

Anyway, 新加坡爷爷,,en,我祖父的表弟,,en,很喜欢我父亲,,en,他是喀拉拉邦第一批大学毕业生中的一员,,en,他从新加坡买了一支派克笔作为毕业礼物,,en,大约十五年后,,en,这支笔会教给我一个教训,至今仍未充分学习,,en,我父亲为他的笔感到非常自豪,,en,其质量和坚固性,,en,曾经吹牛,,en,我无法打破它,,en,即使我想,,en,他说,,en,没有注意到他的儿子,,en,您忠诚的,,en,整个四年的时间里,对这种假设条件的理解有限,,en,第二天晚上,,en,他下班回来的时候,,en,我在门口等他,,en,骄傲地微笑,,en,握住他的珍贵笔彻底压碎,,en,爸,,en,爸,,en,我做的,,en (a cousin to my paternal grandfather) was quite fond of my father, who was among the first University graduates from that part of Kerala. He got him a Parker pen from Singapore as a graduation gift. Some fifteen years later, this pen would teach me a lesson that is still not fully learned four decades on.

My father was very proud of his pen, its quality and sturdiness, and was bragging to his friends once. “I wouldn’t be able to break it, even if I wanted to!” he said, without noticing his son (yours faithfully), all of four years then with only a limited understanding of hypothetical conditionals of this kind. Next evening, when he came back from work, I was waiting for him at the door, beaming with pride, holding his precious pen thoroughly crushed. “Dad, dad, I did it! 我为你折断了笔,,en,伤心欲绝,因为我父亲一定是,,en,他甚至没有提高声音,,en,他问,,en,你出于什么目的这样做,,en,儿子,,en,用过分深情的马拉雅拉姆语来表示,,en,我只是太渴望解释,,en,您昨天说过您一直在试图打破它,,en,但不能,,en,我为你做的,,en,相当缺乏语言能力,,en,我对物理学已经有点太久了,,en,我将笔放在门的铰链附近,并通过关闭手柄来使用杠杆动作来完成压碎它的任务。,,en,我想向我的妻子解释时记得这件事,,en,物理不足,,en,为什么靠近铰链放置门挡会破坏地砖而不是停止门,,en,我父亲试图用透明胶带固定他的派克笔,,en!”

Heart-broken as my father must have been, he didn’t even raise his voice. He asked, “What did you do that for, son?” using the overly affectionate Malayalam word for “son”. I was only too eager to explain. “You said yesterday that you had been trying to break it, but couldn’t. I did it for you!” Rather short on language skills, I was already a bit too long on physics. I had placed the pen near the hinges of a door and used the lever action by closing it to accomplish my mission of crushing it. In fact, I remembered this incident when I was trying to explain to my wife (short on physics) why the door stopper placed close to the hinges was breaking the floor tiles rather than stopping the door.

My father tried to fix his Parker pen with scotch tape (当时被称为玻璃纸胶带,,en,和橡皮筋,,en,后来,,en,尽管他无法完全修复漏出的墨水,但他设法更换了笔身,,en,我还有笔,,en,而这持久的教训是无限的耐心,,en,两年半前,,en,我父亲去世了,,en,在随后的灵魂探索中,,en,我的这个密友问我,,en,现在您知道需要什么,,en,你觉得你做得怎么样,,en,我觉得我做得不好,,en,一些课程,,en,即使充分学习,,en,实在太难了,,en,摄影者,,en,莫霍的日常生活,,lt,电子邮件Flotsam,,en,只限马拉雅里,,mr,九月,,en,这是我通过电子邮件收到的一个有趣的,,en,月行者,,en,这是许多阴谋论之一,,en,登月从未真正发生过,,en,国旗怎么会飘动,,en,图片,,en) and rubber bands. Later, he managed to replace the body of the pen although he could never quite fix the leaking ink. I still have the pen, and this enduring lesson in infinite patience.

Two and half years ago, my father passed away. During the ensuing soul-searching, this close friend of mine asked me, “Well, now that you know what it takes, how well do you think you are doing?” I don’t think I am doing that well, for some lessons, even when fully learned, are just too hard to put in practice.

Photo by dailylifeofmojo cc

Moonwalkers

It is one of the many conspiracy theories — that the moon landing never really took place. How could the flag flutter? The pictures — 他们真的被带上月球吗,,en,或在Navada的工作室中,,en,这是一个不同的理论,,en,鲜为人知的事实,,en,这张照片并非完全是假的,,en,只是NASA只展示了一半的图片,,en,看一下这个,,en,看下面的阴影,,en,你有没有注意到他们,,en,点击这里,,en,或在图像上,,en,看全图,,en,登陆月球,,en,美国宇航局,,tl,列,,en,世俗的马来亚里,,ml,如果新加坡人平均听到世界马拉雅莉会议的消息,,en,他们会说的第一件事是,,en,世界现在,,en,马拉亚里人来自印度小喀拉拉邦,,en,他们不要与马来人混淆,,en,尽管我们与马来人有一些联系,,en,如pratas和biriyani,,hi,可以追溯到喀拉拉邦,,en,这种跨文化交流表明了马拉雅莉的一个重要特征,,en,他们倾向于散开,,,en, or in a studio in Navada?

Here is a different theory. A little known fact. The photo wasn’t totally fake. It is just that NASA showed only half the picture. Check this out:
Look at the shadows below .
Have you ever noticed them before ?

Click here (or on the image) to see the whole picture!

The Worldly Malayalees

If an average Singaporean hears of the World Malayalee Conference, the first thing they would say is, “World what now??” Malayalees are people from the tiny Indian state of Kerala. They are not to be confused with Malays, although some of the things we associate with Malay (such as pratas and biriyani) can be traced back to Kerala.

Such cross cultural exchanges point to an important trait of Malayalees. They tend to fan out and, 用自己的方式,,en,征服世界,,en,他们也全心全意地欢迎外部影响,,en,他们也许是唯一的人,,en,除了中国人,,en,经常用中国炒锅做饭或用中国网抓鱼的人,,en,他们甚至练习自己的功夫版本,,en,有时坚持说中国人实际上是从他们那里学到的,,en,几千年来以独特的方式国际化和国际化,,en,Malayalees是对立的混合物,,en,喀拉拉邦则是次要的经济和社会学谜团,,en,Malayalees的最初传教士和使节前往原籍国之外时,热情地拥护基督教和穆斯林宗教,,en,他们也同样热烈欢迎马克思主义和无神论,,en,平均而言,,en,喀拉拉邦的人均收入是世界上最贫穷的国家,,en, conquer the world. They also welcome external influences whole-heartedly. They are perhaps the only people (other than the Chinese, of course) who regularly use a Chinese wok for cooking or a Chinese net for catching their fish. They even practise their own version of Kung-fu, and at times insist that the Chinese actually learned it from them.

International and cosmopolitan in their unique ways for thousands of years, Malayalees are a mixture of opposites, and Kerala a minor economic and sociological enigma. Malayalees enthusiastically embraced Christianity and Muslim religions when their initial missionaries and emissaries ventured outside their places of origin. But, they also welcomed Marxism and atheism with equal fervour.

On an average, Kerala has a per-capita income among the world’s poorest, 但所有其他经济指标都与世界上最富有的国家相提并论,,en,在健康指标中,例如预期寿命,,en,人均医生人数,,en,和婴儿死亡率,,en,喀拉拉邦设法将美国人均财富的十分之一反映出来,,en,喀拉拉邦是第一个,,en,也许是唯一的,,en,第三世界省吹嘘比,,en,识字,,en,而且是印度和中国唯一一个女性人数多于男性的地方,,en,新加坡在马来亚里心脏地带占有特殊地位,,en,在殖民时期他们在喀拉拉邦以外的最初创业中,,en,马拉亚里以新加坡为热门目的地,,en,也许是由于这种历史爱好,,en,Malayalees发现在这里举办世界Malayalee会议很自然,,en,新加坡也对马来亚利斯及其贡献情有独钟,,en. In health indicators such as life expectancy, per-capita number of doctors, and infant mortality, Kerala manages to mirror the US at about a tenth of its per capita wealth. Kerala is the first (and perhaps the only) third world province to boast of better than 90% literacy, and is just about the only place in India and China with more women than men.

Singapore has a special place in the Malayalee heart. Among their initial ventures outside Kerala during the colonial era, Malayalees targeted Singapore as a popular destination. Perhaps due to this historical fondness, Malayalees found it natural to host their World Malayalee Conference here.

Singapore also has soft spot for Malayalees and their contributions. 新加坡总统的出席将为会议本身增光添彩,,en,先生,,en,小号,,en,[R,,en,内森和外交大臣,,en,杨,,en,内森(Nathan)总统将发起马拉雅里(Malayalee)文化遗产展览,,en,杨部长将在商业论坛上发表主题演讲,,en,文化遗产,,en,距今已有两千多年的历史,,en,每个Malayalee都应该为此感到自豪,,en,展览将展示从洞穴雕刻到古代造船技术的所有内容,,en,超越历史和文化的亲和力,,en,喀拉拉邦也是新加坡的商业盟友,,en,特别是生海鲜,,en,新加坡,,en,凭自己的权利,,en,为喀拉拉邦提供了稳定的投资和游客,,en, Mr. S. R. Nathan and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. George Yeo. President Nathan will launch the Malayalee Heritage and Culture Exhibition, and Minister Yeo will give a key note speech at the Business Forum.

The heritage and culture, dating back to well over two thousand years, is something every Malayalee is rightfully proud of. The Exhibition will showcase everything from cave engravings to ancient ship building technology.

Going beyond the historical and cultural affinities, Kerala also has been a business ally to Singapore, especially in raw seafood. Singapore, in their own right, has provided a steady stream of investments and tourists to Kerala.

生态旅游确实是马拉雅里斯会议期间最重要的景点之一,,en,大自然对喀拉拉邦过于友善,,en,西高止山脉起伏不平的山丘慷慨地篡夺了季风,并嫉妒地保护着马来亚里人免遭对其绿色财富的任何掠夺,,en,拥有温带气候,这是热带飞地所不具备的,,en,以及朦胧的绿色山坡和茶园的催眠之美,,en,喀拉拉邦确实是天堂,,en,也许不情愿,,en,被发现,,en,这次世界马拉雅拉利会议,,en,文化展览和文物展览,,en,将展示喀拉拉邦向世界提供的服务,,en,从旅游文化到商机和人才库,,en. Nature has been overly kind to Kerala, with the undulating hills of the Western Ghat generously usurping the Monsoons and jealously guarding the Malayalees against any possible plunder of their green riches. Blessed with a temperate climate uncommon to the tropical enclave that it is, and with the hypnotic beauty of the misty green hillsides and tea plantations, Kerala is indeed a paradise waiting, perhaps unwillingly, to be discovered.

This World Malayalalee Conference, with its cultural shows and heritage exhibitions, will display what Kerala has to offer to the world, from tourism and culture to business opportunities and talent pool. 它还将向新加坡的马来亚里散居者展示新加坡,并向他们传授有关行政效率的一两件事,,en,清洁度和业务连通性,,en,健康指标,,en,马克思主义,,en,新加坡人,,en,喀拉拉邦,,en,你是马拉雅里人吗,,en,如果您可以在大使出租车的前座容纳四名乘客,,en,而在后面,八名乘客和两个孩子的头伸出窗户,,en,机会是,,en,你是个要参加表弟婚礼的Mallu,,en,如果可以跑步,,en,骑,,en,cc摩托车不戴头盔,而骑着步枪绑上半桅杆就踢足球,,en,马来亚里状态,,en,如果您已故的父亲将您遗留下的旧房子作为遗产,,en,然后你变成了,,en,茶屋加田,,ar,是,,en,你是马拉亚里人,,en,如果您有超过,,en,在海湾工作的亲戚,,en, cleanliness and business connectivity.

Are You a Malayali?

If you can fit four passengers in the front seat of an Ambassador taxi, while in the back there are eight passengers and two children with their heads sticking out the window, chances are, you are a Mallu going to attend your cousin’s wedding.

If you can run, ride a 100 cc motorbike without wearing a helmet and play football all while wearing a lungi tied halfmast, Malayali status!

If your late father left you a part of an old house as your inheritance, and you turned it into “chaya kada,” yes, you’re a Malayali.

If you have more than 5 relatives working in Gulf, 大时间马拉雅里,,hi,如果你有话,,en,金竹摩尔,,ny,Jinchu Mol,,zh-CN,写在Omni汽车的后窗上,,en,是,,en,马拉耶利,,ml,如果您称丈夫为,,en,凯蒂永,,hi,伊斯蒂扬,,hi,皮勒鲁德·阿潘,,ml,你猜怎么了,,en,你是中央Travancore叙利亚基督徒马拉雅里,,en,如果每个星期天您家门口都停着泰米尔人,,en,熨衣服,,en,你是中产阶级的马拉雅里人,,en,如果您的工作地点有三个以上的员工工会,,en,然后再问,,en,你确实是马拉雅里人,,en,如果您已经投票通过了未通过四年级的首席部长,则不再要求,,en,你是马来西亚人,,en,如果您在美国至少有两个亲戚在卫生行业工作,,en,马拉雅里,,ml,如果您每周都虔诚地购买彩票,,en…

If you have the words “Chinchu Mol + Jinchu Mol” written on the rear window of your Omni car, yes, you are a Malaayli.

If you refer to your husband as “Kettiyon, ithiyan, pillerude appan,” guess what — you’re a central Travancore Syrian Christian Malayali.

If you have a Tamilian parked in front of your house every Sunday, ironing your clothes, chances are a you are a Middle Class Malayali.

If you have more than three employee trade unions at your place of work, then ask no more, you are indeed a Malayali.

If you have voted into power a Chief Minister who has not passed the 4th grade then ask no further, YOU ARE A MALAYALI.

If you have at least two relatives working in the US in the health industry , yes! Malayali!

If you religiously buy a lottery ticket every week, 那你就在马拉亚里地区,,en,如果您形容一个女人为,,en,查拉库,,ar,是的,,en,如果您经常称香蕉为,,en,线程,,mg,或披萨,,en,撒尿,,is,你是马拉亚里人。,,en,如果您使用椰子油代替精制植物油,并且无法弄清家人中为什么患有先天性心脏病,,en,你可能是马拉雅里人,,en,如果您要去当地剧院看电影,而您的妻子则戴着她父母送给她的所有金饰,,en,你是新婚的马拉雅里人,,en,如果您和您的妻子及三个孩子在您周日的最佳装扮中,出门在Kayikka的一家餐馆吃Biriyani,,,en,cc Bajaj mobike,,id,您是来自科钦的向上移动的马拉雅里语,,en,如果您对高级美食的想法是卡帕和咖喱面,,en,然后,,en,你是一个马拉雅里人,,en!

If you describe a woman as “charrakku,” yep, Malayali!

If you constantly refer to banana as “benana” or pizza as “pissa,” you’re a Malayali..

If you use coconut oil instead of refined vegetable oil and can’t figure out why people in your family have congenital heart problems, you might be a Malayali.

If you are going out to see a movie at the local theater with your wifey wearing all the gold jewellry gifted to her by her parents, you are a newly married Malayali.

If you and your wife and three children dress up in your Sunday best and go out to have biriyani at Kayikka’s on a 100 cc Bajaj mobike, you an upwardly mobile Malayali from Cochin.

If your idea of haute cuisine is kappa and meen curry, then, yes, you are a Malayali.

如果早餐吃牛肉puttu,,en,午餐吃牛肉奥拉图,,en,和咖喱牛肉配‘borotta,,en,当晚餐,,en,是的,,en,绝对是马拉利亚利,,en,如果您的名字是威斯隆,,en,你妻子的名字叫宝贝,,en,你叫你的女儿威尔比,,en,毫无疑问,,en,你是一个标准的马拉雅里语,,en,如果您街区的大多数房屋被漆成黄褐色,,en,荧光绿,,en,和明亮的粉红色,,en,绝对是马拉普拉姆马拉雅里,,ml,如果您用毛巾绑住头,突然听到这首歌的喧闹声,,en,库塔纳丹·旁加耶,,ml,三杯托迪之后,,en,那你就是铁杆马拉雅里,,en,如果您将开胃菜和含酒精的饮料称为,,en,感动,,en,那么你就是一个helluva Malayali,,en,如果当地的玩具店老板通过您的宠物名认识您并且您给他打电话,,en,Porinju Chetta,,ml,暗笑,,id,那你才是真正的马拉雅里人,,en, beef olathu for lunch, and beef curry with ‘borotta’ for dinner, yeah, definitely Malalyali.

If your name is Wislon, and your wife’s name is Baby, and you name your daughter Wilby, have no doubts at all, you are a standard Malayali.

If most of the houses on your block are painted puke yellow, fluorescent green, and bright pink, definitely Malappuram Malayali.

If you tie a towel around your head and burst into a raucous rendition of the song “Kuttanadan Punjayile” after having three glasses of toddy, then you are a hardcore Malayali.

If you call appetizers served with alcoholic beverages as “touchings,” then you are one helluva Malayali.

If the local toddy shop owner knows you by your pet name and you call him “Porinju Chetta” (kekekekekek), then you are true Malayali.

如果你生病了,老婆擦,,en,比克斯,,en,进入你的鼻孔,给你,,en,库鲁穆拉库拉萨姆,,ml,与chakkara,,en,奶奶的食谱,,en,帮助缓解症状,,en,该死的,,en,你是马拉雅里人,,en,如果您不需要上述任何说明,,en,您知道自己是真正的麦考伊,,en,蓝血马来西亚,,en,跟随沙拉,,so,加长,,ro,马卢,,en,贸易联盟,,en,马拉雅拉姆档案馆,,en “Bicks” into your nostrils and gives you “kurumulaku rasam” with chakkara, (grandma’s recipe) to help relieve your symptoms, damn!! You’re Malayali.

IF YOU DON’T NEED ANY EXPLANATIONS FOR ANY OF THE ABOVE, YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE THE REAL McCOY, A BLUE BLOOD MALAYALI. LAAL SALAAM.

And the Wind Whispered

[This post is my translation of an excellent short story by one of the most gifted storytellers of our time, O.V.Vijayan. The translation from Malayalam is a feeble effort, because such distant translations are not merely between languages, but cultures. The untranslatable expressions are marked with asterisks. Enjoy!]

Reached Kanjikad from Palghat by Coimbatore street. From there on, it was unpaved dirt road to the mountains. Even the rough taxi Jeep found that hard to take. This was Theyunni’s second trip here in the last ten years and he had no complaints about the roughness now.

Ditch ahead”, Driver said, glancing at the dirt road in front.

If you want to stop here, it’s okay”, Theyunni offered, “I can walk.

It’s about two miles from here. Accustomed as he was to the comfort of limousine rides between airports and star hotels, the prospect of the hard hike did not discourage Theyunni.

Nah. We’ll go slow, sit tight.

Okay.

The Jeep carefully negotiated the winding mountain road. Theyunni glanced at the wild valley as if for the first time. The sunshine cooled by the hillside, the east winds tunnelled through the mountain passes and roaring towards Palghat

The trees are all gone, aren’t they, Driver?”, Theyunni observed.

All downed. Was forests here till about five years ago. Elephants used to come down.

Yes, last time when he was here, there were huge trees on either side. Trees he didn’t know the names of. There were crickets all around carrying on with their shrill orchestra. Theyunni recalled that journey. He was coming back to Bombay after a European trip and his wife was at the airport. She said, “There is a letter from home, looks like *Brother’s handwriting.

Wonder what is happening. Didn’t you open it, Phoebe?”

You know I don’t open your letters.

When the car was moving towards Juhu, Theyunni stole a glance at Phoebe’s face behind the wheel. Like a flawless marble sculpture with golden hair dancing in the wind. It was against her culture to open her husband’s letters. There were many things in her culture that attracted himher confident courage in kissing him in that garden few years ago, proclaiming, “I love you”. If the relationship were to turn sour in the years to come, the honesty and integrity that would make her say, “I do not love you any more, we have to get divorced”. These were the challenges that inspired him. He remembered the journey home to tell *Father that he was in love with Phoebe, his fellow-student at Stanford. Father did not say anything against it, just smiled his sweet, thoughtful smile. It was *Mother — “We had Devaki’s horoscope looked at…”

Devaki was a distant relative. The daughter of some in-land farmer. Hiding his contempt for horoscopes, Theyunni comforted Mother, “That is not much, Mother. We didn’t give our word.

Nobody said anything for a while. Then Mother said, “Isn’t understanding as big as word? It’s like Devaki has married you in her heart.

It’s the boy’s decision, Madhavi,” Father said, “Why do you want to say this and that?”

Mother withdrew herself, “I didn’t say anything…”

Don’t worry about Mother’s complaints, Kutta. So, do you like this Phoebe?”

Theyunni was a little embarrassed, “Yes.

Will an American girl like to live in this old family house of ours, Kutta?”, Mother inquired.

Why wouldn’t she?”

Father said, “It’s not as though they are going to come live here, is it?”

So Father and Son have decided that as well,” Mother said, “that they don’t want to live here?”

Wherever we live, we’ll come here first, Mother.

Theyunni saw Mother’s eyes well up. After blessing Phoebe and wishing Devaki well in her life, Mother said, “I won’t ask you to change your mind. But, will you look after Father, Kutta?”

Of course.

You remember how he used to be? His body is getting old…”

Father intervened again with his smile, “Madhavi, why do you say such things and make him unhappy? Don’t pay any attention to her, Kutta.

Even during the novelty of his love, Theyunni could feel *Devaki’s true meaning in his *rustic heartthe farmer bride who would sweep the floor and light the evening lamp. Mother said, “There was only one thing on my mindyour sister-in-law is not able-bodied. If it had been Devaki, there was a hope that she would look after your father in his old age…”

Theyunni didn’t say anything then. Even in the later years, he couldn’t say anything about that. Phoebe, who never opened her husband’s letters, drove skillfully through the streets of Juhu. When Father fell sick years after the marriage, Phoebe advised, “Your little town is actually a village. Why don’t we take him to a good hospital in a city? We can easily afford that.

What Father needed was nearness and touch to die peacefully. Theyunni came home alone with those and saw him off. Mother also died in the old family house. Phoebe was back at Stanford then. She sent a formal condolence telegram. *Devaki‘s meaning again filled his mind.

In Juhu, Theyunni read Brother’s letter. “I’m not doing too well, Kutta. Just to let you know. I won’t ask you to take time off your busy schedule and come by these forests. Just think of me, same effect as seeing. Didn’t even let Sreekumar know. I was worried that he might get anxious and take a tripnot easy to come here from Cambridge, is it? If only your sister-in-law had been aliveWeaknesses of an old heart…”

The Jeep continued it’s laborious journey negotiating an occasional ditch and gutter.

Sorry about the trouble, Driver,” Theyunni tried to comfort the driver.

Nah, just doing my job.

Must be another mile from here. It was after his wife’s death that Brother decided to resign from service and move to the high lands. Theyunni vehemently opposed that decision. “Why are you moving to this god-forsaken land in Palghat among leopards and wild boars? Moreover, you could be in service for another 10 years. Even after retiring, you know that a nuclear physicist can do so many things…”

Brother’s reply came, “There are debts that one owesto one’s country, one’s community, one’s family. I feel that I have repaid my dues to the best of my ability. There are some other obligations that I have to take care of. That’s is why I’m seeking refuge in these valleys.

Brother never mentioned what those obligations were. Theyunni didn’t inquire either.

The soft-spoken Brother took a decision only after much reasoning; it was not easy to make him go back on them. Later, Brother wrote about his camp-site: about four miles off the road, there were fertile lands lying just outside the woods. Brother built a house there, among coconut palms, vegetables, mango treesDirt walls, wooden ceiling and roofs of clay tiles. It was at some distance from anywhere. However, there was a farmer, Ponnuswami, living in a hut nearby. Brother could ask Ponnuswami for help if needed. Apart from that, he was quite alone in that valley. Theyunni could not figure out the meaning of that penance and forgot about it. Years went by. But when Phoebe handed over that unopened letter, he suddenly felt that he should go there in a hurry.

“Well, Phoebe, I’ll go and see what’s going on.

What is the name of that place? Kanjikad, isn’t it?”

Yes.

Brother had invited me to go and see the mountains.

“Yes, I remember.

Must be a perfect place for get-away vacation. But it’s dangerous to get sick there. Why don’t you bring him here? We could have him treated at Jeslock or something.

Phoebe was repeating her suggestion on treatments. Theyunni remembered the last time the suggestion was offered and it made him uneasy.

We can’t get inside his mind, Phoebe. I’ll go there and see.

That was how Theyunni came here for the first time, ten years ago. Not only was he anxious about Brother’s health and solitary life, he also wanted to give Brother a piece of his mind about the untimely penance. When he took a taxi from Coimbatore airport to go to Kanjikad, his mind was filled with impatience and hard feelings towards Brother. The driver got discouraged by the sight of ditches and gutters in the dirt road. It didn’t take too much to provoke Theyunni.

I could break the axile if I drove up this way,” complained the driver who was Tamil.

How much does this stupid car of yours cost?”

Sorry Sir, didn’t mean to…”

If your car breaks, let it break. I’ll give you what it costs. Drive.

When he got off the car, Theyunni saw Brother taking a walk in the fieldlooking bright and healthy.

Why did you come all this way, Kutta?”, Brother commented on the advisability of the trip.

You can say that. Living in the forests, writing letters about getting sick, how could I ignore it?”

Come in.Brother took him inside the house.

Theyunni looked around and found everything unsatisfactory. “Why do you punish yourself like this?”

Do I look as though this is punishment?”

Nobody said anything for a while. Then Theyunni inquired, “Who treated you while you were ill?”

Teat?! Nobody!”

What am I supposed to say about that?”

Brother smiled, “You don’t get it, do you, Kutta?”

What do you do for food?”

I have asked Ponnuswami’s wife to show up. To cook something for you. Me, this is all I eat.

He pointed to the husks of two young coconuts in the basket. “That was breakfast. Two more for dinner.

That is you diet?!”

Not just diet, medicine as well!”

When it got dark, Theyunni wanted to know, “Brother, what if some thieves show up?”

Brother laughed heartily, “Four white *mundu, four cotton shawls, two towels and some clay pots. That’s all this house holds. The thief is quite peaceful by nature, it’s our avarice that makes him do this and that!”

After dinner, they laid down to sleepon the floor, on sleeping mats. For Theyunni, it was the first time in a long while without the air conditioner. The winds roared outside the house. Through the mountain passes, like the loud waves in an uptide.

Kutta

“Yes, Brother?”

You hear that?”

The winds, right?”

“Yes, but to you hear them?”

“Yes, I do. Why do you ask?”

Brother was silent for a while in the darkness. Then he said, “No, you don’t hear them.

It was with the same dissatisfaction at Brother’s life in the wilderness that Theyunni went back to Bombay. Brother said, seeing him off, “It was a mistake, Kutta. A weakness. Felt like writing to you when I was ill; I won’t bother you like this again. There aren’t any illnesses that these valleys can’t cure. And if there are, do humans have medicines for them?”

Now, it was ten years after those words that Theyunni was coming back. Phoebe was not with him any more. She showed her natural honesty and told him that the love between them had dried out. Theyunni did not fly from Bombay. He took the train to Palghat along with numerous other people. Like in his childhood, in second class. Two day journey. Hills and woods and rivers and villages slowly went by in the window as the train ambled towards Palghat. The old family house was no longer there. So he rested in a hotel and set out for Kanjikad the next morning. His gruffiness during the last journey ten years ago had disappeared now. Theyunni felt that his peacefulness was spreading to the fellow passengers and even the landscapes.

The Jeep driver also was friendliness personified.

Hard trip, isn’t it, Driver?”

Nah, we are quite used to these. A little worried about your trouble, that is all.

Brother’s fences and steps appeared at a distance.

Over there, Driver.

Isolated house, isn’t it, Sir?”

Yes.

Ponnuswami was waiting by the house. He stepped down to welcome Theyunni. They looked at each other; Ponnuswami wiped his tears.

He had asked me not to telegram, that is why I wrote a letter instead.Ponnuswami said, “I am sorry.

Not at all, you were respecting Brother’s wishes. I understand.

Ponnuswami walked over to the backyard. There was a small plot where a Thulasi plant was beginning to take root. Ash remnants of the pyre around it.

This is it,” Ponnuswami said. “The bones were dropped in the Peroor river. If there are some other rituals you want to do… But,…”

“Yes, Ponnuswami?”

He said that no rituals were necessary. That he had uprooted the rituals. I am not educated, just thought that he was talking about some sacred state.

That must be what he meant.

Is Sreekumar coming up?”

I had telephoned him from Bombay. He is not coming. He had told me one thingthat this land and house are for you.

Ponnuswami had gone beyond such earthly things. “He also had told me the same thing; I didn’t want to tell you. But, I don’t need any of this. You or Sreekumar could sell these…”

Brother’s wishes, Ponnuswami. We must respect them.

“Well, if you insist.

How many children do you have?”

Four.

“Well, this will be a good place for them to grow up in.

Ponnuswami bowed once again, “If you ever want to come back and live here, my family and I will get out of here for you.

That won’t be necessary, Ponnuswami.

I don’t deserve to live here, Theyunni said to himself. They got back into the house.

You take rest. I will get you a young coconut from the fields.

The driver is waiting in the Jeep outside. Ask him to come inside and have something to drink.

When Ponnuswami brought the young coconuts, Theyunni said, “You can go home now, if you like. I’m fine.

Ponnuswami left. Theyunni said to the driver. “Do you think you can stay here overnight?”

The driver expressed his disagreement through silence.

Didn’t plan that way when we set out,” Theyunni said. “This is Brother’s house. I came here because he died, couldn’t get here before.

The driver turned attentive. Theyunni continued, “Feel like sleeping here for a night.

The driver’s disagreement melted away silently. “I can stay.

I can pay you whatever you want for staying.

That won’t be necessary.

Time turned red and went down on the hilltops. Theyunni went inside and went through Brother’s wooden box. Three white mundu’s, laundered, three cotton shawls and two towels. Theyunni’s sadness dripped into them. When he went to bed, he was not sad any more, a kind of gratified grief. A fulfillment of love and traditions. He slept with the childhood dreams of fairy tales. Late in the night, he woke up. He listened to the music of the winds. After this night, it would be the trip back to the city. Theyunni could feel Brother’s kindness in the winds. The winds muttered the unknown *Manthras that marked the end of that kindness and life, some *distant baby voicesA night full of sacred whispers, this was the *justification of lifetime.

Theyunni listened to the whispers and slept, awaiting the morning.