Lush greenery, pristine backwaters, an undefeated literacy rate...and lots of spices! Kerala has that and more to offer - and we southern belles can often be heard bragging relating statements about our state as a prime case study for development. But beyond the facts and figures, what does it actually mean to be a Malayali? Read on to know our unique traits and quirks...
1. Most of us have thick hair that, we think, looks like Rapunzel’s on a good day and Hagrid’s on a bad day.
All hail the gravity-defying magical powers of coconut oil - and our parents who made us drench our hair in it every day.
2. And, of course, coconut oil champi is the go-to solution for any hair fall or scalp issues.
As teenagers, when we rebelled and shampooed the oil off, there was always that one relative who went: “Why does your hair look like a broomstick? Didn’t you take a bath? Go, apply some coconut oil.”
3. Rice is religion - and curry-soaked matta rice with crumbs of pappadam on top is manna from heaven.
(Looks at calendar to count down to Onam festival where one can gorge on more than 25 dishes in one sitting.)
4. Lots of bling!
We wore a lot of gold even as children - a long gold chain, dangling gold earrings and anklets were standard accessories for our school uniform.
5. Weddings are also about the bling…
It’s completely normal for a stranger to ask the weight of gold the bride is wearing… And it’s not entirely shocking if the number runs into kilos.
6. Reading the newspaper cover to cover over a cup of tea is a statewide hobby...
…and it’s totally normal to have a sane debate about world politics with a stranger. Arnab Goswami can learn a thing or two from us.
7. We have a LOT of relatives in the Middle-East a.k.a “Gelf” or the U.S.
Thanks, cousin Ammu, for the endless stash of Tang and Toblerones and Kwality Streets.
8. But it’s not just food. One of the most sought-after gifts from the Gelf were emergency lanterns and Britelite torches.
Handy weapons to tackle thieves during power cuts.
9. Your mother thinks that Mammootty or Mohanlal is THE MAN.
The moustache maketh the man is the general consensus among the older generation.
10. Yes, some of us have long surnames which are quite the tongue-twister.
We spend at least five minutes spelling out our names on the phone, and most forms don’t have spaces long enough to fit them in!
11. We will go a long way to find appam and stew, and banana fritters.
Seriously, just tell where and when...
12. Our Mallu accent might be the butt of jokes, and I am quite sure we Malayalis pronounce “chemise” the wrong way...
…but can you fault our grammar? Also, try saying Kozhikode (hint: it’s not Kossikode).
13. We love the monsoons and our sturdy Popy Umbrellas.
...and sneakily roll our eyes when people outside the monsoon belt freeze at the onset of a drizzle.
14. We are made up of people of different faiths.
And we love and respect each other’s customs - and especially the food. There’s a reason communal riots are unheard of in Kerala.
15. Growing up, Bangalore was our Goa.
The dream of every frustrated Keralite teenager was to sneak off to namma Bengaluru for a weekend.
16. We not-so-secretly think the Malayala Manorama is a better paper than national media.
17. Also, original Malayalam films > Bollywood remakes.
Be it Hera Pheri, Hungama or Bhool Bhulaiya. Seriously, Shobhana’s Nagavalli in Manichitrathazhu is way, way scarier than Vidya Balan’s Manjulika. Watch this if you don’t believe us!
Lastly, yes, we do gloat quite a bit about our state, but it’s mostly harmless and we will laugh the loudest when it comes to making fun of ourselves - especially how we Malayalis are frigging everywhere!
Then again, doesn’t being from “God's Own Country” make us Malayali girls goddesses? *Wink wink*