I thought that certain earth-shattering events that happened yesterday needed a worthy mention for the benefit of the global society. Hence this post.
Jagadish, Vandana and Michelle are the ‘original’ SCMHRD organizers for the Onam celebrations this year. Well, Michelle can’t stop talking, the only time she didnt speak was probably when the admissions team drugged her to maintain a one-minute silence for some cause. Or so I think. When Vandana speaks, it is a culmination of Mallu land meets American Idol, its musical. Well, Jagadish thinks speaking is below his dignity. It is a nod for yes, two nods for no and a grunt for a long answer. Herewith, I am going to be officially banned from the Gulf countries for anti-mallu sarcasm.
Anyways, the Pookkalam or the floral decorations were a hit. Almost anybody and everybody was in the atrium either chopping flowers and leaves or simply learning malayalam to give us moral support. Even the canteen guys were asking who Manmooty was.
Getting non-mallus to say ‘Pookalam’ is a great game. Catch hold of one of them and ask them to say it right. If they say it in three chances, then they get one more banana for lunch. We try.
Non-mallu 1: Poolokam?
Non-Mallu 2 : Pooka lamb?
We think she might be related to Minisha Lamba. Yet we reject.
Non-Mallu 3 : Poo….uff just let me go.
We give him a clap for being honest.
But there is a problem with the fact that India has more than twenty states. People in states below Mumbai call all the states down south ‘South India’ and vice verca all South Indians think Bengalis, Gujaratis and North-eastern people are ‘North Indians’. So, you hear comments like ‘Is this floral decoration a hit in Hyderabad?’ or ‘How come people dont wear these white and golden border saris in Bangalore?’. Despite four states warring down south over Cauvery, Namitha and Rajinikanth, all the South Indians decided to get together and hold a class on the topic ‘South India is made of four different states’.
The best part of Onam, appart from the beautiful black-eyed women (according to one of my male friends) is the food. So there was the Sadhya, the traditional Onam lunch that was served from 12:30pm in the mess.
Here, a special mention goes to Shruti, a pseudo-mallu. Now, psuedo-mallus are a clan that are as mallu as french fries are french. They are bred in states other than Kerala and appam is probably the ony word in their dictionary. Somehow this clan just has Shruti as its top member at the moment though I am identifying potential candidates. We shall come to Shruti later.
As the zillion dishes were laid on the banana leaves, all the non-mallus started questioning on what everything was. Invariably, most questions were directed at Shruti who happened to be serving.
Question to Shruti : Can I get more of this brown sweet liquid?
Of course, Shruti doesnt know the name of the sweet brown liquid, hence she runs about frantically for the person serving the same. By the time, the name of the delicacy is identified, we have resigned ourselves to plain water. But Shruti is successful and comes running with it. Then, we ask her for the ‘dish which tastes like pineapple jelly’. And blink! she’s gone again.
Meanwhile, the mallus are at their roaring best, shouting ‘Payasam! Rasam! Sambar!’ as other veshti and mundu-donned mallus scurry serving them to a hungry batch. Incidentally, rice is called ‘choru’ in malayalam. Why is this important? Read on.
We are in the midst of the meal when a burly mallu next to us starts screaming ‘choru, choru’. Of course, lucky south indians we are, we realize he is asking for rice to be served.
The non-mallus however have started sweating. One of my non-mallu asks me if stealing of food is a part of tradition and starts to eat hurriedly just in case his food disappears. He thinks ‘choru’ is the mallu version of ‘chori’.
I don’t bother to answer. For he has lost himself in the payasam and I dont have the energy after such a sedating meal.
Jagadish, Vandana and Michelle are the warriors in the forefront and are talking, serving and glaring at you to finish your food at the same time.
All in all, it was a wonderful celebration and we had loads of fun. Long live malluland and all the SCMHRD mallus!!
P.S. Next morning, post-onam celebrations, I meet Shruti.
Shruti : Why did’nt you come for the Malayalam movie screening?
Me: I had class. Who starred in it?
Shruti : Manmohan…
Me: I know Manmooty. Who is Manmohan?
Shruti : Arre, the other famous actor. How come you dont know Manmohan? He has starred in tamil movies also. Sad…
Me: Er…sorry (I rack my brains furiously in the meantime for Manmohan. I can only remember the blue-turban prime minister.)
Shruti : Oh! Sorry his name is Mohanlal. I get confused with these names.
Me: (I can’t say anything as I am thinking of the Pseudo-Mallu Nobel Prize. We have a contender here.)