What is it like being a Malayali? What is the "Mallu" way of life, language and culture, resplendent with its positives and negatives adorning the vibrant strip of land in the south-western corner of India? As usual, it was Twitter that had all the answers. Twitter was overrun by Malayalees on January 9 2012 with they Tweeting under the hashtag #BeingMallu telling the World what it was like being a Malayali. The game was started by Madhu "Madman" Menon, (@madmanweb) with a little help from @Fraud_Mallu and @jithinjb. People tweeted about all aspects of life of Malayalees inside and outside Kerala, and it became an instant hit. Covered were all aspects of the way of life of the Mallu, ranging from attitude, emigration to other land, food, names and yes, the drinking habit as well.
The whole thing tended World Wide at No.1! (yes, the most number of tweets coming in was about this!) and Times of India and The Hindu (written by @BijuGovind) put out news articles about this! A Facebook page has sprung up as well. Anyways, no one now will say that "A group of Malayalees sitting together will not achieve anything". Let us look at some of those aspects of the life and times of the Malayalee or Mallu to the backdrop of some brilliant and creative tweets.
The "Gelf" and the Malayali
The Arabian Gulf has long been the mainstay for the average Malayali, in terms of jobs and life. No place in the World must have received so much expatriated from the same alien country.
@vivekpoduval #Beingmallu Gulfil poyittu "naalikerathinte naattil enikkoru" song kettu santhoshikkum
@chupchap #BeingMallu is visiting the 'gelf' at least once in a lifetime. /done
@Nauphal #Beingmallu is bringing some Brut spray, Imperial leather soap, Axe oil,Slippers etc -while returning from Gelf.
@vipinps Nattil ambathinayiram roofa kittiyalum mairanmar chodikum 'gulfiltpoyi rakshapettude??' #BeingMallu
The Proud, Cool, Humorous and Multifaceted Malayali
Malayalees are known to be happy-go-lucky, laid back to an extent, extremely humorous and enterprising. Here are some examples on what people feel... :)
@twitbandana #Beingmallu ,,,no idea how it feels..bt hv fw mallu people in my life & i can assure u tht ths people r d loveliest,caring & very godfearing
@i_panchajanya #beingmallu proud to be from one of most beautiful and unique place in the world
@MidhunMR #Beingmallu is the capability to watch a Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil and English movie on same weekend.
@Nauphal #BeingMallu is a feeling.
@JagPaws #BeingMallu is to have your best friend always from the other community.
@jithinjb #BeingMallu - good looking female talked to you on road? Start building day dreams of marring her and settling .:P
@Pooooja #beingmallu ability to make jokes even in the most tragic, difficult situations...
@street_walker_ #BeingMallu watching all language films as well as listening all types of music..
@dhanyarajendran #BeingMallu - I always find a way to declare that every other movie is a remake of a mallu movie!
@bobigeorge #BeingMallu means u live at the most beautiful place on earth
@jay_ambadi Faking News: Amma says, "Worldwide trending of #BeingMallu is a conspiracy to demolish #Mullaperiyar"
The Attire of the Malayali
Mundu jokes have been one too many, (mostly created by Malayalees themselves) but believe me, there is no other more comfortable garment that can be worn so easily. And people have always fallen in love with Kerala (Kasavu) Sarees.
@monikamanchanda If #beingMallu means wearing those white and golden border sarees, I dont mind #beingMallu :) @raggedtag
@Svara Wearing atrocious looking nighties during the day #BeingMallu
@sojanjs #BeingMallu wearing lungi to college
@Svara Wearing pottu with jeans and being confident about it! #BeingMallu
@Aashkey Wearing lungi and t-shirt without underwear.. #BeingMallu
@Fraud_Mallu #BeingMallu is to play football / cricket wearing a lungi !! :P
@kiduva #BeingMallu is wearing a lungi and riding harley davidson
The Naming Habits of the Malayali
Malayalees are known for their short (sorry, but usually meaningless) first names and majestic last names. If you look at this blog by @nikhilnarayanan, and this one by @rocksea, you can know more details. In short, meaning does not matter :)
@induviduality #BeingMallu means knowing a few called Ligil, mobil, risil, titty and my fav Soviet Blessy
@vadakkus Mercy Daisy Bency. RT @san_dcool: @vadakkus #beingmallu is knowing girls called ancy, bincy, cincy, dincy, gincy,...rincy, shincy, tincy.
@pilathose #BeingMallu where the word Baby can be the name of a small kid or even a 50year old.
@vadakkus #BeingMallu is not caring about what you name things. eg, DIC(K), FOKANA, Shittymol.
The Onmipresent Malayali
The Malayali is something like God. Present everywhere, anywhere you go. They settle anywhere and are willing to work hard and break their back, day in and day out. They will learn any language and any job. But only outside Kerala. The featured image of this blog is the perfect example for this.
@SangitaSri #BeingMallu A pleasant smile even in a remote place followed by 'naatile evide' enquiry
@Ruminativa #BeingMallu is about going on hartals within homeland and becoming most sincere hardworkers out of it
@vadakkus #BeingMallu means you go to any bakery in Bangalore and speak in Malayalam
@rohitawasthi #BeingMallu trending on Twitter means there is no place in the world, where you can't find a Mallu.
@pradeepaj #BeingMallu is an ability to set up tea stalls in every corner except penalty corners
@ronyjacob #BeingMallu you need white collar job in Kerala and any job outside Kerala
@vadakkus #BeingMallu Means your best friends are travels and ticket booking agents.
@Fraud_Mallu #BeingMallu every spotting a bike/car with a kerala registration outside the state is an awesome feeling !!
@vadakkus #BeingMallu is the ability to learn any language and/or any job, once out of Kerala.
@vidyagk #BeingManorama RT @Aashkey: If anyone goes world famous.. Her/his grand grandfather's mother is from Kerala you know? #BeingMallu
The Malayali "Know-it-all" Attitude
Blame high literacy and education, social emancipation, widely traveled people, more newspapers and periodicals being published than any other state, Malayalees have this feeling of "we know everything" and are storehouses of General Knowledge. Even if that knowledge is in bits and pieces and often wrong.
@shyama_menon #beingmallu is being a know-it-all and proclaiming it 2 all
@23jacob Having a drink and worrying about the situation in Uganda, Cuba and Poland. #BeingMallu
@Krisraj_R #BeingMallu is just like being SRK. The I-know-everything...I-am-everything attitude!
@vadakkus #BeingMallu Is knowing something about and having an opinion on everything under the sun.
@JMeDon22 #beingmallu barbershop speaks more international politics than BBC CCN and Reuters put together
@anishunni #beingmallu means u have never been to the boat race urself but can talk about it with authority
The Baffling Social Conservativeness of the Malayali
Even while all the other indexes are quite high, socially Malayalees are very very conservative, especially when it comes to mingling of the sexes and attire. It can be blamed on "convent education" culture and other religious inroads I feel
@dhannoh If my mom was on #Twitter she'd hv scanned all #Mallu guys who replied/retweetd/followd me n created a 'prospective groom list' #BeingMallu
@vadakkus #BeingMallu Is being horrified about someone choosing their own spouse instead of through brokers/newspapers.
@vivekpoduval #Beingmallu Moral police
@AyeNuMe #BeingMallu You look at a girl wearing a tight tee and jeans as though she descended from Mars!
@zeqox stickign on with platonic one way love affairs #BeingMallu
@kishiarora now #beingmallu is trending?? hahaha #beingmallu = #beinghorny
@vadakkus #BeingMallu - Falling seriously in love with and imagining a family life with almost every (especially Mallu) girl he meets.
The Famous Love Affair the Malayali has with Alcohol
The Malayali drinks a lot. A lot. We drink no matter what the occasion is. Partial prohibition can be blamed, the availability of quality liqour being curtailed to an extent.
@vadakkus #BeingMallu While coming from Saudi to Kerala, come via Dubai only to drink :)
@vivekpoduval #Beingmallu Onam vannaalum unni pirannaalum beveraginte Q'vil
@zeqox disciplined in Bevco queue and rush in every other queue #Beingmallu
@j8900j #BeingMallu we make Emirates flights out of stock in alcohol
@vadakkus #BeingMallu Catching a quick "two ones" (randennam) pegs at the local bar before boarding an overnight bus #Madiwala
Malayalam, the Language and the Famous Mallu Accent
Unspeakable by even other south Indians, though being the youngest, Malayalam is a complicated language and a bit hard to learn and generally incomprehensible to non-South Indians. The celebrated "Mallu accent" though, can be used to easily identify a Malayali by hearing them speak even before you see them.
@aravindgn #BeingMallu is when you can correctly spell Thiruvananthapuram, correctly name Kochi and correctly say Kozhikode.
@RoshanMJ4 #BeingMallu we call that Terminator guy 'Arnold Shivasankaran'
@AMadumoole Definitely last one. #BeingMallu means everyone's mother tongue is Malayalam irrespective of Religion, probably the only one state.
@raj_appandai #Malayalam script has the most of characters among all #Indian languages and contains almost all the phonetic sounds #BeingMallu
The Malayali Cuisine - Live to Eat!
Kerala cuisine is different from that found in most other parts of India. Examples are the famous attachment to coconut oil, boiled rice, banana chips and so on. And of course, the all prevalent dish, porotta (prounced barotta) which has become Kerala-Porotta outside the state.
@i_panchajanya #beingmallu in love with banana chips
@mediacrooks Kerala - the only state which will serve you Dosa with Chicken curry...LOL! #BeingMallu
@deppnair #BeingMallu is abt having Beef fry and Parota wid Chicken gravy! yummy!!!
@vmsajan #BeingMallu Meen Curry and kappa +kallu :)
@zeqox kattan chaya and parippuvada from pettikada #BeingMallu
@sreedhar_lal #BeingMallu Porotta is the food whole day.. :P
@anuragshanker You can learn how to make beef fry. But you cannot truly enjoy it unless you have it with Old Monk and normal water. #beingmallu
Odds and Ends from Everyday Life in Kerala
Here are some more things often seen and used in Kerala, part of Malayali life.
@Govindhan916 Manorama/asianet/Milma milk/Mohanlal/Mayru/Muthoot #BeingMALLU
@vivekpoduval #Beingmallu Oru kandumuttal aaghosham aakkunnavar.
@KrisRahul വൈകീട്ടെന്താ പരിപാടി? #beingmallu
@madmanweb #BeingMallu is not blinking when you see a house painted in blue, pink, and lime green in Kerala.
@BaluKLM Methan RT @Aashkey: Nair, Nambiyar, Nambeesan, Theeyar, Pulayan, Mappila, Nasrani etc... #BeingMallu
@vadakkus #BeingMallu Is appropriately inserting witty and famous movie dialogues in between conversations.
@BaluKLM #BeingMallu Bath 2 times a day(*)
@bleedyblue #BeingMallu One who loves and play more football than cricket.
@rjalaja #BeingMallu means getting tired of being asked about fish, coconut, gold and the Gelf over and over again.
@whizkidd #beingmallu is having three editions of a news paper within a span of 50 kms.
@vadakkus #BeingMallu Is attending Thomas Sir/Brilliant coaching classes for entrance coaching.
@ngaravind Looking up to check for dry coconut tree branches which could fall before parking the car. #BeingMallu
@cyriacthomas #BeingMallu Celebrates Onam, Celebrates Christmas, Celebrates harthal.
@5FQ #beingmallu government and bank jobs
@arjunan_ #Beingmallu Btech/Nursing
@devikasmadhavan #BeingMallu Poland is a touchy subject. You won't understand.
@ruudyroon Bangalore is Las Vegas #BeingMallu
@vadakkus #BeingMallu Venad, Vanchinad, Intercity, Malabar, Kerala, Mangala, Parasuram (Day), Netravathi, Jayanthi, Island Expresses.
The Judgemental, Crabby, Self-Righteous Malayali Poking noses into others business
Malayalees pass judgement on any and everything under the sun, no matter what. It is a nasty habit, as much is that of pulling the other guy down (crabbiness) and ignoring one's own house to concentrate on what is going on in the next house. The Malayali is at times so two faced that it borders on hypocrisy.
@vadakkus #BeingMallu - Cycle gap koduthal avide Volvo kettuka.
@vmsajan the ultimate #BeingMallu is 'para' pani to another Mallu !!!
@AB8i #BeingMallu Neighbours are more interested in your affairs than theirs.
@vadakkus #BeingMallu Means everyone has an opinion on your life.
@Danusha007 #BeingMallu.. comments at wedding.. "penu kurachu karatthitaanalle?..ponnum kuravanallo"
@Nauphal #Beingmallu is Moped kondu Tipper lorry'kku kurukku vekkuka, ennittu parayuka "ravile oru lorry'um eduthondirangum, chaavan!"
@vadakkus #BeingMallu Wanting "highways" that are wonly 30 m wide.
@Shean14 Everybody else is worried about your whereabouts more than your parents #mallucommunity #BeingMallu
@Nauphal #Beingmallu is 'ethi oombunnavane eani vachu oombuka' 'aduppil oothunnavante asanathil oothuka' 'ilayil thoongunnavante pariyil thoonguka'
@Nauphal #Beingmallu is- in a marriage function; telling others, 'avanu ithilum nalla pennine kittiyene'
@Ruminativa #beingmallu is about obsession with what the world will think of you :(
@Nauphal #Beingmallu is - maryadaykku oru pani cheythukondirikkunnavane enthu vila koduthum athil ninnu pinthirippikkuka.
@vivekpoduval #Beingmallu Judging people by their looks.
@induviduality #BeingMallu means having atleast one aunt tell you: molley, mullu ellayil vennalum, ella mullil veenalum kozhapam ellakya.
@Aashkey Che.. I'm not that cheap to tweet anything under #BeingMallu tag. :-/
@Nauphal #Beingmallu is getting cheated repeatedly by SAME frauds. And tell 'you can't cheat me that easily'
The Dark Side of the Malayali
There are so many other faces the Malayali has, and there are so many other things that make Kerala a land of contradictions, a baffling conundrum, plagued by social issues.
@vmsajan Giving Free Water for other states for 999 years !#BeingMallu #Mullaperiyar
@vivekpoduval #Beingmallu 6 mani kazhinjaal pinne koora serialukal.
@vadakkus #BeingMallu Is getting ripped off by fly-by-night multilevel marketing fraud operations.
@zeqox still buys the hair oil sold by the bald guy #BeingMallu
@Svara Gold ads dominate TV ad space, serial space, family space, mind space and finally lands many marriages in 'di-verse' #BeingMallu
@vadakkus #BeingMallu is #BeingMallu trending at No.1 World Wide, but #Mullaperiyar does not trend at all.
@NameFieldmt #BeingMallu is having a palatial house in Kerala with no one living in it.
@Svara "The way you eat in a traditional sadya explains your 'jaathi.' Savarnar adyam parippu maatram thottu nakkum." #BeingMallu
And so many many more... (Let me know if you find more good tweets, original ones, that can be added here... You can get some from all the tweets here)
As I said before, Kerala is a land of contradictions, with its celebrated natural beauty, high indexes of living quality, GDP and health care, very high literacy and a highly educated populace but still having among the highest suicide cases in the country and rampant alcoholism along with other social issues. Outsiders have been baffled by the spread of communism and the relative absence of religious violence and peaceful co-existence of religions and low instances of corruption. So it is no wonder that the Malayalee, who embodies all these in one, baffling to many. How can someone work so hard abroad and be so lazy at home? So many questions. I would say,
#BeingMallu - Kudiyanmaarude Anthem (The Anthem of the Drinkers!)
I am a Malayalee!! Freddy Mercury is a Malayalee!!! (turn up the volume)