Welcome, friends, to God’s Own Country. Here, you can sip coconut (plucked by our wiry-legged, bronze-chested Kuttappans and Kochu Thommas) juice or dig into a plate of karimeen pollichathu on the wind-swept deck of a houseboat in Kumarakom. Or you can go on a forest safari to Thekkady. If you don’t get a fresh Malayali tiger sighting, we guarantee you a fresh Malayali tiger dropping sighting. We also offer you many other sightings:
Our YWCA women in their kota saris and their weekly games of rummy. Our Marthoma achens on their Bajaj scooters with their cassocks billowing behind them like capes. Our nasrani achayens with their scotch whiskey and their waxy moustaches. Our gelf returnees with suitcases full of foreign scents.
Our men are hairy and so are our women. We believe in equality, a what’s-yours-is-mine policy, including your wife’s Tata Estate, rubber estate and the three gold teeth in her mouth.
To see our men in form, attend a Malayali wedding. When they’re sober, they’ll discuss the stock market, insurgency in Pakistan and global oil prices. Two Johnny Walkers down, they’ll hitch up their lungis (Jockey Bermudas peeking from beneath) and break into inebriated renditions of ‘Lajjavathiye, Ninte Kallakkadakkannill.’
To see our women in form, attend a Syrian Christian church service on Sunday and watch the Mariammas, Eliyammas and Shoshammas in the front pew belch out verse after verse of Suriyani hymns – lusty, off-key and hitting notes that will make the Mar Baselios Bavas turn in their graves.
And what about our superstars? Can your Tom Croose or Brad Peet vanquish a dozen gun-toting villains with a single, gold-ringed knuckle punch like Mohanlal or spew English like Suresh Gopi (‘Just remember that’) or own a courtroom like Mammooty (‘That’s all, Your Honor’)?
But all in all, we are a simble, humble people with simble, humble pleasures: watching Idea Star Singer on Asianet, scouting the obituary section of Malayala Manorama, getting our dentures stuck in plates of chakka velayachathu, ogling next door Kalyani’s size 36 breasts, finding bridegrooms for our daughters (must be minimum an ingineer), going for second show and hooting when the power fails.
And why are we the way we are? Simblee. Coz we are Malayee. We are like this wonlee.