The queer customs of my people – The Keralites

KANNUR or CANNANORE ( the anglicized version of the original name…) , belonging to ‘GOD’S OWN COUNTRY’ – KERALA (INDIA) is not a metropolitan city , but then it is not exactly a small town either…So we can safely assume that it falls ,somewhere in between – a relatively ‘big’ city , when compared to it’s neighbouring towns perhaps !

To a foreigner , or a stranger to this ‘Mallu land’ { as Β Kerala is sometimes referred to .. The term ‘mallu‘ is derived from the native language of the people of Kerala , which is ‘MALAYALAM‘ . Though this usage is considered derogatory Β by some Keralites..,I find it kind of cute…so I stick to it πŸ™‚ } , the queerest thing about this place would be the clothing ,that most men use , in place of trousers …This piece of white ( sometimes orange ) cloth used to conceal the bottom half of a male body , is called the ‘MUNDU’.

A mundu , is a traditional ethnic dress of a Malayalee man. A mundu is considered to be a comfortable attire , especially in summers ,because it is airy and a person draping a mundu has the additional convenience of folding it up and tying it into a knot , ( therefore I consider it a no – no for a ‘hirsutes’ ! πŸ˜€ though not all men in Kerala share my opinion ! ) , when the summers are unbearable…So it is a very handy and flexible piece of clothing !!

Another thing you might find strange or probably a little over the top (if you are not a native ! ) is the Malayalee love for gold ornaments !! Whether you are in a man in your late fiftees , or a new born infant or a simple homemaker , when in Kerala , and more so in KANNUR, you cannot do without gold ornaments…!! ( I myself could not escape looking like a gold mannequin on my wedding day !!! )

The use of ‘‘coconuts” in every form is another peculiar feature of my state and my town too…Here , the women and men apply ‘coconut oil’ on the hair…and in the food they eat ; Scraped coconut and coconut milk is used in mostly every dish especially the ‘seafood delicacies’.Β 

If you are to take a bus in the city that I am presently residing in , you will notice that every women travelling along , will have their coconut oil smeared heads dripping wet , owing to the early morning baths they take..and which they do not skip , on any pretext. Malayalees are very cleanliness and hygiene conscious people , who believe in keeping themselves clean all the time…

Though all people from Kerala ,speak the same language…The dialects and slangs change from one district to another…And KANNUR is famous ( or rather infamous ) for it’s malayalam , as it is filled with slangs and much different from the original language…This is perhaps the muslim infuence ( The malabar region is abundant in people following this particular religion ) on the language….

But apart from all these weird sounding attributes of the people of my state , they are also very warm and affectionate people who love welcoming guests. Kerala and Kannur ,are famous for their distinct flavours in food and the field of arts. Highly God fearing people , they visit temples , churches and mosques very religiously….

Above all , what might also pleasantly surprise a stranger to this land is the ‘SECULARISM’ among the people living here..Though inhabited by people following different religions , Kerala is united as a state and all it’s natives coexist happily…A lesson , for the whole world to follow……………….



16 thoughts on “The queer customs of my people – The Keralites

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