We are mallus (some consider this term derogatory. I don’t). Many of us were and are proud of that, though I never understood why. We had achieved immense progress, the propaganda machinery had told us over the years – high this, low that, big schlo…, what not. And somehow, even after learning from G Carlin (that being a mallu is not a skill, but a f#$king genetic accident - G Carlin on Pride), there was this subconscious pride in me. Dormant, most of the time, more or less like the subconscious religious and racist bigotry found in the depths of people’s hearts, which peeps out in unguarded moments.
All this pride, however, has been slowly crumbling in front of my eyes over the last couple of years, ever since I started using Facebook and WhatsApp. I found out that we are one of the most reviled people in this country. Chu#$ya mallus. All those achievements were nothing but old wives’ tales. If this continues, the only legitimate remnants of mallu achievement could be the gooey remains in sleazy movie halls across the length and breadth of the country.
The first inkling of what was going to come was when the Grand Poobah compared us to Somalia. There was, however, another hint much earlier in my life when in college a Delhi kid told us “You south Indians are all like that.” Never understood what he meant by “that”. We just told him “Po thaya#$” and left it at that. He was a fair and lovely kid and I think had a fancy-sounding (at least to us) name like Saxena. We were all Bijus and Jubis and other disyllabic names and many of us were jet-black wheatish complexioned. Obviously, no one was there to advise our parents on how to get a uttama santati. No north-faced banyan tree twig, no 72 days of abstinence. They got married, fornicated and reproduced like rabbits. No, that is not true. They didn’t reproduce like rabbits because they were vaccinated, which, in case you’re not aware, is a big scam by the West to depopulate the world. Well, the result is clear. Look at me. They got one parameter right, by accident, for sure. Tall! That’s all. Tall….dark, ugly and dumb.
Well, subsequent to the Poobah calling us Somalis, they started downgrading us one by one. We became the worst state in the country. The crime capital. Our cities are dumps. People, especially of a certain majority religious persuasion, are on the verge of becoming refugees. There is murder, mayhem, and there are trans-genders in workforce, etc. and before you could say Jack Robinson, we became “thundery Pakistan”.
That was when I lost it. “Thundery?!” What the f#$k is thundery? My dormant pride was stirred. Are they alluding to thunder thighs? Those plump women in the mallu movies; a genre that the country loves more than Bollywood fare. Are they telling us that when the Gujaratis were lunging for their asmita, we were embracing Silk Smita movies here? So, that is the deal. They want to paint us as “kootharas,” which could be translated as dirty rotten scoundrels. Once we start believing that we’re kootharas (I know quite a few who have become believers), they, the fair knights in shining armour, riding their cows, will come in and save us. It appears to be from the playbook of certain religions. You’re a sinner who needs to be saved.
I was downcast at this turn of events. The horror of knowing that you’re universally hated! But then, I do have some friends, who religiously post uplifting messages and motivational bullshit in my WhatsApp groups, which I used to deride. Not today. Today, those have come in handy. I’ve decided to look at the positives and take ownership of being a koothara. After all, I was born and raised in one of the koothara-est neighbourhoods of Trivandrum, thanks to which I had developed a fine command over koothara language at a very tender age (a fact revealed to me by the taxi driver who used to ferry us to school). So, here is my response for calling us thundery. I’m raising my lungi to you in protest, an ancient vedic ritual practiced in this region to express dissent. NO! Not that, don’t look there, you koothara. Look at my thighs, my thunder thighs!
Kootharas of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your lungis.