Sunday, March 16, 2008

lingua mallua

My Favourite movie ever (that is after Borat) is ‘Company’. Yes, I know it’s a surprising choice, but it genuinely is a good movie. (click here) Apart from being a well made Ram Gopal Varma movie, the reason it is so special to me is the presence of Mohanlal. Now, even though I have the classical mallu surname ‘Nair’, I can safely say my maternally dominated upbringing has not let much mallu influence seep into me.(FYI, my mom is a tam-bram) All the same, I have made enough trips to Kerala, watched enough Asianet and even drunk kallu (locally brewed toddy made from..What else. COCONUT!) to know my Mallu roots well enough.
Coming back to ‘Company’, the mallu drenched accent of Mohanlal made the movie watching experience even more entertaining. Try this – in the movie, the police under the Commissioner – Mohanlal, raid the goons’ hide out but they seem to have been tipped off and have flown off to Hongkong…..
Mohanlal to his sub ordinate : “Suna haim woh log Hong-gong gaya haim. Chalo unko pekadne mein to hemara plan flob ho gaya, lekin kam se kam ungo kundry ke bahar to bhech diya!”
(I have heard they have fled to Hong Kong. We may have flopped in our plans to catch them but at least we have made them leave the country.)
The above dialogue epitomizes the Mallu diction : The uniqueness of Malayalees is that they speak all languages in Malayalam.
By the way there are a few people who have taken this mallu accent thing far too seriously. Check this out.
Now even the non observant non south Indian can pick the regular ‘sero’ , ‘zimbly’ or ‘comblete’ but it takes a true mallu to notice the subtle nuances of Malayalish (Malayalam+English…well, it sounds better than Engalayalam!)
Speaking of Hong-gong (Hong Kong), apart from the regular Mus-kett and Thupai (Muscat & Dubai) , there are quite a few places/countries which have been rechristened by Mallus. As I have learnt from a few uncles and my father too,
Zimbabwe is now – Simbaagway
Switzerland is now- Syusserlent
Bangladesh is now – Bengeladesh
And for some odd reason, all – I mean ALL Mallus – even my cousins who are as old as me , are in a time capsule in 1972 and refuse to acknowledge the fact that Sri Lanka is no longer known as Ceylon (or See-lone).

Another Mallu quirk is the prounounciation of the ‘qu’ syllable. It is clear to me that getting this pronounciation right is impossible for anyone from Kerala.
All of us have heard the Saddam Hussein attacking Kuwait joke, so I wont go there again. But the other words have never ceased to amaze me.
Exquisite – es-kyus-sit
Quickly – kyuk-lee
Quintal – kyun-del
All ex students from SVJC (Swami Vivekanand Junior College) will agree with me that back in college, we had an overdose of Malayalee professors in college – from Babu Saar and Unnithan in Maths to The Sir John in Biology, Mr. George who taught in the commerce (‘com-airs’ for Mallus!) , Rama and finally Mrs. George for Chemistry!
And one particular memory of Mrs. George was her pronounciation of the Avogadro’s number. I would always look forward to the way she would reel off the Avogadro’s number ….6.023 x 1023
Here it comes…...”Six poind sero two three…..into….tendrupaar tondy three”.
The part of ‘ten to the power of twenty three’ was kyuk-lee (quickly) compressed into what we heard as ‘tendrupaar tondy three’. Mindblowing!

No south Indian can ever not hear the name of the suburb ‘Sion’ being pronounced as ‘Sa-yawn’ at home. And I still snicker and giggle when I hear my granny say “mu-lend” for ‘Mulund’. (Im still pervertedly smiling as I am typing this part!)

Sigh….if only I was a true bred mallu who had not been corrupted by the silly ways of English schooling in Mumbai.


Xorkes said...

Hehehe.. Its tough 2 change their style of pronounctn.. Rather these days i use in-joor(injure), mey-choor(mature).. Gosh, meri angrezi ki vaat lag gayi hain ;-)

Xorkes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Narsi said...

juniyar coal-lage... certainly had its 4 ur getting corrupt by 'english' schooling in mumbai..." yay hee tho tere dhantay kee jaath haim.."

Anonymous said...

damn funny..

Diti said...

Cool analysis (and really funny)! You've almost inspired me to do a blog on "Gujjulish"

indu said...

Hilarious and very interesting !!And of course the rarely used but heard very typically "Heyruniyah" for "hernia"

Ashwin said...

”Six poind sero two three…..into….tendrupaar tondy three”

Amazing dude..!!! Truly priceless..!

Anonymous said...

awesome post, dude!!! Brought back a lot of memories!!! I was remembering the John hand gestures and the 'look at yours' days :P

Sumedh said...

The phonetic descriptions are hilarious! Why don't you record sound clips of your imitations and put it up somewhere and link it... that will give us all the full experience :D

Akshay G N I said...

Excellent Idea Sumedh!
Ill do it soon!!!

Anonymous said...

Zimply Zuperb! :))


Aniruddha Agarwal said...

very hilarious indeed!
Avogadro's number is very amusing!

Neha Subhash Dangayach said...

You called your fellow brethren, South Indian! Someone's gonna get a hurt real bad! ;)

Hilarious piece! I didn't realize how funny Mohanlal was in Company! Guess, I was too caught up in the brooding underbelly of our fabulous city!
Thanks for this crash course in Malayalish :)
BTW, I couldn't find the link to become a follower of your blog.

Haresh said...

Hey! Reminded me of when staff nurses at Sion used to loiter outside their hostel, waiting for their "cuss-in"...meaning boyfriend.