Culture shock usually occurs when a person moves away from home. Well I am still in doubt as to where my “home” is. A keralite bought up in Andhra and Tamil Nadu I have found myself in a rather unpleasant situation when I had to move back to my motherland. I’m pretty sure very few people have to be in a situation where they have to adapt to their own native place. When my father died me and my mom and my annoying sister moved back to Kerala to the house my father had built in “gods own country”. Being away from my friends was the hardest part, but I was no stranger to that. (I have studied in seven schools across two states and four districts) T he first thing that seemed crazy when I was in Kerala, was whenever I spoke all people heard was my strange accent. (the worst part was, even the accent I had was not that of one particular place- it was a mix of Tamil, English, Hindi and a little bit of unsure awkwardness whenever I opened my mouth to say something) even now after more than two years here, my friends correct me when I pronounce some words wrongly. (never politely or discreetly)
|In kerala alone against the tide.|
The accent is more of a pain in the wrong place because I am the class representative who has to make a lot of unnecessary announcements! The next thing that’s different here is that, I can’t wear shorts that go 3/4ths of the way outside. People will look at me like I’m some kind of crazy exhibitionist (once a guy sitting outside a shop yelled at me” go wear some dhoti, cant you see girls are around!). That’s painful because most malayalee guys wear dhotis and they fold it in half, and it’s almost as short as those short skirts. (The ones which make a girl look trampy in the Indian society, come to think of it, in any society) I can tolerate that. But when someone corrects my English like “it’s not twilight its pronounced tweeelite” or “it’s not auto its aaaatooo” or some of the many instances, it gets on my nerves.
|this is okay|
|and this ain't?|
You know in my 17 years outside Kerala, not one person has teased me for being a Keralalite and they have found it interesting that I speak Malayalam. But the first week in college my seniors and classmates made so much fun of the fact that I was from another state, that I HATED the place, everyone and everything about it. Other stuff I found absolutely crazy was how the queue outside the bar is longer and more orderly than outside a hospital or a ration shop. (Kerala consumes more alcohol in a year than any other state in India and even more than most European countries for that matter.) There are more rare luxury cars here than any other state in India. (Lots of rich people who like to show off that they are rich!) When it rains it rains with a vengeance, during the rainy season if you go out without an umbrella-even on a sunny day you would return home that evening wet and drenched. Every one has an umbrella at every time of the day. (compared to Tamil Nadu and Andhra where it would rain at most 15 days a year and an umbrella was a rare item and even then only for protection against scorching sun.) Students in schools and colleges conduct election and strike in the name of political parties, Youth wing congress and the notorious communist SFI the two main parties. And the front pages of news papers are always filled with death, rape or some really depressing news even on the days like the day when India won the cricket world cup.
All this and many more stuff make me feel like an alien in my own little planet called “Kerala”. You know when people say Kerala is “God’s own country” most of you think that’s absurd, Kerala is a state not a country. But after two years here I would call Kerala a country because both the geography and the people here are unique enough to be of a separate country. That need not be a good thing always, but there are moments here that just blow my mind away in a pleasant way. That makes all the troubles I go through seem worth while.
|"alien in my own planet"|