Saturday, July 23, 2011

An alien in my own planet

"This post is written for BLOGESHWAR and Campusghanta "

                                                    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"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

the road to a mud bath!

Today me and my bike had to toil through the most messed up road in Kerala.(even more messed up and potholed than the NH-47) it all started when my mother heard the agriculture office in my town was giving away saplings of pepper plants. You read it right pepper plants! (The thing that attracted almost half of the European countries to try conquer India-black gold) So I drove my mom to the office, which by the way was somewhere in a very remote area, with only mud roads leading to the place. So ignoring the “always annoyingly right voice” in my head I drove on. And came to places on the road, where after a month’s relentless rains and lots of trucks passing by the road had resembled something really horrible, only photos can describe the absolute muddy mess the place was. So after I was about a kilometer in and well past the point of no return, I saw the agriculture office. I dropped my mom off at the entrance and started on the Herculanean task which was the toughest venture yet on my bike- to turn the bike around in the muddy ”road”.
see the smallest and the newest tyre track, without water in it .. thats me!
slippery slippery
                                               I knew right from the beginning, when I was sitting there on my bike, deciding whether to abandon my bike or to slit my wrist for falling for my mother’s trick and going there in the first place. A really wise guy walked by looked at the road and then looked at me with a smug smile on his face, ad said “boy you are going to have a great time here.” And he went off laughing to himself at my sorry situation. Just then as if that wasn’t a sticky enough situation, it started raining.(which it has been for the whole week, in-between intervals of 5 minutes. Am sick of rains now!) I had left the raincoat at home, because IT WAS NOT RAINING THEN. (Lesson learnt never go without an umbrella in kerala during the rainy season even if it looks like a really sunny day.) 
                                                     So I slowly started up the bike and turned, the bike moved slowly slipping in the loose mud now and then. First of all, there were two huge tire tracks of a truck (which amazingly fit through the congested road) and the front wheel of the bike fit perfectly in the first tire track and the back wheel even more perfectly in the second tire track. This effectively meant I was stuck. I tried shifting to the second gear and accelerated, all that happened was the back wheel spun splashing the muddy water all over a wall but the bike did not move an inch. Then the owner of the house whose wall was now covered in a fresh coat of mud came out and helped me, after more than 10 minutes of heaving and pushing and digging away at the tire track the bike was finally free. 
                                                I agreed to clean the Good Samaritan’s wall. It was more like, I was  emotionally blackmailed into doing it, but still I owed him that much. And at the agriculture office there were about 25 saplings and fertilizers which weighed about 15 kilos and my mom waiting to be transported back home. I told mom that If I took so much weight with me on the bike, we would get stuck somewhere in the sinkhole that was the “road” leading to the main road. So I drove out of the place and parked the bike in a safe place, hired an auto to do all the heavy carrying and the dirty work. And came back with a camera to take photos of the place, only this time I parked the bike far away and walked the rest of the way in.
now I have to wash my bike! believe it or not, for the third time today.
                                       ~~~~~~~~~ f.i.n~~~~~~~~~~

On a side and serious note, pray for all those who lost their lives in the Mumbai blast and even pray for the change of heart of the heartless cowardly murders that are worse then beasts.