Saturday, January 17, 2009

In Kerala, its Better Jobless Than Ever!

A guy friend told me something very interesting recently. If you live in Kerala, its better to be one of the following, if not all: fat, dark, ugly faced or wearing a permanent scowl, shabbily dressed (or in a mundu folded up above your knees), have a criminal look, or most preferably, be jobless. Although I found it funny at that moment, over a period of time, I realized what made him come up with such a harshly truthful statement.

A couple of months ago, while I was waiting at a traffic signal, which clearly had the red light on it, two guys approached my car from behind and started honking and asking me to go (probably since there was not much traffic at the junction in any case). When I refused and pointed to the red light on the signal, the guys started abusing me. Although I didnt bother and instead told them to buzz off, it was clear how the goonda looking guys with their blonde-streaked hair, with golden bracelets along with saffron and black ties on their wrists, who apparently form the "poor and downtrodden" of Kerala, would have intimidated most of the rich and selfish people (since they own cars) in Kerala.

Around a month ago, a KSRTC bus rushing towards my car from behind, with no intention of slowing down despite it being a junction, scraped a good portion of my car's right doors. And when he had no intention of stopping, I overtook and made him stop very close to the junction. The cop who was standing there and witnessing the whole scene came and shouted at me for obstructing traffic and asked me to "take my car and go". The seemingly inebriated driver (I could sense the stink of alcohol around him, but wait, he is the poor common man of Kerala, lets salute him first) just looked at me below from his seat in the bus, with an evil look and a bit of pity. The passengers and the people who joined around started murmuring "onnum patteellello" "kondu poda" and other expressions of mallu concern, hinting at me to get lost. Probably they would have been a little more sensitive had I died or had a broken arm and was bleeding profusely, I hope.

A friend who runs a hotel (dont worry, not a star hotel, but just an ordinary restaurant serving "meals") was complaining about how he was harassed every day by different authorities (all affiliated to the mighty poor-man's group), right from the corporation health inspectors, to pollution board, and water authority, who would not go away unless they were bribed. Interestingly, bang opposite him was a petty shop serving food who flouted every law and was even obstructing the traffic, but was not bothered by any officer. He also mentioned that the petty shopwala was also a strong political supporter of a certain party, whereas he had no particular political affiliation, but started this hotel from the money he saved as a worker, along with a bank loan.

I have heard mallu men, and even some women, openly proclaim that women should not walk around in anything other than clothing that covers their entire body (probably would have been better off with a burkah). Otherwise dont blame the men if they get groped or molested or raped, since those women "asked for it". Women on the other hand are scared to dress up or wear clothes that they like, lest they displease the malayali macho man with stinking armpits and folded lungis (from the mighty, powerful common-man's group), waiting for them. I wonder if our women are pushed to the extreme of even overeating and slothing with an intention of getting ugly and fat thinking that they will be safer. Ofcourse, they are mistaken.

If you are dressed properly and step outside, you are looked down upon, usually by another mallu who probably earns more than you, but purely out of jealousy. At the clubs and so called social gatherings, if you are a christian, the trick is to incite the people around by dividing them as hindus and muslims, and to pass snideful comments. If you are a so-called ezhava, then its the nair and varma tag that is played to isolate you. Yes, this is also done so that the common man's rights and privileges can be protected!

But most importantly, if you have a job and work hard to earn your living, you will likely be isolated by the unemployed and jobless complaining that you snatched their opportunity (no matter that there is still plenty of opportunity, but they prefer to remain jobless and take the privileges that come with it). The thieves and criminals will rob you and harass you. The politicians and their party workers will fleece and threaten you till you contribute to their "fight for the poor". The government will definitely make sure all the rules are laid down (only for you) to make you suffer unless you "oil the system" generously, to the extent that you end up running away from the state when you realize its not worth risking your life and health.

Alright, lets not discuss all this publicly, but instead call for investments and talk about mega projects, and ofcourse, hold up our 100% literacy tag. Shhh..lets hide that god-darn report that says Pondichery overtook us on the education index (but not on 100% literacy, haha!!). Lets join the powerful and mighty group of the poor and downtrodden of Kerala, and then we also wont have to worry about our work and livelihood.


Anup Shekhar said...

that way our society is progressing..there are more and more people becoming jobless in kerala. way to go!

a correspondent said...

Christian - Nair - Ezhava portion of the post.. manasilayilla... who isloates and incites whom?

Rest is true, of course. But as a mallu who lives in north india, the same problem exists everywhere. In the North, you can step on the poor man's chest, and he won't protest. Usually. But he gets a chance, he would be equally happy to get back at you -- we just manage to create a money bubble here and live inside it. Step outside that, and the nastiness is very alive anywhere in India.

MC said...

@ anup - yeah ofcourse..we are :)

@ correspondent - i regularly see how jealousy and other base qualities segregate people at gatherings, and people attacking eachother based on caste or religion (usually caste based remarks).

i am planning to start another blog for india soon. but first i was hoping we could better kerala, the state of the literate lot.

Praveen said...

very true...a hard look at the reality in kerala..
really sad aftr reading tht:(

Corpus Gray said...

It's so true.

And, the fact is that people would really like to make do with the way it is now, yes, most of them, maybe because it's the easier thing to do!

To be, ...and not care.

Kp_Sumesh said...

Its a syndrome -at the bottom level the cyclist scolds the barefoot pedestrain who goes in search of a dog to aim his stone.. and at the other end the benz e class shouts at the M800 [till the nano comes].so who is poor who is rich doesn't matter,its in the system,called democracy.Will some one dare to do the same in the sultanates of the middle east,or for that matter in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

MC , depressing article - however there isn't much in Kerala to be optimstic about these days .

Looking at the current economic indicators from the places where remittance money is generated , it does look like Kerala will be in for a very rude shock very soon . While I don't think that a malyali exodus from the middle-east back to kerala will change anything in the mindset of the average Kerala politician , it may prove to be the catalyst for change for a now regressive society .

The saddest part is I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel . Each party lives with the motto- Swantham kaaryam Zindabad- rest can go to hell .

Chennai mal said...

guess its about leadership vaccum

i noticed that ,people in GOC generaly don't allow one person to decide or take the lead.Everything has to be collective discussions.Committees and Commissions, Action councils and Associations ,in between all this, Democracy gets smothered.

2009 seems to be getting even worse
A simple gesture of Shashi Tharoor gets dragged to the court. The young MP from kannur gets the stick just for mentioning development.

One dialogue i heard sums it all"agnanae avan aal avenda,evide viverem ullavar vereyum undu"

Anonymous said...

When in Rome, do what the Romans do...... Avan innu "chetta" anankkil njan innale "chetta" ayirunnu.. Deal them with confidence in thara tvm bhasha with dominance and power and you will see even the policeman wagging his tail..... A B.E, MBA holder and businessman from my exp of 30 yrs in TVM. (I have three is typical Thrissur/EKM, other one is typical Travancore christian with mundu, jubba, golden chain, bracelet achayan look which can easily be transformed to TVM style.... entirade, ninukke nere chovne veetil ponoode... "

kuttappan said...

i think this kind of behavior and attitude is worst in the capital city, trivandrum. i guess its made the capital for this reason!

scorpiogenius said...

Someone here mentioned about the recession and its anticipated impact on Kerala...Waiting sweetheart...waiting...

Middle East construction and allied sectors have started to feel the pinch and the return journies have commenced for many Malayalees. Lets see how Achumama and co and their successors will deal with this situation.

Sometimes we need a good whip to learn some lessons. So perhaps this recession may open up our society to some hard truths, and we will learn things the hard way...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Understood the Christian - Nair - Ezhava portion well. You left out the fresh exports from Kerala who get together in their homes in Blr, Mumbai and bitch about Gujus, Punjus, Kandus and Gultis. We are a bitchy society, both men and women!

Jacob said...

MC, I love your post. So so true!!! Every bit of it.

Come to Trivandrum. All of this and much more happens here.

You have the maximum number of "saffron-ties" crowd here on brand new 2-wheelers. Yes, I am talking about the newly-rich of the otherwise lower-middle class capital city. Real estate deals have manufactured a new breed of people who are generally from a downtrodden background but have a few lakhs (in this case, enough to buy a 2-wheeler). Many of them are from the hotspots like Kazhakuttom (gangland) and Akkulam. These folks are anything but civilized. And they are out to intimidate the average respectful civilized citizen. You see some formerly "choola" kids on 2-wheelers trying to scare people off the road. You see the saffron or the beanie on them. They remind you of the LA Gangsta. Uffff!

Then cometh the situation where you are decently dressed but looked down upon. You experienced this more in the 1990s when local college kids did not like your long hair and threatened you on the city bus in the name of God-forsaken SFI !

You also had the typical guy from South Trivandrum (East Fort, Manacaud or Karamana) who did not like the presence of the average Central Travancore Christian in his city. All this while, he had just completed his 16 years of education from Christian schools or colleges. Hypocrite. Many a time have I come across such beings who would walk up to you and call you a "Nasrani, what you doing in my city".

Thanks to other communities, Trivandrum still exists. Look at Kochi, she flourished and prospered coz of the arrival of different cultures, be it Christian, Arab, Roman or Chinese.

Trivandrum has not been so forthcoming or approachable. Sad.

The Common Man | പ്രാരാബ്ധം said...

For a beginning , lets ban "MUNDU"...As they show in the movie Thilakkam, let everyone be pant-ified....;-)

The first thing I notice in this page eachtime I am here, is the widget "MY DOG ! THIS HAPPENS ONLY IN KERALA"... And today we have four items:

1. About the BEML foundation stone laying
2. About E Balanandan passing away
3. About State's Annual Plan
4. Silent Valley one among Kerala's Seven wonders[ and NDTV initiative]

Which of these four disturb you MC?

I still make the same lame, cruel and cold blooded accusation that I made a few times before. That is just a News Widget with a single filter "V S Achuthanandan" , and not even the word "Kerala".

Can you deny it?



Madhavan said...

very true of the Mallu mind et once again! It's "Goonda Raj" in Kerala. To be a Mallu Macho, do not show any respect to any one and to be abrasive & abusive.( The role models being Mega star Suresh Gopi &co) Words like "please", Sorry or Thank do not exist in Mallu Vocabulary. Recently a little kid in my sister's neighbour hood called her "pulle", when she complained about it to the child's mother she laughed it off, assuring this a common norm when the kids fight at home!
If Swami Vivekanandan said Kerala was a communal Madhouse, a decade ago, it is worse today. You are not treated as who you are in the society, but as from which community you hail from. No caste or religion is an exception to this rule.
I think we need new leadership, like Sasi tharoor, Babu Paul or VSSC- Madhavan Nair to re-educate and to reform the "tribal Mallu brethern"

kuttappan said...

common man, why do you say that? are you saying that VS is one of the seven wonders?? anyway, most of us dont think its relevant as to what the filter is or what the news items are. so please stop bringing these "cold-blooded" accusations, as you call it, here. lets focus on the post please.

The Common Man | പ്രാരാബ്ധം said...


Ya Ya, plz focus on the post bro. Kinldy ignore me.

I am sure MC will try to answer the question without much delay.

You carry on with your serious discussions.

phoenix said...

@MC: Is there any cure for Obsessive Compulsive Widget Disorder?

Anonymous said...

@ phoenix - :) you rock!

Common Malayalee said...

I think cast is in everybody blood. That starts from our name itself. Each of us wants somebody to call names that relates to some religion. Right? Now that is not enough. Every body wants to put cast tail also to names.Cast is so prominent in Ker ala. A communist also is not exception. How many of us in this forum got married out of his cast or religion? We put a mask while we talk in public for the sake of "secularism" but at home we talk for our cast.How many in this forum got married out of his own cast or thinking to get married out of his own cast? Answer will be 0

silverine said...


Someone remarked to me the other day (when I sent him the link of this post) that Kerala would be better off without Trivandrum! He feels Tvm is dragging the rest of the State and other cities and towns will do well without its interference. Quite a telling comment though I don't know far its true!

hammy said...

Soberingly true... I don't think that ALL the 'poor' people are as fortunate as your examples here, but yes, the media hype around the 'poor' definitely has affected public perception of it.

People lose sight of the fact that the poor don't deserve attention/ special benefits JUST for being poor.

As with any segment of society, there are good and bad elements even in these segments of society.

Nice read...

Anonymous said...

My dear brothers,

Who in the God's name are you to stand apart and criticize? Dont you belong to this same crowd? Do a self analysis on how much is your contribution to make this place a so called 'Dog's own Country'. Self criticism is always good. But I pity the parameters employed here. For you it is not Kerala; it is either Thrissur, Eklm, Malappuram, or Trivandrum. How are you going to 'SAVE KERALA' without conceiving the idea that Kerala is for the whole Keralites...It is very painful to see that you are slicing it without any mercy based on economy, culture, religion, and even districts....

GOD save you all

MC said...

@ praveen - i know the feeling..lets spread the word and isolate such behavior, and single out people who encourage such base attitude.

@ corpus gray - we care and thats enough. lets work on changing at least 5 people we know, or atleast resisting such behavior.

@ Sumesh - yeah we need to send our misguided youth, especially our party workers, to the military for some schooling.

@ CTyger - i think we will soon be having a change with the way things are going. people are fed up. and slowly i can see how more educated people want to enter governance.

@ chennai mal - very true, we dont have leaders with vision and sincerity towards the state and the nation. that will only come with education.

@ anonymous - i think thats a problem. there are many people who dont want to put up so many faces, especially the TVM style that you mentioned.

@ kuttappan - theres some truth to what you say, and again its because of the high level of politicisation, and the arrogance that comes with it.

@ scorpiogenius - we will ask for more central assistance, and blame them for neglecting kerala, ofcourse.

@ BJ - couldnt agree with you more. like you said, we need more educated people entering the seats of governance. thats the only way we can rebuild ourselves.

@ anonymous - i guess the disease gets better after a while after export.

@ Jacob - very valid point - mixing of cultures is very important to transform ourselves into a more cosmopolitain and tolerant society.

@ The Common Man - i think we have discussed this before. and i told you the filters are not what you imagine them to be. sorry.

@ Madhavan - it would have been much better if Suresh Gopi was the icon. instead the character and types from the movie Rajamanikyam is what people clap and imitate.

and you have a great point. today even children are appreciated for using foul language and behaving aggressively. ruining the next generation is worst mistake we are doing as a state.

@ kuttappan - thank you

@ The Common Man - thank you

@ phoenix - :) hmm.. think its called filter-acin.

@ anonymous - sure she does!

@ Common Malayalee - i take your comment as your own opinion, just like my post is my own opinion. having said that, religion and marriage is very personal. it doesnt matter if one wants to get married to someone from ones own religion and faith. and its fine if someone wants to marry from outside. but the point is to live and let live, and not to despise and shun people on the basis of religion. and caste is a totally different issue, and i cannot understand how you equate the two. its time we forgot the castes and caste system.

@ silverine - theres some truth to what your friend said. and like i said in an earlier response, its due to the high level of politicization in trivandrum that has spoilt the city. the arrogance and aggression is due to the sense of political backing rather than civility.

@ hammy - i think the real, actual people who lack opportunities and resources need to be differentiated from the poor i talked about in my post, who are in no way financially lacking or lagging compared to the former. i think this lack of differentiation is what political parties use to their selfish advantage.

@ anonymous - i dont think we did any such differentiation here. if you are talking about the comments on Trivandrum, its purely a discussion on a real problem. otherwise we are talking about Kerala, our mother land, and its people, as a whole only :)

DJ said...

Utter depressing article.what i guess is that you are a high earning person having no concern about ordinary have given a totally negative outlook about many aspects of the have forgotten about the other side of the every system can be corrected- but it needs a good attitude-and a group effort- what trial have you put in towards a development aspect??indeed have just tried to picturize the whole system in a totally sarcastic manner and with a hint that there is nothing to be done with all this.but man, there is indeed lots to be done.

The Common Man | പ്രാരാബ്ധം said...

@ MC

Thanks for the clarification!


Good job!

Common Malayalee said...


If you identify someone with religion then cast also will come in that. Because cast is a part of religion.Like Hiddu > Ezhava etc. If you can't stand with cast then you have to avoid religion also.

But in our society people give more importance to cast.We have a good example in Kerala.

I think my point makes sense:)

MC said...

@ DJ - i agree that there is lots to be done. and thats the whole point. definitely it has to begin with the attitude, and thats exactly what the post was all about.

@ Common Malayalee - You said But in our society people give more importance to cast.We have a good example in Kerala.
Exactly! Isnt that what I said in my post :)

Smitha said...

The video is disgusting! I cannot believe that is a CM behaving like a gossippy bitchy housewife. Shows the mallu male in his true colors!

kuttappan said...

@ smitha - but this is what the people of kerala likes and claps for..and this what wins our leaders votes. thats 100% literacy for you!

Anonymous said...

I dnt think there is much problem in kerala to live.We are used to these things and we are comfortable with this.we have a culture of thousands of years and if you dnt know abt that then shut up.just read more things abt kerala and then write. kerala is still God's own country.we are not excuted with the western culture AND PUB CULTURE. i dnt think thats a problem. here people are more involved in the politics as well as in govt. if u r staying outside kerala will you interfere in any issues happening AROUND YOU.will your tongue come out to say anything.? here people are allowed to express their opinions.if you are not interfering in things happening around you , you are sleeping. you just think what you can do to change the things and then blame just dnt know abt the politicians in other states thats y u are blaming our politicians.there may be a few people like you mentioned but dnt think that all the keralites are like that. i dnt think there is any social and religious injustice in kerala. May be in your mind communalism is in its high.just come outside and see what is happening outside.if u are not in kerala dnt bother abt us we are happy and we will live happily and if u dnt like kerala please please dnt come.

MC said...

@ anonymous (the last one) - please see this link:

Anonymous said...

@ MC
MC we are not thinking that we r donkeys. You People those who dnt know what is kerala and sitting in some other place blaming people of kerala. actually there is not much problem in kerala. You people are making kerala Dogs own country. those who have the same attitude of you , those who dnt know what is politics. If you want to change anything then change your attitude and mind towards people of kerala. otherwise learn more abt other states then you will know what is Kerala and how the people of kerala.
Just read what happy kitten wrote.
Happy Kitten said...

Menon, I can understand your hatred for the communist (as most of us are, after seeing some of the leaders) but when in the same breath you write “Learn from China my friend” I wonder if you are indeed a “little” confused. So it is not the communist ideology that is troubling you, but something else. Can you please be more clear?

I am also happy to note that you do agree with me that agriculture is important, while I say it should be the backbone of any society. But let us not talk about the “conscience” of any multinational companies since I have worked for one enough to know that the only ‘mantra’ they continuously utter is ‘profit’. They would do charity on the side as long as they are sure that this will bring them the “brand loyalty’ they seek tirelessly. They would not mind crushing anyone if their "profits' are being touched too. If at this moment of history we can see USA as one big corporate, then we dont need to seek examples elsewhere and we are also seeing where selfishness can lead one to.

Talking about the political parties , the Congress has been in the centre for the majority of the years after independence and in the Kerala State they have governed as much as the communist. And what have they done differently to have gained your love (if I assume)?

By the way, please don’t assume that only you have been or are living outside India. And sitting in the comforts that these “other” countries offer, it is easy for me and you to pass comments. But to tell you the truth, there is no place on earth like Kerala (maybe it is because I am a Keralite) and if you ask me why this state is unique, I do not have a definite answer.

If 100% literacy has been brought about in the State then it something that we should be proud of. If we are not killing our “girls” like some of the other states, even that is something to be proud of. If there is communal harmony then isn’t that an achievement?

So let us not brush aside this State of Kerala just because the Communists are there. We know where some in the Communist party is headed to, just like their counterparts in other political parties.

So let me borrow words from Annonymous who wrote; “The fundamental problem, which many of you have already touched upon, is the lack of a civic sensibility which transcends political or factional affiliation.”

I think the political parties will not change if those who vote them do not change. We have to first learn to follow rules and maybe even forgo some comforts which come with the usual “bribes’ that we give them.

thelotuseater said...

Sathyam! Just can't stand the hypocritical self-righteous mallus.

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