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The Practicing Malayalee and his Brandy!

September 8, 2010

The first weekend of every month is a very important time for a practicing Malayalee.

This brings us to the question. Who is a practicing Malayalee?

A practicing Malayalee is a person who lives his life in the way that he is breed too, irrespective of his geographic coordinates. A strapping 6 foot Malayalee, ironically named “Baby ——”, who I once met on a plane journey from Mumbai to Amsterdam, told me that as part of his “merchant navy” job, he had travelled the whole wide world; seen some of the weirdest things. But one thing that he claimed was surreal was when he had puttu/kadala with a kattan chaya in a coffee shop run by a Malayalee in one of the remotest locations on the globe, close to the Arctic belt. Nope the puttu/kadala was not on the official menu, but the shop owner decided to part with his lunch when he realized that he was talking to a home-sick Mallu.

I would seriously love to visit that place and have some puttu/kadala in sub-zero temperatures.

But anyways, coming back to the story, the average practicing Malayalee is also partial to his brandy; not scotch or whisky, not vodka or champagne; just some good old brandy (apart from rum).

I called up a friend in Kochi this weekend and he was in “high spirits”. He told me that he was standing in the long queue in front of the Vyttila civil supplies waiting patiently for his turn to get some booze.

It really is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the modern age. The average Malayalee is an “angry young man” as the adage goes. The strains of “Viplavam” (revolution) are so ingrained in his genes that he normally as a “rule“, tends to defy “rules” of any kind. And hence, the queue system is hardly followed anywhere in Kerala.

But if there is one place in Kerala, where people actually follow the queue system, it would be in front of the civil supplies shaap. The Malayalee standing in such a queue epitomizes patience, exudes calmness and other endearing qualities which are not observable anywhere else. He stands docilely in line, patiently waiting for his turn to buy some booze. There is no anger, no jostling for place or chaos in such queues.

Why is this system, not followed anywhere else, I wonder?

Anyways, so I asked my friend, “What is the occasion?”

He thought long and hard and finally said, “Well, it is a Friday”, which was an excellent reason.

And so what is the poison going to be?” I asked

The usual dude; Mansion House,” pat came the reply.

The same day, I called up another friend of mine in Mumbai. He was also in “high spirits” in a bar called “Chenab” in “Vashi” near the bus depot.

What is the occasion?” I asked.

He also thought long and hard and finally said, “Well, it is a Friday and I thought I’d enjoy some Talwarsi Chicken” (which is a special there).

“And so what is the poison?” I asked

That question introduced, as Jerome K. Jerome would have said, a sordid element into the conversation.

He replied with deep anguish, “Over here in this part of the country, brandy means ‘Golconda’. There is no other brand available in the market. Brandy is just not famous here”.

So I asked, “So you mean you also drink other forms of alcohol now?

He said, “No aliya; I am still loyal to my brandy. Sometimes, I have it neat, sometimes with water, sometimes with soda, sometimes with red bull and sometimes with apple juice. Change is good”.

Necessity at its innovative best!

On Saturday, I called up another friend in New York and realized that his words were heavily slurred.

So what is the poison?” I asked; “Is it JD, JB, Chivas or Johnny?”

Nope aliya, I just discovered this wonderful new Californian brandy here and am having it,” came the reply.

This is when I realized something.

The proud Malayalee might have populated the entire globe, but you just cannot take the “brand(y)” or colloquially speaking, the “brand(hu)” out of him.

Cheers to that, I guess! The ancient Vedic recipe for soma-rasam might have been lost along the turpitudes of time, but I suppose that the Malayalee has found a good substitute.

PS: Listening to this song now.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2010 9:45 pm

    This post can put anyone in high spirits 😉 Excellent narration, OG. You should write a book on the lines of Three Men in a Boat 🙂 And this particular line ‘There is no anger, no jostling for place or chaos in such queues.’ – so profound 😉 😉
    OG: hahaha 😛 thanks Pal!

  2. September 9, 2010 2:27 am

    As I keep saying, write a book!
    OG: 😛 Thanks Bones 😛

  3. September 9, 2010 4:01 am

    Highly-spirited post !!! LOL !!! 🙂
    OG: haha 😛
    Loved the enterprising guy selling puttu / kadala in sub-zero temperatures…why, even the chai shaap is also very phamous thing by malayalis. 🙂
    OG: yes, it is 😛 😛
    WOW, what research you’ve done ??? Wherever the Malayalee goes, he goes for the Brandy on Fridays !!! 😉 🙂 😀 Total LOL !!!! If you could elaborate this as a paper, it might get selected as a thesis paper. 🙂
    OG: ROFL 😛 ok, point noted 😛

    • September 9, 2010 4:02 am

      Practicing Malayalee !!!! LOL !!!! 🙂
      OG: 😛 😛 😛

  4. September 9, 2010 6:59 am

    The discipline in front of BevCo is one of the most mysterious social phenomena of Kerala. Socialists are dumbfounded and floored by this unique and interesting sight of rare unity and patience exhibited by people from all sorts of life. Its believed that Kerala BevCo is the only place where a carpenter,coolie, plumber, salesman, doctor, software engineer, pickpocketer, bureaucrat and a jobless kudiyan stand together in total exhibition of brotherhood. Good things happen to people who wait! Kerala Gov is proposing exhibiting ads of BevCo in hospital OP conters, KSRTC Bus Stands, Bill paying centers etc so as to bring in a sense of respect and discipline in the otherwise pandemonic places. A new political party “BevCo Peoples Party” is also about to be launched which has already send shockwaves into the Congress and Commie ranks.
    OG: hahah this is better than the post aliya 😛 kollam!

  5. September 9, 2010 8:19 am

    (hic) So you call all your ‘alphabetic and intial’ friends on a Friday (hic) to know what they are doing? (Hic) 😀 😀 😀

    and all of them (hic) are either in a bar or a wine shop whenever you (hic ) call them (hic)??? 😛 😛 😛
    OG: jangos I say!
    How come God (hic) gifted you alone with such characters, I (hic) wonder 😀 😀 😀
    OG: it is not just me aliya………. 😛 😛

    • September 10, 2010 11:12 am

      yeah, you are right ! Its not just you ; we are ‘blessed’ with you , le ? 😀 😀

  6. September 9, 2010 10:29 am

    I read the first para and I was craving puttu/kadala!!!!! Unfair!
    OG: well same here 😛

  7. September 9, 2010 8:44 pm

    LOL!!! 😀 I completley agree with that observation regarding the queue system!
    Vere oridathum queue paalichillenkilum…avide correct-aa!!! :mrgreen: 🙄
    OG: hahahaha!

  8. September 13, 2010 11:13 am

    Now try calling your Malayalee friends on a Monday afternoon and let’s know.


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