The Spirit of Onam

It was best to stay away from Malayalam in school because God forbid you had the “Mallu Accent.” Dad spoke just enough English to be understood, wrote with notorious spelling mistakes, and pronounced English words in his own way with a rich Malayalam accent that could make any Linguist blush. Mom also figured it out in practice while working in Dubai. They raised us in an English world so that we wouldn’t have to take anybody’s shit (looking at all the North Indians).

It was great when I became fluent in English. Nobody could put me down, at least not grammatically. Heck, I even have a degree in it now. But you can’t run away from your mother tongue. Sure, you can hide from it amongst different languages, but one day you realize that you need her more than she needs you. Not knowing Malayalam meant burning a bridge to my past, to the circumstances that lead to my existence, to the stories that better explained my parents than any amount of observation could. In short, it cost me dearly.

It meant that I could never have in-depth conversations with a man who had so much wisdom- my father. I could never ask relatives for elaborate discussions of fun stories about my parents to use in my writings. Couldn’t establish Bangalore day’s type relations with cousins because conversations never crossed the surface, and was clueless in the face of peaceful sounding words armed with threatening undertones spewed by greedy uncles.

But mother tongues are loving, if you put effort she will flow into you naturally, instantly make you feel a sense of belonging. She will give you a whole new world if you choose to accept her, love her, embrace her without embarrassment.

This Onam was my first visit to my grandmother where I was able to sustain a conversation. She married at 21 and has two younger sisters (one has passed away) and an older sister(who passed away a few days ago). She studied only till the 3rd form because the school was too far away, and she sees dreams of her late husband. She doesn’t interact with him, she just observes him working in the fields. Sometimes, she even dreams of us.

And that is the spirit of Onam, it is not just Maaveli who comes back to his land on this day, it is all of us. Our essence has been stamped out of existence in a colonial, Brahmanical world. But then Onam comes armed with its food and flowers, ready to take us all back under the reign of Maaveli, who made us all equally bold, equally loved, and equally proud.

A very happy Onam to all of us!


This is SUPER Funny, Dude

This is a funny piece of writing. Really, it is. Right now you are reading a line that will make you smirk. This line makes you exhale heavier, and this (little addition in a bracket has just wowed your mind.)

I am telling you, this is a funny piece. There are bits and pieces of humor at the end of EVERY sentence, it’s REALLY funny. This sentence just made you throw your head back and say, “HA!” And then your eyes quickly rolled back to this sentence because you are so thoroughly amused by what you are reading right now.

I don’t know why, but you look like you don’t believe me when I tell you that this is a funny piece. You’re not reading this carefully enough, I swear on my sense of humor this is super fucking hilarious. This line right here was supposed to be a very witty one that catches you super, super unexpectedly. Like, you didn’t even see it coming. No what the fuck it’s not my girlfriend. You cant date a piece of writing you moron what are you on?

You know what? fuck you. This is not a lazy piece of writing from a person with a non existent sense of humor. It’s a fucking Pandemic. We need more light hearted, funny pieces to read now more than ever. This piece is a fucking God send, such heavenly humor.

You suck. This is funny. You just don’t know how to read. It’s so funny you can’t even. Right now anybody else would be partly wanting to come back and read more, and partly unable to because they just read some of the funniest lines ever and can’t stop laughing because their stomach is aching from all the laughter and they can’t catch their breath.

I don’t want any asphyxiation complaints so I am legally required to end here because my jokes are killing/to die for/so dope that it’s illegal. But this was a goddamn funny piece of fucking writing.


I’m Sorry Aunt Julia!

Somewhere between 2 and 2:30AM yesterday (which is actually today), I finished a true, soulful reading of Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter. The book was picked up while I was in a sense of denial (I would choose when my degree ends, and it’s not now) and for some reason, this time (as opposed to the ten times in my first semester) the book did not leave me, not at the first page or the fifth, not even at the one hundred fifth.

It stayed with me as I explored the versatile Alberto De Quinteros, drank copious amounts of verbena-and-mint tea (which in my house translated to lavender tea), and listened to Marito’s various short stories while ever so slightly (wink) getting turned on by his romance with Aunt Julia. I explored Peru and it’s many villages, and marveled, constantly, at the hypocrisy of Pedro Camacho, who ‘hated’ Argentines like I hate men- with a loving passion.

This book made me feel many emotions as I read it- Llosa’s magic? but every time I closed the book (with much difficulty) only one emotion triumphed- regret. I looked at old question papers from my first semester (because I am a pack rat like that) and whined at how much better my answers could (and should) have been answered, and at the amount of sense the questions made now. Perhaps that is why I am whining here too now. I am grieving a huge loss. Not of marks (ew), but of class room discussions that could have been, of inspirations that could have inspired, and of a new, generic way of looking at 50 year old men- “a broad forehead, an aquiline nose, a penetrating gaze, the very soul of rectitude and goodness,” (it really does apply to many 50 year old men, think about it.)

And so, to get over this, I must follow, just this once, what Pedro Camacho did all throughout- ‘Once his scripts had been broadcast, he forgot about them.’ I too must forget.

Hmm, what was our Pedrito feeling guilty about, then? Did he too have writer’s anxiety? How will these tragic thoughts of Anika’s mind end?