How to recognise a mallu

The recent imports from our land come into this great city with the expectation that the place would be creeping and crawling with kannadigas. "How laughable that is. Sho thamaasha thamaasha", would say the seasoned veteran. From his many experiences in bakeries and the malayali capital of Forum Mall, the seasoned veteran has come to realise that Bangalore - particularly the region known as Madivala - is in the state of Karnataka just for namesake. The newbie often ends up making mistakes like this - noob enters bakery noob : Ondhu chaaya. Ondu puffs maadu beku. bakery guy stares at noob. Analysis complete, he shouts to his colleague. bakery guy : Zahire, ഓന് ഒരു puffs-ഉം ചായയും കൊട് .

To avoid such potential pitfalls I hereby bring you the malayali's guide to recognising a malayali. Recognising a malayali is very easy. Like changampuzha once said - "You can take the malayali out of kerala, but you can't take the kerala out of a malayali".

1. Bakery = malayali There are 2 kinds of bakeries in Bangalore. One is the "Iyengar Bakery". These are very easy to recognise. They're often called just that. Occasionally they have the full name of its founding father, for eg. Madhu Iyengar Bakery. The Iyengar bakeries are few in number. The majority of the bakeries in Bangalore belong to the "Malayali bakery" category. If you feel like having some puffs, fear not and head to the nearest bakery. Brush up your best malabar malayalam and shoot.

2. Look at the name of the shop Before you enter a shop read the name. Typical malayali names are often given to these shops. Examples include "Top in Town", "Star", "Royal", "MAS". If you see a shop like this, fret not. Forget your near-non-existent kannada and happily converse in your mother tongue.

3. Check the area you are in You are in madivala. You enter a shop. Any random shop. There's a 99% chance that it's a malayali shop. Same goes for many other malayali areas like Thippasandra or GM Palaya.

4. Freak Style Imagine you're inside the Forum Mall. I pause for a moment to give you time to take in the sight. Now see that freak guy over there. Yes, that one. The dark guy with a french beard, coloured/straightened hair, piercings in various parts of the body and an exaggerated swagger. Go there and tell him "Enthokke ondadey vishesham". Chances are he'll tell you "Oh, ingane okke jeevichu ponu aliyaa". 50% of the freaks/yo-yos in Bangalore are malayalis. Rest are chinkies.

5. Coconut Oil plastered hair His/her hair reminds you of the banana chips your mother used to make. ഒട്ടും പേടിക്കണ്ടാ .. അത് മലയാളിയാ .

6. Watch out for the accent You find a group of people in a professional setting. The malayali immediately advertises his roots when he opens his mouth to speak in English. Yes, you hash-bush guy - you too. Even your hash-bush English sounds like Malayalam.

7. When it rains A proper rain is a rare event in Bangalore. Look out in such a situation and you'll find some people with umbrellas and others soaking wet. The ones with the umbrellas have a "ithreye ollo ivdathe mazha" expression. Needless to say they're malayalis.

There are many other traits that you learn to recognise with experience. Too much info, too little space. Share your thoughts - പച്ച തെറി is also welcome

Note : This was originally written for the alumni newsletter of our alma mater, "The xMECian".

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