Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Prayers from a Mallu

Mallu:- Proper noun. Slightly derogatory term used for Malayalis aka Keralites who display behavior said to be characteristic of their community. A typical Mallu will
  • be very laidback, and thus peace-loving and detests violence most of the time. Being lazy, we will-
  • jump in at every opportunity which claims to make big money easily,
  • have an opinion about everything- about that girl next door who flirts too much, that auto driver who charges more and more every next time, about social media, USA's foreign policy, Manmohan Singh, in short- EVERYTHING. Hell, even that unemployed bum has an opinion about why no one's doing anything about global climate change.

  • We Mallus are worldly, well-read (at least 95% are), intellectuals, or pretend-intellectuals (but even they will know all the facts and are updated on the news and goings-around) and sometimes even other-worldly (might as well make some money off other-worldliness while we are at it!
  • There's a running joke about how there will be a Mallu in every nook and corner of the Earth. (You've definitely heard the joke of how when Neil Armstrong landed on Moon and saw that there was this Mallu running a tea-shop there,right?)
  • We LOVE hartals. Whether we support the cause or not is an entirely different thing. Which is why, come every other unknown political party who claims to have been offended by so-and-so or such-and-such situation and declares strike or hartal- we CELEBRATE them. We cheer each other with "Happy Hartal!/ Hartal days are back again!" texts. No, I swear this is true. I can personally vouch for this being 100% reality, cos I celebrate along too!        Back in school days, we'd students strikes practically every other day. Ergo, we'd go to school, get taught for a period or so before the school gave in to the student-strike that came strutting in from the other school next door. Then us girls would all hang around our empty classrooms, schoolground, munching away happily on snacks and yummy lunches, before finally going home in the best of happy  moods. Tee hee! So you understand that protests are pretty much in-built into the Mallu system.
           Upset about the grades? Protest march. Teacher being partial to some student. Gherao him. Exam papers may have been leaked? Boycott college for days. You want an upgrade on paycheck? Strike! Pissy with the govt? Strike! Hartal!
This poster is pro-hartal and reads "Yay Hartal! Hartal wishes to all". I know, we're a crazy fun lot

And this last characteristic brings me to the topic. By now you've a fair idea of what to expect from a Mallu and the fact that I'm a Mallu too. =D
And like at least some of my readers know by now, I'm working at IIM-Kozhikode currently. Yes yes, thanks for the congrats and thumps on my back and everything. It's amazing and lotsa fun working there too. But! The one drawback of it all is that I have to work 9-5.30 Monday through Saturday. Which means I get just one measly holiday a week. Barely, hardly, not at all enough.

I'm reduced to waiting for general holidays which don't happen much. The only other alternative where we get holidays would be when there're vehicle strikes, hartals or the sort happening and you can't make it to work.

And me being me, always ends my prayers these days like this,
"God, please let a hartal happen on Saturday or Monday so I can have that extra day off."

Absurd you thinketh? Well, God sure did answer my prayers last week. Only that it was limited to that particular municipal corporation my hostel is in and which meant, yeah I got my day off thank-you-so-much, but that the IIM administration marked it as leave taken by me since there was no hartal as such where IIM was. Dang!

So this week around, I prayed more specifically.
"Dear God, please give me a hartal more than six hours".This time around too God was gracious enough to answer my prayer. Only, I got a Hartal in my district alone. IIM will be able to function anyways and everyone else will turn up for work. All but me. =( Which obviously means they'll once again mark me down as on-leave.
But on the bright side, I already was home all of yday since it was a general holiday. And I got to stay back today too. So it's Sunday,Monday and this Tuesday. Chock-fulla holidays! Though I'll be paying the price for today. Hmph.

Next time around I'mma pray with the wording so correct, connotation and implication so accurate that I'll land myself an awesome hartal-holiday. Just you wait and watch!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

White, white lie


At first it was just a passing thought. Like a stray hair caught in the wind. Flimsy and with no weight of its own to mean anything huge.

She didn't linger on it. So there she was on the phone, talking about a million different things with Mira, and among them, they eventually ended up talking about her weight.

"Yeah sis, I've heard all this a million times over. You think I don't worry about this? Aren't I freaked about how it might wreck my health?

And J did know how scary things could get. The blackouts for one thing. She was never sure where and when she might fall apart, unconscious. Only to wake up elsewhere with no memory as such of the falling apart or anything.

She could hear her cousin's racked breathing from all the hyper-freaked rant about how J never cared enough about her own health. Mira took a moment to control her feelings; mostly fear and worry; she was close to tears by now. And completely frightened by what thoughts might be going through J's head. With good reason.

J in turn let out an almost ruthless laugh and chuckled the words out, "Hold on didi! I just want to know how much more I weigh these days- is all! God, you sound like mom these days".

Mira calmed down considerably, but she still couldn't tamp down her suspicions.
"It better be so. Or you and I will have words, with a shrink in tow. I'm not even joking anymore."

J dropped the cheery act and snapped back drily,
"Of course. Anyways, class is over for the day. I'm heading home now. Call you later when you're off work."

-"Had lunch?"
-"Yup Mira, with friends from canteen. Bye."
J cut the call with that.

She finally got off the phone and looked around. It was past lunch hour and most of the students were back in their classes. She gathered up her bag to say goodbyes to friends before leaving for home.

And as expected, everyone was lazing around in the computer lab.

"Oi, J! There you are! We already had lunch since you took so long. Wanna go to canteen together?"
"You didn't eat anything na?"
"Where were you anyway?"

Multiple voices yelled at her when she stepped into the lab.

"I'm off to home guys. Mom's expecting me for lunch. So bye!" J replied, collecting the remaining notes and stuff strewn over the place and stuffing them into her bag.

"Girl, you're totally missing out on the fun of eating with friends these days.. In fact, it's been months since we shared lunch together." Runi muttered annoyed.

J gave a taut smile at that and left after a couple more hugs and goodbyes.