After reading the article in MyTamilGirl.com “What is your opinion about Malayalees “, I thought it is important that I shed some light on how Malayalees view Tamils. Most of the views expressed in the article are pathetically wrong and will serve only for the purpose of character assassination of a community. But my intention of writing this article is only about sharing my experiences with Tamils.
Here it begins …..
Malayalees reluctance to do odd jobs around the house resulted in an influx of Tamil labourers in Kerala from 70’s onwards. The other category of Tamils we Malayalis got to see were the beggars from Tamilnadu. Neither of these categories included the good looking Tamils. That could be one reason why Keralites shared the view of Film star Jayaram. Jayaram once made a comment “My maid is a dark, fat, buffalo-like Tamil woman. How can I even look at her?”, which landed him in trouble . But that was exactly the image we had about Tamils on those days.
In our college hostel, there were many Tamil boys. All were generally called Pandies . Initially I was of the impression that, this has something to do with the Pandya dynasty that ruled the Tamil Kingdom and this title is of some respect. But soon I found that even Malayali boys who have not developed the habit of taking bath regularly are also called Pandies . Yes, you guessed it right. The Tamil boys took bath once in three or four days and were less hygienic compared to their malayali class mates. In Kerala Tamils are viewed as people with much less hygiene standards. But recent comment by a U.S consulate official made me feel that this opinion is shared by people around the globe. I quote
"I was on a 24-hour train trip from Delhi to Orissa. But after 72 hours, the train still did not reach the destination… and my skin became dirty and dark like the Tamilians," US vice-consul Maureen Chao said in a speech at the SRM University.
Years later when I moved to Singapore, I had to deal with many Tamils. There I noticed a very funny thing. Instead of saying Good morning, Good afternoon etc. . They all asked each other ‘Sappittacha’ , which means ‘ had your
food?’ . In the beginning I was not sure what to answer once posed with such a question. To find that out I decided to try it on a Tamil Guy. One Mr. Chockalingam used to work with me and I met him one evening in Serangoon , a place Singaporeans call Little India . Instead of greeting him, I asked him Sappittacha ? He happily explained me what all he ate that day, from where and how tasty they were. Since that day I never dared to experiment that question with anyone else .
We Malayalis consider Tamils as people addicted to food especially Sambar and Thieru sadam .
Years later when I married, I faced a much worse dilemma. My wife is a Malayali born and brought up in Madras. Any conversation, with her ended in food. Whether it is about climate, cars or carbon tax, it ended in her talking about the Biriyani or Pulavu she had from some restaurant in Chennai. “ Ho ho ha ha , the Dosa from Sangeetha restaurant was so good, we even took a take away” . As the h oho ha ha’s reached an unbearable proportion, I reached a conclusion. Even malayalis if stayed with Tamils for extended periods, will become like Tamils.
The reason for writing this is simple. Every community has their character traits and pin pointing them or showing them in bad light is not the right thing to do. There will be many factors that shape a nation or state or a group of people and we should learn to respect that.
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