Being a Malayali in Delhi is quite interesting. I have been living in the city for almost 27 years, but I still get surprised. Oh no, not by Delhi itself, but by the Dilliwaalas. It always feels like home when a fellow Malayali walks up to me and asks, “Naatil evida?” (Where in Kerala are you from?)
But you have some other people spewing stereotypical bullshit that makes me want to pull out my hair and scream. Here are some of the ridiculous stereotypes Malayalis are tired of hearing.
1. “Arey, but you don’t look like a Mallu”
Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t realise I was supposed to tattoo “I am a Malayali” on my forehead. By the way, could you please tell me how a Malayali is supposed to look? Do we have horns shaped like palm trees coming out of somewhere, an extra limb made of gold, or something else?
2. “You are very fair for a Malayali”
Where is the “Guide to Malayalis” that says every person from Kerala is supposed to be dusky? Let me pick a fight with my genes so that I no longer look fair. Let me prove to you that I am a Malayali.
3. “Oh, so you speak Malayali”
Uhh no, I don’t speak Malayali. I speak Malayalam. The same way you are not Hindi, but you speak Hindi. Malayali IS NOT A LANGUAGE. Malayalam is the language. Kindly refrain from asking this stupid question in the future.
4. “Kya South Indian waala name rakha hai? Surname kyun nahi hai?”
Dear Sir, I am a South Indian. Hence, my name is bound to be South Indian too. Also, were my parents supposed to name me something a mile long just because you don’t like initials in my name? Thank you so much for this unsolicited, in-depth analysis of my name. Regards, a pissed off Malayali.
5. “Don’t you say nandri?”
No, I don’t. I say thank you. I would also like to say fuck off, but I am trying to maintain decorum here. Also, dude, not all South Indians say nandri, the same way not all north Indians say dhanyawaad.
6. “Yaar, you toh have so much gold. Do you even wear all of it?”
Do you wear every single piece of jewellery you have at home? Are you walking around in the diamond necklace your mom got you, the silver chain your sister got you, all the chunky jewellery you bought from Janpath? Do you wear all of it and walk around every single day?
Besides, gold is also an investment. You know, in case I have an emergency tomorrow, I can sell off my gold for some cash. Because all that jewellery from Janpath is not going to do me any good.
7. “Arey, we can make vadas with all the coconut oil coming off your hair”
First of all, ew… Why would you want to make vadas with oil that’s coming off anybody’s hair? That’s really gross. Secondly, I would like to see you try. I mean if you want to take the trouble of squeezing oil out of my head to make food, you must be really desperate. Sorry to say though, you’ll be sorely disappointed. We don’t empty half a bottle of Parachute on our heads.
8. “Can you teach me Malayali, all that aandru, pandru, kundru?”
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Unfortunately, this is a very small list of things Malayalis are tired of hearing. There are countless other stupid stereotypes we have to tolerate regularly. So, all the Malayalis in the house, what are some other exasperatingly stupid things you’ve had to hear while living in North India? Vent in the comments.
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