Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The USC Mallu Saga Rolls On...

I was a confused freshman in search of my identity in the Fall of 2002 when it struck me...that i was too hard-boiled a mallu to find the same passion and bonding in anything non-keralite. Soon some paradoxes started happening...though i used to listen to all kinds of songs earlier i started finding my space in malayalam songs, i started watching malayalam films with a fervor i found hard to understand, and i haunted every nook and corner of the world wide web in search of malayalam and kerala sites to reconnect with my roots.The only thing missing wuz the mallu himself...i searched as best as i cud within the 1000-strong usc desi community for HIM but came a cropper... until a miracle happened. A guy named Ben George, came to know of someone frantically searching for his nest and rang me up...we talked on and on...traced our ways back...towards trivandrum, things like mallu movies, booze, then he to medical college and me to engineering and then...and then...and then...he to Loyola...I dont exactly remember if my heart let out a cry of joy or a cry of relief... If I keep finding the word Loyola in these blogs often its bcoz of these kinds of effects the school keeps having on me even years since my passing out....he wuz of the '89 batch and the school leader too then which sort of stifled my enthusiasm...i wondered how i cud relate with a man almost 7 years older to me but when we met it wuz like we had known each other for so long...there were jokes, tales of loyola...past and present...he wuz all i had fantasized in my mind wud be the aura of a loyola senior...the beginnings of a brotherhood for me at usc were made that day by him...many other mallus who wud make my life here in LA so enjoyable walked in to to his apt then...there was Philip who graduated the year before and wuz working, Arun who graduated that year and wuz from TKM, Doney ,a 1987 batch loyolite who wuz a film major and Sanju whose wife and child were back in india but found succor from the seperation with his family in our company!!

That night was so spirited we ended up playing football at a nearby park. Ben and all the mallu men I met and wud keep meeting at USC had ensured that LA wud be my home away from home for the next many years...as they cooked for me, took me to the kerala theater, indian stores, ganamelas and LA's "glitzy" places. For them I wuz like the fresh blood who had to keep the ball they had set in motion...rolling and when I look back I think I succeeded in that. Soon Mathew from Kochi...my best bud at usc and a pal i am eternally grateful to for all his influences in my life...from his fruitless attempts to introduce me to the clubbing scene and the crucial ones like forcing me to keep focussing on my MS and the job at the USC Film School, Pappanabhan my Loyola classmate and Sujith from Kanjirapally were part of our circle and then the inevitable happened...the seniors Ben, Philip, Doney and Sujith got married...Philip's and Sujith's bachelors parties were so outrageous...we still talk abt it with bated breath...(I force upon myself much to everyones chagrin the DJ duty at all events...coz i believe i am the sole purveyor of all adipoli malayalam songs!!), Arun left for Dubai, Mathew moved away from USC, I left for San Diego...it seemed we were done. But our progeny were evolving slowly all this while. Rajay and Reji...my juniors at SCT, Puppy and Abru...both Loyolites from CET, Rohit,Abhijith and Adel from TKM, Sujith and Sunil from REC all came along and they led the second mallu wave at usc. This was a big surprise for me in the relocation back to LA...as I was looking forward all the while to re-establish ties with my old gang but ended up bonding with these juniors.

Soon I found myself slipping away to their apt after my sis went to sleep, unmindful of having to go work next morning, racked up the late hours chattering away or watching movies which they download by the dozens daily. There is erosion in our ranks again...Puppy left, Rajay and Abru leave in a week and last friday, they gave us their grand farewell treat, lots of goodies to eat and drink and another night of fun and frolic...It was an amazing time...the whole apartment complex came out to see us have fun...mallu ishtyle. But from past history I am now sure there will always be another Mallu coming in for everyone that leaves...whose jokes wud leave us peeing in our pants and will drink to the last drop and yet be game for another song-and-dance. It all makes me wonder... wht I am doing here so far away from home...wht I realize is it doesnt take much to become an american but it takes a lot to preserve the mallu and the desi in you...so long as I am single all I pray is good friends like them keep falling across all over me.

Thought I'd take this opportunity to push in my top 20 mallu party songs in no particular order...mind you I am the DJ and get bashed regularly if the songs dont make the grade...so these songs are farely competent!!!
1) Anthikadapurathu - Chamayam
2) Kuttanadan - Kazcha
3) Varuthantoppam - Akashathile Paravakal
4) Chingamasam - Meesa Madhavan
5) Sundari - Aye Auto
6) Kashturi - Vishnu Lokam
7) Nee Arinjo MeleMaanathe - Kandu Kandarinju
8) Raavin Poonthen - Naaduvazhikal
9) Shaanthamee Raatriyil - Johnny Walker
10) Vaaleduthal - Meesa Madhavan
11) Rakshasi - Nammal
12) Kabaddi Kabaddi - Nammal Thammil
13) Kadalinakkare - Chemmeen
14) Thakilu Pukilu - Ravanaprabhu
15) Pazhani Mala - Narasimham
16) Orayiram Kinaakalal - Ramji Rao Speaking
17) Onnam Ragam Padi - Thoovanathumbikal
18) Manthrikochamma Varunnunde - Godfather
19) Parumala Cheruvile - Sphadikam
20) Ambalakkara Thechikaavile - Black


Unknown said...

That's a miracle indeed! Well small world and all you know! And that's a plot for your future 'Trivandrum Blues' movie!

I can get the feeling! I got the same one when I found your blog on the net.

Unknown said...

Rather 'Loyola Blues'!

Matter of Choice said...

That was a real good one..when i moved to bangalore at the age of 21 (all of which was spent in mallu land) even i encountered the same "problem". suddenly i started to hear mallu songs, watch mallu movies, eat mallu food and long for mallu company (especially after drinks when i luv to speak our own language). Thankfully being in bangalore, i never lacked fellow mallus. However, occasionally my coconut-challenged dorm mates from north of vindhya's would get pissed but never dared to interrupt us!.
Yeah, most of the oldie and semi-oldie mallu songs are my fav "dance after drink" songs too. unfortunately i seem to be getting older. Dont even know most of the new songs :(

thankx for visiting my blog


silverine said...

I sooooooo identify with this post!! I have spent all my school holidays in Kerala. My parents made sure of that. And I am grateful to them for that. After I started working, the long holidays in Kerala came to a stop and that is when I too started feeling the pull of the mathrubhumi. In fact my first post at blogger.com was about this very topic.


At work I tune into old Malayalam songs.I make it a point to speak in Malayalam, (my parents insisted on speaking to us in Malayalam when we were kids.)And my Mom's insistence on making only Kerala food at home kept us thouroughbred Mallus even though we grew up in Bangalore. We are Gods Own Children I guess :)

Really nice post.Looking forward to more.

Jiby said...

neil, when u stumbled on my blog it wuz a godsend...i really found a reason to keep blogging...you left the first ever comments on my blog and from yours i entered the wonderful fraternity of mallu bloggers...i never wanted to quit this habit since...talk of a junior showing the way to a senior!haha. i will look forward to meeting you in december.

anish, i am so glad that there are people who are like me...i keep wondering whether i am an odd one out...asianet is here now and i get to see the new songs once in a while. neways the old songs are the best...the new songs have great beats but no soul in them.have you heard this old b&w song "Naalikerathinte Naatil"...if u havent i am sure ur gonna get flooded with nostalgia...its available on malayalavedhi.com and musicindiaonline.com.

anjali, read your post now...it wuz an awesome one to kickstart ur blog...and neil's comments to it...i think we bloggers are in the forefront of the best mallu collaboration till date on the internet. i certainly get the feeling we are all afflicted by acute "keralitis"! cheers to the homeland and our delayed eruption of the mallu spirit.

Praveen said...

Firstly count me in too as I feel very much a part of the growing mallu fraternity. Like Silverine, I too grew up in Bangalore, but I have never felt alien to the mallu lifestyle. I make it a point to visit mallu land at least once a year, my parents were very adamant and taught me to read malayalam too. So I feel as much a mallu as a person who grew up in Kerala and really revel in mallu company.

Great 20 party songs picked, particularly the first one, an all time favourite of mine :)

Great post, by the way!

silverine said...

"Naalikerathinte Naatil" is a song I heard my Dad sing very often. And yes! he still has his "nazhi idangazhi mannu' in his 'nattu'!!

Unknown said...

Aw! It was nothin' Jiby Chetta. The mallu Loyolite bonds just can't keep from working, no matter the distance!

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