… and not a Keralite.
I’ve been away from my homeland, for two years straight. Situations throw you into a mish-mash of people hailing from all over India, and I accept, it was weird and unsettling in the beginning. But you change overtime, slowly. And armed with the following superpowers vested in you, life out there is cakewalk.
- Listen and adapt - I don’t know how true this is, but a friend of mine said that Malayalam is the second most difficult language to learn, right under Mandarin. But it seems plausible, since it is an elaborately designed tongue. The uninitiated would find it hard to even tell the words apart as we speak! There are hardly any breaks between words - it just rolls and gurgles on to the end. Since it’s hard for others to learn our language, you are left with no option, but to learn theirs - which comes with ease, slowly but surely.
- Encrypted tongue - It works most of the time. You could shout and abuse each other in the metro, in the bus, or even in the middle of the road, and no one would have a clue. Somethings that you don’t get to do back home. But…. there is a catch.
- Wherever you go, they are there - It’s like an epidemic. You find them everywhere, even where you don’t expect them at all! Sometimes they just pretend to be an outsider, and overhear all your conversations. And they’d just leave with a oneliner in Malayalam at the end, making you look like a total ശശി .
- One for all, and all for one - Back in Kerala, you just get tired of seeing too many “blaady mallus.” But once you realise you are alone, even a complete stranger would seem like a long lost friend (if he’s some random connection with you, god help him). And you would end up conversing stuff that you normally wouldn’t … to a stranger, c’mon! You are that vulnerable.
At the end of day, you have your bunch of friends, who reassure you that the place you live in is a home away from home. That occasional taste of the native cuisine, is enough to drive your miseries away and keep you going.