Last weekend kids and I went to Towoomba for the festival of flowers. I knew the Jacobite church had organized a trip to the festival along the same time I was there.
I spend a lot of time and energy trying to make sure that I was nowhere near the mallu crowd.


When I was growing up the few names I was called were “flirt, chatta kkari (? derogatory name for anglo indian), fast, ahankari ( arrogant)..
I didn’t do anything major to be called all those names. My crimes were rather simple..
I didn’t fit in to the traditional mallu girl mould and therefor I was different and needed a name.

Salwar Khameez arrived in Kerala when I was in the 8th std. Mine was stitched in a little shop in Kanjikuzhy. I remember taking the fabric ( we had plenty at home..Most of my family lived outside India and always bought fabric as a gift whenever they visited us) and walking to the tailoring shop. I knew what I wanted  and I explained to the lady tailor. ( digressing a bit..I never went to a male tailor in Kerala..I hated the way they tried to feel me up on the pretext of getting the exact measurement). The tailor nodded her head as though she understood exactly what I wanted, She even drew a diagram on a piece of paper and clipped it to the fabric.
I waited eagerly for the day my salwar was supposed to be ready ( following the standard protocol by adding 2 weeks to the supposed delivery date and visiting every other day and asking for it).
I remember holding the newly stitched salwar in my hand. I couldn’t try it at the shop, so I practically ran all the way back home.
I tried my salwar on..
What I asked for was open neck front and back..
What I got was a chatta..albeit a bit long.
Even the tailor took it up on her to make sure that I was dressed according to the mallu customs and traditions..
I never understood why I must follow a set guidelines to be considered ‘normal’
I was never normal.. and the taunts, the name calling never ceased..and the most surprising thing was, it was the (mallu)women who always cast the biggest rocks..

And so in Towoomba.. all the mallu women would have been wearing proper decent salwars or pants with long sleeved blouses and perhaps the few courageous ones would have worn jeans ( I doubt it though, for wearing a jeans in front of the pathiri (priest)will not be looked up on favourably)
Kids and I had gone for surfing that morning and I was wearing my ( itsy bitsy tiny weeny )shorts and a singlet..
To an Aussie.. I probably looked normal..
To an Indian.. entey ammo..

ps: As I finished typing this post, I asked myself, Do I really care what anyone thinks of me? Certainly not..then why did I hide from the mallu crowd? I haven’t got a clue..

4 thoughts on “Flirt

  1. ohhhh i know what u mean.. i grew up in bombay so i am noooooo way normal 🙂 i live in sydney now n on sunday i had a wedding cake to deliver and i wore short shorts n a flowy top….husband decides to go to udaya which is like the indian woolies…for a second i felt i was back in some village…all these womnen n men starin…i almost killed my husband..but he told me..”its ur body..ur life…u wear what you like…and me being your partner dont care what others think or say…so chill out n lets shop”

  2. Showing up in anything other than what is deemed modest before a Malayali crowd will without a question, set tongues wagging. No matter how much we tell ourselves that “words will never hurt me”, it usually does. So you did the wise thing. I know I am not brave enough to walk in shorts (even normal shorts, forget skimpy) before a gaggle of Malayali ladies with a pious achan in tow.

  3. Peejay: I had this picture in my in my shorts..and this woman nudging her husband and telling him “nokku nokku, chatta kkari ayirikkum alley? Allenkil pavam, thuni vanginkkan kashillayirikkum”
    The other image is a group of middle aged pot bellied mallu guys ogling at my bare skin..

    Rosie and Anitha : Yet Mallu women only learned to cover their chests in the last 100 years!

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