A Kalipathi’s Love Letter to a Kalippan

For all those who are completely ticked off seeing the mookkathu shundi ulla Kalippan and his overly tolerant and forbearing Kanthari videos doing their rounds on social media, I feel ya! It bothers me to learn that not only do such relationships exist but also that they are being glorified.

For all the kantharis who are reading this, and can’t help but wonder if you’ve been a victim of a toxic relationship; if the kalippan I’m talking about is the man of your life, I’d urge you to ponder over this for a while. On that note, I’m going to step into your shoes and write a letter to your kalippan. He may never read this, because you may never send this. But that’s not even the point here.


Dear Kalippan,

I know you hate being called that. So what if you have a thaadi and ride a bullet? That’s exactly how travel junkies and bikers are supposed to be! And so what if you decide to wear a black shirt and vella mundu for Onam celebrations (even Nivin Pauly wore that, didn’t he?)? And maybe the whole constipated and perpetually irritated look you sport does have something to do with the poor and non-fibrous diet that you indulge in. And all these may have much less to do with your self-grooming towards appearing as a macho kalippan borderline abusive man. Maybe, you don’t even intend to look like that. You just pull it off offhandedly. Possible, huh?!

Remember the time we were discussing poetry and you showed me the verse that you really loved? I still remember the way you described how you adore this concept. You couldn’t digest the fact that I had a diametrically opposite opinion about the same. I had taken a screenshot of it on my phone that day.

Honestly, I seem to have an issue with this verse.

They say love has no culture, religion, language, or race. Then why does love have a gender?
So, feminine love is all about keeping a man’s happiness as its focal point, no matter how shitty you feel, while masculine love is venting out a whole load of the emotional dump on your partner regardless of how shitty it makes them feel. Oh, wait! Do I smell toxicity here?

Having such opinions is fine but manipulating the other person to have the same view and behave in a certain way is not cool at all. Sometimes I can’t believe your obsession over plant-based diets led me to abandon my everlasting love for chicken, mutton, and the likes.  I mean, sure working towards reducing carbon footprint and all that is impressive, but surely having a five-point note stuck to my fridge door that tells me how to cook organic stir-fry is definitely not!

But it wan’t these that showed me the control freak within you. It was the day you acted crazy because I got a little late to respond to your calls. Also the time you were super upset over the fact that I wore a sleeveless dress to a party.

Since then, I noticed how you kinda started dictating what clothes I should wear to what party. You always wanted me to wear a particular shade of brown. And in case I spoke up about how controlling you were, you had your next trump card ready. The guilt trip inducer card!

Silent treatments, avoiding confrontation, and sly remarks about how insensitive I am and how I value materialistic things over our relationship. And then, of course, top everything up with a tiny whit of gaslighting. This is when I end up asking myself umpteen number of times,
“Am I really that insensitive?”

Being a skilled manipulator, you convinced me, in a jiffy, that I really am insensitive and had me cave in to take up the blame and brought myself to my knees. I’ve seen how you’ve tactically stripped me of my confidence multiple times, brushed off my views as “silly” so that I will stand no chance in winning an argument with you. You hated me rolling my eyes at you, challenging you or asking you too many questions about your whereabouts. Of course, that didn’t apply to me. Because, I had to give you timely updates about where I was, what I was doing or why I chose to chill at my friend’s place after work instead of chilling with you.

Never told you why, but I will tell you now.

It’s because I wanted to have a private space where I could converse without having to be careful and measured about offending the person I’m talking to. And also because I wanted to have a one-on-one with my friend which I can never have in your presence. Not even over the phone, because you come and sit right next to me to eavesdrop. And then you wonder why my conversations with them don’t last for more than two minutes.

Let’s not even start talking about the time you made me feel I was incapable of taking care of myself because I “forgot” to wear a dupatta with my salwar. It was not that I “forgot” to wear it, but just that I wanted to dress comfortably. It’s far from my comprehension of how the dupatta is entitled to perform significant duties such as taking “care” of me. And please stop portraying me as vulnerable, as though you’re the only person who can keep me safe. Stop making a big deal of your achievements and let’s also celebrate my victories, big or small. Stop calling me selfish in case I want to chase my dreams or indulge in some “me time”.

On a different note, I’m thankful to you for a lot of things and lessons you taught me. If it wasn’t for you, I probably would not have understood what it really means to love myself; that I can be the source of my own happiness. And most importantly, how things change magically when you suddenly realise you’ve been in a toxic relationship and that you finally summon the guts to break free from it.

Kalipathi (ex kanthari)


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