“Malayalikal illaatha naadilla!’“ has a nephew –“Malayalikalkk cheyyaan pattaatha kaaryangal illa!” Let us gloat over this for a minute and when you get back, we’ll tell you why we fed this into your mind today. Corona has been that uninvited guest who overstays your welcome and dares to finish all the ‘unniyappams’ served; which you were silently hoping to devour after they left! This historic period has had us tiding over various highs and lows. But we found solace in the little things. What were some ‘chillara nettangal’ of 2020?
Dalgona coffee thott plavila bajji vare!
The only thing we remember about 2020 is the Government announcing a nation-wide lockdown. The rest of the year is a blur. But what it did was wake up the sleeping ‘Ratheesh’ inside all of us; the one who was a gifted chef! Home kitchens that usually smelt of chukku kaapi and pazhampori found themselves wiping happy tears owing to the Dalgona coffee and bucket chicken tharangam! Many of us became home bakers and porotta ‘adi’ experts. We also found a new nominee to ‘Kalpavriksham 2.0’ – our very own plaav when we invented ‘plavila bajji’!
An end to the guest ‘kuthozhukk’
Weddings and housewarmings have not been the same with just 50-100 guests. Preparing the guests list was as exhausting as watching an elimination episode of our favourite reality show. While tension brewed up and cold wars started rearing its ugly head because certain people didn’t get enough votes to remain on the show, we realised that people can get married without all the extra fanfare. There was a drastic reduction in food waste and the overall ‘chelav’ didn’t leave a hole in our family’s pockets.
Workplace, college, school was ‘swargam’!
The initial happiness that started with hostellers returning home with two sets of clothes and a notebook didn’t last long. People working from home found themselves in a condition worse off than their grandparents at home. “Kannum poy, naduvum odinju, thalayum peruthu!” was the ‘pallavi’ we all sang in unison (or rather we are still singing). However annoying our classmates and colleagues were, we started missing ‘real’ faces and people, and we would trade anything to get back to where we were before this mini-apocalypse!
The realisation that most of our hospital visits were unwanted
We all have a bunch of relatives or friends who get all hyper tensed when our health goes a little haywire. And thanks to Google some people end up rushing to hospitals because their headache was a sign that they were one step closer to their grave. And there is also this flock who can’t wait for a newborn baby to get home, and end up camping at the hospital. Think about the number of times you went to the hospital this year. We bet you didn’t go unless you had to.
All about ‘kayy kazhukal’
No matter what we didn’t do this year, what we did throughout the year was to wash our hands. Gone are the days where rubbing our palms on the mundu or wringing our fingers in amma’s saree was an act of cleaning hands! Sanitisers which used to accompany only some of us during public transport rides were no longer just an ‘OCD kkaarde’ possession. Also, the fact that sanitisers come in all sorts of kickass fragrances crept into our conversations.
We can live just off home-cooked food
This realisation hit hard when we remembered that we haven’t eaten off fancy plates and fancy cups, in a dimly lighted hotel ambience, since forever! And we don’t even miss it that much! We brought back all those old recipes that we used to love as children. We relished on mom’s ‘thattikoott’ evening snacks that had our backs when we came home after school, hungry as a bear! We even started cooking our versions of restaurant foods and hey didn’t we do a great job at that!
Our moms work harder than any cribbing corporate ‘thozhilali’
Sure white-collared jobs aren’t as fancy as they look. They involve a lot of slogging and sweating, and not to forget the endless cascade of complaints and corrections. The paycheck at the end of the month and a few occasional holidays help us get through. But do you know who has been working without a paycheck and holidays? Odds are that she is still working as you read this, yes it’s your mom! With the kids always indoors, and practically everyone in the household staying indoors all the time, has been a herculean task for all moms out there! And have we made things easier for her? Ha! What a feeble yes!
That new fashion trend
Matching shoes and matching bags are no longer going to help you stay in vogue unless you have a matching mask on your face! Yes, masks have stolen the thunder of all our outfits. Brands and tailors make sure that they stitch this accessory off the material of the actual outfit you want to buy to entice you. We now talk about which website sells stylish masks and which masks don’t get fog on your spectacles!
Your hobby can fetch you a few extra bucks!
We all had moments this year where we said, “Eh ivan paadumaayirunno?” or “Oh ival artist aayrnno?” This period saw the rise of an enormous amount of talent, most of which didn’t go unappreciated. We all have people in our circle who realised their potential and decided to work on it. A ‘better late than never’ moment in life. Home cooks, sketch artists, musicians, and whatnot!
Times have been tough with Coronavirus around and the added struggle of getting cooped up inside wasn’t a great deal of fun either! But we found ways to keep ourselves moving every day. To wake up every day and find something that inspires us. After all, ‘Malayali daw!’
Hopefully, all of this will be over soon and we will find ourselves, if not back to where we were, at a place where we can shake hands without fear and hug without apprehension. And while we wait for the vaccine to come our way let us remember that this ‘coronayum, lockdown um pinne njanum’ phase too shall pass!