“Aaraam class. Sixth grade. Ninte jeevithathile ettavum velya moment!”, said K.T Mirash from Salt n Pepper. We have pretty much heard the same since the time we learned how to string the alphabets together. We were also warned of the repercussions if we didn’t take our studies seriously. “Getting straight A’s in arts and music is useless. What were you even thinking kutta?”, “Science nu English ne kkaal mark koravaanello!” were the symphonies that played in most of our households. And all these would almost always end in “Ingane poya mikkavaarum ni valla…” Ha! I know you completed that sentence in your head. Let’s revisit some of the ‘supposedly’ not-so-great professions that our parents thought we’d end up with if we didn’t focus enough on Math and Science.
Thengu Kayatta Kaaran
The only other way to ‘reach heights in life’ if you didn’t focus enough on your majors was thengu kayattam. This was used so frequently in schools and homes alike, that we were secretly hoping to see the report card of our ‘thengukayattakkaran chettan’ to see if he got better grades than we did! Jokes apart, this gentleman would brighten our souls on hot summer days. The very thought of getting freshly plucked ‘karikku’ was enough to keep us on our toes for the rest of the day!
The only image of a clerk we had in our minds, as kids, was of a man serving tea and hot ‘uzhunnuvada’ in Government offices at 11 AM. And the people on the other side devouring these were the ones who had the A-pluses stacked in their report cards like the files you see on their tables now. Little did we know that getting a ‘clerical post’ involved cracking competitive exams where you had to solve ten questions in the blink of an eye! The amount of respect we have for their profession now is immense because we know friends, who are aspiring to get a government job, breaking their heads over textbooks fatter than your ego every single day.
“Naale thott Diwakarettante koode raavla vala veeshan pokko”, because apparently, that would be more rewarding than the pathetic report card you dragged home the previous evening! From childhood to adulthood, the one thing that has never lost its zing is our ‘kaathirippu’ for our regular fishmonger. The rest of the morning would then happily go in contemplating about “curry vekkano atho varakkano?” Food has always been the biggest mood lifter. And there are no conflicts on this one; guess it can be mutually agreed that our ‘meenkaaran’ plays a big role in our life. Sorry vegetarians, but this had to be said!
These people deserve the most adoration for the simple reason that they are already living our ‘retirement plan’ life. Most of our retirement plans are painted images of a small farm like Old McDonald’s beside a small house, where we live the rest of our lives in happiness and peace. This is exactly what these people already do! But that’s not to say that they laze around all day. They wake up early, talk to their animals, and work hard. And let’s be honest, they give us happy vibes.
‘Chayakada’ is the face of Kerala. The place where most revolutionary ideas stemmed up in the past. A place that has stood and seen the changing of times. Nothing can beat the morning newspaper read in a tea stall with a steaming glass of ‘chaaya’ and freshly steamed ‘puttu’. Nothing can be better than the four o’clock ‘ennakadikal’ waiting inside the ‘chillukoodu’ to get eaten. Bonda, parippuvada, Ratheesh (*chuckle chuckle*) aaha! Imagine if all the ‘chaayakadakkaar’ became engineers or IT professionals. What a sad state would ours be!
‘Naale thott oru kaikkott edth erangikko. Atha nallath!’
Sure. Because why not? Seen their bodies? You can never get to their level of fitness whichever goddamn gym you go to. These ‘manninte makkal’ are living embodiments of hard work and grit. And these people are not just people who toil all day. They can teach you life lessons because they value every grain of food they take and won’t take money from you unless they have worked for it. A stark contrast to the services in some government offices where the amount of work done is directly proportional to the ‘kaikkooli’ you give.
If your mom is a home-maker, you would have come across this remark “Nannaay padichillel ammaye pole adukkala pani edth irikkndi verum.” Thinking about it now, it fails to show us how the remark could be a motivation to study better. In our late twenties and thirties, all we have heard of is how people can never match up to their mom. Be it cooking or babysitting or something as trivial as sewing the buttons back on our shirts. No institution can ever teach you to be somebody like your mom. How can someone ace all the skills, be it home-making, organizing, re-orienting, and much more, and all they ask for in return is the TV remote in the evening. So at the end of the day, if your years of education and painful learning have not taken you one step closer to your mother, you must probably start questioning yourself!
We bet there are many more ‘unclassy professions’ that you would have heard of. Though these references are used in a very lax manner with no intention of hurting anyone, did we as kids understand it that way? We feared that we would end up like them. Did we ever think of what our lives would be if these people never existed? Our daily chores would have gotten disrupted. We would have had a whole new array of tasks added to the ones we do now. So, let’s take this moment to realise that every profession is noble and that every person has their purpose. Let us teach our kids to see everyone with dignity and not to snort at people who are nobler than we will ever be. After all, a happy and fair world begins with you and me!