When Malayalis Meet: The Not-So-Subtle Conversations!

If this looks like the tagline to a matrimonial company, sorry to burst your bubble. It is better than that. This is an introspection into a parallel universe that Malayalis create when they meet.

People who prefer to plug in their headsets when they travel may find these to be astonishing. Yes, people do exist who are not nosey-parkers and have their eyes glued onto your mobile screens. Some people love to strike up a conversation – talk about anything and everything around them. The kind of conversations that make us warm and comfy instead of making us go “Where’s my damn earphone? aahhhh!”.

If there is one thing that Malayalis don’t lack, it has to be ‘aashayadaaridryam’. We always have something or the other to talk about. The conversations that start with “naatil evdeya?” and end up in Donald Trump and his governance! Exploring a few of the conversations that occur when Malayalis meet.


Chaayem oru plate politics um poratte!

Have you had instances where you shared leaflets out of the newspaper you were reading with your fellow travellers? If not, you would have at least noticed how this single gesture by a fellow traveller kickstarted a conversation that lasted kilometres and kilometres!

Politics has been the gab of town since times immemorial. Some of them are so wholesome to listen to (eavesdrop hehe!) that we end up gaining fresher perspectives. It doesn’t even have to be during travel. Bus stops, shop verandahs and ‘chaayakadakal’ have seen a lot of these discussions through the years. Aah! Pre-corona times!

Education, occupation, munchification

No endorsement of Nestle here especially after what they have confessed to (sed indeed). Conversations with random strangers usually reach a point where you discuss your present status.

“Entha ipo cheyenne?” is one of the most dreaded questions nowadays right? Ugh! the pain of answering people and also having to convince them.

Life was easier and the questions more approachable when life was not stuck and cooped up inside four walls as it is now, right? It was exciting to let people know when you were doing a course that was different from conventional courses. It was nice to talk about what you are doing and know what they were doing in life too.

When Malayalis Meet, Food Talks Are A Must

How much do you miss train travels? Missing them enough to relish snacks that fellow passengers bring? (Although you shouldn’t eat snacks that strangers offer you!)

Also Read: 8 Things Every Foodie Will Relate To

Some bring a packet of biscuits. Others, a few bananas. Not to forget the exceptional family that brings a five-course meal in five casseroles! Conversations about different delicacies across districts are a welcome topic to all Malayalis. There have been these funny conversations or debates over something as trivial as bonda. In some parts of Kerala, bonda is a potato masala-filled snack whereas it is a sweet serving in other parts. And then there is the discussion about which biriyani is best.


Naadum naattaarum

“Ni ente indialott vaada!” is the silent motto of Malayalis when they begin talking about their hometown. Their naadu and their people. No matter how much we bitch about it in our close circle, we make it a point to safeguard our place in all these random conversations.

Also Read: Sensory Pleasures In A Malayali Household

We end up learning about the different initiatives in places and how their kudumbasree unit managed to raise funds. How the sports club is a booming place for youngsters and heap load of praise for the waste management system. These conversations could go on and on.

Evolution of the Malayali race

This might seem to be an over-the-moon intellectual topic for a casual conversation. But recall the number of times you have had to use or listen to a sentence that went like “pand ingne onnum aarnilla”. There. It is as simple as that.

If you get opportunities to converse with older people, most of your ways are alien to them and vice-versa. Most of these conversations might turn out to be a little mind-numbing. Nonetheless, there are a few which were interesting enough to further share around, there is no denying that.


Conversations and conversing come naturally to Malayalis. 14 districts and 13 dialects of the same language have done little to smudge this forte. In fact, when two Malayalis from two extreme zones of Kerala meet, the dialect itself becomes a topic for conversation. Trying to figure out what the other person is trying to say eats up the first half of the conversation. We all know many jokes and puns that have stemmed from this single characteristic of the language.

What were some of the topics you discussed with random Malayalis during your trips or otherwise?

Aashna Praveen
Mostly seen pondering about things around me. Every person I meet, every object I see is a study specimen that I save in my mind log for later. I might end up making you famous, so think twice before you appear before me. *Insert tongue sticking out emoji*


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