You, me and a cuppa kappa chips

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
That’s right. Grab a handful of kappa chips and that coconut water. Have a pappaddum. Sit down. Lay back and relax. And let me tell you a story. Let me tell you why we’re celebrating this week.

Eons ago, even before the ‘once upon a time’ time, there was this dude called King Mahabali. Dude was a demon king, but a kind hearted and all round good guy, nevertheless. Now, the Gods really couldn’t stand that Mahabali kept winning the ‘Mr Popularity’ contests year after year ( Rumour has it that his answer in the question round back in the 2008 B.C. contest for the ‘What qualities do you look for in a woman’ had quite a few apsaras and even Mrs Indra in heaven fantasising about a one night stand with this dusky Keralite hunk. )
Anyway, Lord Vishnu, Protector of the Universe ( there was no Danger Mouse back then ) was called on again to don the greasepaint, this time around as a dwarf Brahmin ( the other Gods felt he was finally ready to enact a full time human role after his previous performances as fish, boar and tortoise had received rave reviews and even a Golden Globe nomination). So he landed in front of M-Balls and said he wanted 3 feet of land. But before M-balls could get his measuring tape, Vamana ( for that was his name in this dwarf role ) said he meant 3 of his feets length. ‘Sure’, chuckled Bali.

Never laugh at a dwarf Brahmin.
Vamana suddenly started inflating and enlarging and before M-balls could say ‘Holy chemeen curry’, Vamans placed one foot on heaven and the second on Earth. He then asked Bali where to take his third step.
“Yende talailla vechoda, naiyandamone !!!” (It loosely transalates to “Kindly place it on my head, oh son of man’s best friend.”, though I may have tampered with the emotions of the sentence.)
Vaman’s did as he was told and M-Balls was sent down to the nether lands ( that’s hell, by the way and should not be confused with Netherlands, where you get dope and blonde girls legally aka heaven !! )

Anyway, every year he resurfaces for 10 days and we do the boogie to celebrate how no matter how hard you try, you can’t keep a damn Mallu down .
I hope the puttu and kadala curry was to your liking. Shobha will bring in the fried Nongal (ladyfish) shortly. So where was I ?
Yes, of course. That, my friend, is why Onam is celebrated in Kerala with such pomp, fervour and joy. It is also, learning from his example, the reason why Mallus strictly follow the ‘Do not use your head in times of anger’ rule. Besides, why should we ? One upswing of our lungis is enough to have the world at our feet... begging for mercy.

Still, isn’t it funny how 2 (Remember the Parushu ) out of 9 Vishnu avatars feature us Mallus in prominent roles ? 2,did I say ? I meant 3, of course. Oh, didn’t you know ?

This one took place much later on. Sita was in Sri Lanka, Ram and his army were there too, on visit visas to get her back after the ‘rangoli powder circle will keep demon away' fiasco and the monkeys tummies really weren’t getting along with the seafood there. In between all this, Ram’s kid bro Lakshmanan got shot by a poisoned arrow. Guess what ? The antidote was waaay back in the Himalayas. Now, only the hunky monkey Hanuman had a moped and he’d sped on and got the required herbs.

Unfortunately, he took a wrong turn at the Bangalore highway and ended up in Calicut and bang in the middle of a political strike. The Ezhavaas were demanding the right to do the Macarena in public. Sadly, it was not granted by the Namboodiris who were in favour of what we Keralities proudly know today as ‘gumakuth’ ( Ask any Mallu to demonstrate. If he says he doesn’t know the gumakuth, lynch him till he tells the truth of his actual heritage.. does not apply to Mallu NRIs. )The Macarena would be patented centuries later by a bunch of Latinos.. another grave loss of Indian heritage. Anyway, Hanuman befriended and was conned by an Ayurvedic orthopedician into believing he’d brought the wrong herbs. He was sent back and told to bring the whole mountain. The ulterior motive would be clear only later... it was to get some good seasoning for the naaranga ( Lime ) pickle they were making.
By the time Hanu realised that doc had made a donkey out of a monkey, the herbs were, literally, in the pot and he was ,metaphorically, in a pickle. Still, being the forever good guy that he was, he picked up the right herbs again meticulously and left. The orthopedician’s daughter, Cochin Chandrakutty, out of gratitude for his hard work, gave him some pickle and chips for the journey. And while he finished the pickle on the way, there was still some chips left when he returned to the war site. And lo and behold !! Even as Lakshmanan woke up repulsed after eating the herbs, the monkeys were rejuvenated by these mystical yellow chips, which tasted so different from the French fries they were used to at Mc Ravans.

In time, they would find that these chips were made not from the traditional potato, but instead from a new fruit – the humble banana. Thus, it was, after war had ended and the monkeys returned, that they spread the word of this new tasty fruit and it’s effect on them. In honour of this little told tale, even today, pictures all over depict monkeys all over the world as being banana lovers.
You hadn’t heard of this story? That’s not surprising. It’s only passed on from generation to generation amongst a select few descendants.. both of monkey and man. And trust me, the tale gets more awesome with each glass of toddy and banana chips.

Hic!! Simbly aasome, I say.
Happy Onam, everyone. God bless ya.

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Let me know what you think.

  1. i am paying a ridiculous amount this year to have my sadya. around 550 indian rupees. but so what? its still coconut-laden awesomeness! i miss home especially during onam :(

  2. Rosh.. u ate all those??? Puttu, kadal kari, kappa curry, Fried fish....

    mummieeee.... i am gonna book tickets to home.. no ways..i cant resist this temptation....

    in btw... read this post at DV's blog in which the kid describes Ramayan/ diwali in a similar funny way... this is fun...

    Psst, don't say u had fish moilee too... & hey nice dp, better than the previous one...

  3. Nags, true. Onam in kerala is somethin else. I wish i were der too.
    Rat, sigh! The only thing real in the post is the mythology. Önam in this hospital wil be a typical tiffin meal, filled with stale dal and nauseatin potatoes.. I swear, i'd kill for a decent mallu meal. Though, i must say, parents suprised me this time by sendin banana chips and sharkaraperi from kerala to my hospital in Pune!

  4. hehehe..great way to depicit the folklore.. :)

    Happy Onam to u too...

    PS:Watched "A wednseday" great movie

  5. Surprise surprise.. i too got a parcel of not just banana chips but also Jack fruit chips today....

    i am gonna hog on them tonight... but thinking again, i start my fitness classes today.. sighs.. fate has a stronger hand...

  6. Wow!!
    What a thali!!
    Sibly super i say!!

    Did you manage to finish all that by your self saar?


  7. Ap, happy Önam to you too. Ya, i told you the movie was a nice change from the usual.

    The rat, you know fitness is very important. You must not neglect it for these kinda foods... So if you could just send them to my operation theatre complex.....

    K10, i'd have easily finished that and ordered seconds! Unfortunately, That's just an online pic. Real life is seldom so tasty!

  8. rosh... wen life temptes u it tempts u real hard... one my friends sent me Kappa chips(unfried).... i am gonna break my fitness regime i think

  9. hey happy onam to u.
    y don't u try ur hand at re-writing the epics. u can do a lot to make them interesting.
    already knew the story of raja bali but ur rendition of it made me stick to it.
    by the way the another story abt hanuman, is that correct?

  10. The rat.... Grumble grumble.
    Rahi, thanks. Sadly, mythology isn't always as funky.. Naa, hanuman never made the stop at kerala.. Not that i know of anyway!

  11. Wota lovely post, I say!

    Dhank you for sharing the sacred stooory.I had no idea about the kerala impact on the Ramayana monkeys.

    And, wota beautiful meaning for 'naiyandamone'. Aha, grt sir you are! * folds hands in respect to the genius*

    [ I am laughing so hard, almost forgot to wish you back. Happy Onam dear!]

  12. Hey Rosh,

    Happy Onam! Proud to see that defying Biology, your funny bone hasn't stopped growing :)
    I had a sadya-less Onam, but your post totally made up for it!


  13. Aishu, thanks. Happy Onam to you too.

    Hey Vijaya, glad to hear from you. happy Önam. And hey, i just tell 'facts' as i see them. Can't help it if my brain sees things from a different point of view :-)

  14. I'd no idea of the folklore,no idea why monkeys loved bananas and no idea you would share the/ur 'monkey secrets'("It’s only passed on from generation to generation amongst a select few descendants.. both of monkey and man..." it left me confused.. :P).I am enlightened!!

    great Post..loved all of it. :)

  15. onam still on?
    happy onam.. :)

  16. Lol..Great post..Happy Onam..Sadly don`t know much about Mallu traditions daughter had a project to do and we frantically searched the it during this festival that u have snake boat race and a huge procession too? A friend`s, friends neighbour taught her a sentence.. smthng like onam ashag..sorry cnt remember!

  17. i'd say u were seriously drunk wen u rote dis godamn funny post...n now i'm even more confused abt da story behind onam...

  18. Illeen, glad i could enlighten you. Of course, you'd be well advised not to reveal this version in front of trueblue fanatics.

    Myspace, Onam aashamsagal to you too!

    Reni, funnily enough, i was dead sober. There was mayb an hour's gap durin work in which d thought process began to when i put it on paper.

  19. thanks for the legend...with a twist of roshanesque,to add to the zing.

    had a similar lunch,minus a lot of goodies that i see on your plate.anyway will have to plan that for next yr.

    hope your onam was still happy after polishing off all

  20. Gazal, in spite of all that could have happened, Onam was fun Gazal.. had a typical Onam Sadhya.. only thing it was at 11 pm at night. Oh, well.. better late than never

  21. kewl dude!! for a minute i was wondering when did mr hanuman visit the 'Gods own country'!! btb, that photo looks tempting..

  22. ah swashbuckler.. ya of little belief.. now ye know the truth :)

  23. so eventually doc did have his sadhya ... kewl....

    shucks! stupid office work has further postponed my visit to aum chweet aum...

  24. Frankly, went to the restaurant that late for some good mallu non veg dishes.. By fate or whatever, turns out they decided to serve only sadya that day even at 11 in the night. Oh well! Though at 200 bucks a plate, THEY really did celebrate Önam in style, i'm guessing

  25. 200 bucks is nothing for a getting something we love Rosh... the only South Indian restro was closed here and is yet to open after Onam.. u were lucky..

    in btw u are tagged...

  26. Roshan... how do you even think such things ?

    “Yende talailla vechoda, naiyandamone !!!” (It loosely transalates to “Kindly place it on my head, oh son of man’s best friend.”, though I may have tampered with the emotions of the sentence.)

    --- I feel the real use for my efforts to learn malayalam, way back in college days has come today.. :)

    BTW I can see you have put up ur new pic... U look good man...

    I seriously thought you were a fully bald doc as your previous pic was almost like that... :P

  27. Rat, have finished your tag. Depends on when I can get time to post it online.

    Quakeboy, gimme time. I'm baldin slowly and steadily.

  28. hey rosh... post it soon... need to know the dark secrets of urs.. he he he..and u know u are free to visit my blog and comment there.. i dont have ne comment moderation :P (sheesh how much more can i fall down??)

    and quake boy is true.. Annamalai of Coffee n stories is a par excellent writer of mushy stories.. his other blog tickles ur funny bone lot many times...

  29. an award awaits u at my blog :)

  30. rat, one post comin up...
    and Nisha, thanx !!!! Me likes....

  31. a laugh riot....happy onam

  32. OMG...Thanks for this link Doctor! Its soooo good and now I have an inferiority complex!! My article feels like silsila after reading yours!!! Congrats! :D LOL

  33. OMG...Thanks for this link Doctor! Its soooo good and now I have an inferiority complex!! My article feels like silsila after reading yours!!! Congrats! :D LOL

  34. OMG OMG OMG! 'Ende thalel vechoda... .dash-mone' was just awsum! Mallu tru blood emotion there, loved it!!

  35. thanks Meena.. glad u enjoyed it :)

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