Ever played Chinese Whispers? Well, we Mallu’s play it all the time. With equally interesting results! Of course the ‘Mallu Whispers’ are strictly confined to the family and the whispered message is usually some scandal that a family member gets embroiled in, wittingly or unwittingly.
Take the case of TJ. A middle aged respectable gentleman. The poor man was on his way to Yeswanthpur market on his Kinetic Honda when he hit a middle aged vegetable vendor. She kicked up quite a fuss gathering a huge crowd. TJ had to part with a sizable amount of cash to stop her screeching obscenities to ten generations of our ancestors. A perfectly innocent incident but for the fact that it was observed by a relative from a distance. And it became a scandal.
Now a scandal is something a Mallu family like us, fears more than the plague, famine and pestilence.
‘The Scandal’ in my family comes in three categories:
Somebody (in the large extended family or lef) elopes with somebody
Somebody (lef) leaves priesthood / convent
Somebody (lef) leaves the faith
Somebody (lef) marries outside the faith
Somebody (lef) has an extra marital affair etc.
Somebody (lef) is disinherited
Somebody (lef) kills somebody
Somebody (lef) is a teetotaler
Somebody (lef) was caught in a scam etc.
Somebody’s (lef) fly was open at church, marriage or other public spaces
Somebody (lef) made eyes at the neighbor’s daughter / son / wife / husband
Somebody (lef) rooster mistook the neighbours duck to be a er...hen!!
Somebody (lef) voted for the communists….. and other trivial matters
TJ's case was also scandal material though of Class III category. It reached Kerala in two weeks time. This happens with most Class III scandals. Class I scandals travel via STD only and Class II via email or word of mouth through sudden visits to relative’s homes in the guise of looking them up. Class III scandals travels at leisure without much hurry to reach its destinations. I shall not describe the arterial roads and towns or aerial routes to keep the narrative short.
The TJ scandal took the NH 7 and NH 17 (most of the time) to reach Kerala. From Bangalore it went to Hosur ( a wedding) then to Dharmapuri ( the brides wedding reception) and then to Salem ( relatives to the brides reception went to visit relatives in Salem ). After a days rest it took off again to Coimbatore (an uncle’s death and another potential Class I and II Scandal as he had willed his chicken farm to his daughter because his son had married a Jacobite). I shall not describe the journey of this scandal, due to lack of time.
At Coimbatore the TJ scandal took a break as relatives stayed back to help / console / gossip with the bereaved family. From Coimbatore the scandal resumed its journey resting in between stops and finally it reached my home town and spread like wild fire. From thereon exhausted and tired and worn it went by email to Europe and the US and the English did embellish the facts a little bit (just a wee lil bit mind you!). And when news was delivered abroad, it went something like this.
• TJ was carrying a young and nubile vegetable vendor on his bike
• His bike skidded and he and the luscious vegetable vendor ended up in a heap on the road.
• As he and the curvaceous vegetable vendor picked themselves up from the road the villainous husband of the sexy vegetable vendor arrived on the scene.
• The enraged husband of the gorgeous vegetable vendor then thrashed TJ.
• TJ had to part with a lot of cash to assuage the wounded pride of the ravishing vegetable vendor’s husband.
·TJ still meets the hot vegetable vendor