Sunday, August 05, 2007

Whats in a name? Nothing!

Time and again I have my non Keralite friends telling me how difficult it is to pronounce the surnames of Malayaleei colleagues and friends. I understand their dilemma. A Thomas Mathew is easy to pronounce, but if he chooses to take his veetu peru (house name or family name) as is the tradition and call himself Thomas Mathew Vandanakkare, then I simply cannot blame my non Malayalee friends for their consternation and call them Xenophobic which would be easier anyways.

I mean the last person who tried to pronounce a Keralite house name had to be rushed to the Emergency Room to untangle his tongue from the 24 neat knots it had twisted itself into.

Now I like to think that I am a fair and equable person who can understand the phonetic difficulties of our non south Indian brethren. So here I have compiled some Malayalee “house/family names” to illustrate to you that our ‘house and family names” are nothing to be feared of. After reading this post I promise, you will be able to remember the family names of all your Malayalee colleagues/friends without difficulty.

1. Renji Pallivadikkal - Renji Church Door

2. Sunu Vaddakekara - Sunu Northern Side

3. Sunil Kunnath - Sunil on the hill

4. Mary Neerampuzha - Mary Redant river

5. Chacko Katticaren - Chacko Soldier

6. Joby Thekkeparambil - Joby Southern Fields

7. Paul Kinnatukara- Paul Well wall

8. Blessy Vattaparambil - Blessy round estate

9. Lily Madapally ‎- Lily Covent Chapel

10. Jacob Alapattu‎ - Jacob Blacksmith Song

11. Blesson Alilakuzhi‎ - Blesson Peepal Leaf hole

12. Noble Padinjarekootu‎ - Noble Western Group

13. Jiji Panjikaran‎ - Jiji Cotton man

14. Jomon Puthanpurayil - Jomon In the new house

15. Shijo Thudianplakkal‎ - Shijo Jackfruit Tree

16. Varkey Vettukuttil‎ - Varkey Cut Forest

17. Girly Vadakumpadam- Girly Northern Paddy field

18. Baby Kallarakkal – Baby In the stone tomb

19. Susan Medhipara - Susan Threshing the rock

20. Jeejo Nedunkallel - Jeejo In the long stone

See zo zimble no?!


Please note this was just the tip of the iceberg. But fear not, all of them are as zimble as the ones I have shown above.

Additions to the above welcome in the comments section with or without translations.


Nikhil Narayanan said...

what I had to say on this is here

Anonymous said...

while you're at it could you please also expand kadakampallil, vellambalayam, vazhuthacaud and sasthamangalam???

Venkatesh A.R. said...

that was a gud thought put to words..
addons from my side -
Vinu Parakkatil - Vinu Rock Forest
Anto Kollaparambil - Anto Backyard Fields
Roshan Maniampadavathu - Roshan ??? (i don't know!!)
PS: first names have been changed to ensure safety n security ;-P lol..

Arun said...


Amey said...

Given what you did to the poor HR, I am pretty loathe to take this at the face value without a second opinion. ;)

And even after n opinions, I wouldn't call anybody "Baby in the tomb" or anything... "Baby" is good enough for me.

Alexis said...

Hilarious as usual. But the same thing could be said regarding all most names. But I liked the translations.

Sujay said...

a similar post on surnames here ..

mathew said...

Blessy Vattaparambil - Blessy round estate

Lol!!i thought this is the best was worth the double dhamka posts today..

Btw Jiby.. seems like Kattakayam would be hep soon!! ;-P

I remember if someone from marapallam would prefer to be called 'thomas woodbridge' than 'thomas marapallam'..

Chacko vettukuzhi..Chacko dig hole
Baby Muthoot..Baby Full rip-off (Wow..I never thought they really meant it until i commented for this!! ;-P)

Nasia said...


silverine said...

Nikhil: Nice post!

spidey: wow they sound quite a mouthful :p

venkatesh: LOL!!!

Arun: Thank you :)

fleiger: You don't believe me? *sob* :(

Alexis: Yes, all the names have some simple meaning :)

sujay: I will look it up.

mathew: "Baby Muthoot..Baby Full rip-off
ROFL that was too good!!!

nasia: :p

Nanditha Prabhu said...

that was a good one...
my husband's name is the passport is always stared at with amusement!...when he abbreviations of family name n father's name get added.....this is it..
Swargathmadam Sreedhara Prabhu Prasanth Prabhu!!!

though he is just prasanth he is addresse here as Mr swargathmaam.......

DuDo said...

hey a cool set of funny name trans... out there...

gr8 Cheers!!!

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

I actually have a guy on my team whose name is Robin baby.
Now that we work in remote extended teams, I have a lot of americans referring to him as her, and to add insult to injury, he dials into a call, and the whole room goes - "Hey, baby!"

pophabhi said...

Sometimes Nambooris have names like Kukuzhiyeppram, Thekeliyethadaupram etc. Read in one of the Namboori jokes where couple of the above guys say "In South, they named a namboori Rameshan. Hay hay....what absurd names they use these days, Kukuzhiyepram" :)

Nice one. Kunjunni maash wud've laughes on this!

pophabhi said...

Sometimes Nambooris have names like Kukuzhiyeppram, Thekeliyethadaupram etc. Read in one of the Namboori jokes where couple of the above guys say "In South, they named a namboori Rameshan. Hay hay....what absurd names they use these days, Kukuzhiyepram" :)

Nice one. Kunjunni maash wud've laughed on this!

Abhi said...

That was THE best post abt the mallu world that i've come across in ages. Good research there! Wonder what's YOUR surname :D

Anonymous said...

nice list... but not of any use to me... i need house "zimble" name for chittilapulli

would appreciate your efforts in trying to decode the above

Wanderlust said...

Madapally ‎means Chapel ????...Silverine, you are on the verge of committing blasphemy....By the way what is the remedy for squinted eyes which I have got after trying to read all those zimble zames ??

Lalit Singh said...

What does Mannaraprayil mean?
Pray enlighten us, O wise one!!!

cafm said...


Vinod/Kakka said...

Some of my Nair friends, who used both parents name as initials, with the mothers name last, are now called as Mr. Saraswathy, Mr Ponnamma etc.

Anonymous said...

I am 'Isaac on the rocks'. Howzzat!! :-)

Roshan Isaac

Di said...

u know wat! Each time i pronounce one such long name properly, in a single breath, im just so immensely proud of myself! :D

ap said...

Hey ..
Even people in other countries have similar name.
like - Jack Blacksmith
John Fishborn
Thomas Estate etc etc....
so we are not alone..

abhishek said...

Hahaha! You are too much, Silverine. Your well of humour runs deep.

Amey said...

Oh well, how can I when I can still see the fate of that HR in my "Reader"?

Alameen said...

Good one..

Anonymous said...

wow, i guess that makes me sheetal little-field-in-the-east. never decoded it before :)

Jiby said...

lol...too good...i see mathew wants to drag me into this...i'll oblige!!!

everyone's best guess is our family name came from a well then ancestors dug at the site of the first tharavadu and even after hitting water the kaaranavanmaar wanted to dig further to see if they would strike gold but hit solid rock!

a funner version circulating among us cousins is that the first ancestor fell into a deep well but achieved the perfect dive and hit solid rock at the bottom, lived to tell the tale, and left us with a family name that has always aroused amusement and wonder!

PK said...

Also translation needed for...Kuruvilla

Anonymous said...

the mallu veetu peru does make for a good topic to blog on... err wait... i think i already said that before! Anwyay mine goes something like "Where the single jacfruit tree stands" rather cool eh :D

Unknown said...

Alilakuzhi‎ ... Panjikaran, ... Kunnath

Joining you in the phewing ...:D

Again, I haven't this one ... Panjikaran =))


Jiby said...

ok...i talked to my dad and got his permission for a name change...i am Jiby Hardwell from today...aint it cool!!!

neermathalam said...

madhu ambatt - ????
raman thuppale -raman don't spit
krishnan parakkat- krishnan measuring vessel forest
devan kulapully - devan pond's spot
shalini kalady- shalini foot

my coll no where near yours...

btb i am on the hill....
wats urs..???

Anonymous said...

joji pulimootil - jojo below the tamarind

Renju rathapilli - no idea of translation

Anonymous said...

The post was a have just considered the Christian population here . Now add to it a whole host of Hindu veettu peru and then the fun really start..Here are a fwe for starters which I couldn't translate - Kotiyath, Ambalavattam & Cheruvari

silverine said...

Nandita: :))

guru: Thanks :)

toothless wonder: lol!!

pophabhi: LOL!!! That was a good one!

abhi: Thank you :)

iyer education: I am afraid I cant do that as my decoder is threatening to sue me after seeing my post :p

wanderlust: err... the only cure is that you don't read such names again :p

lalit: The wise one or her "sources" haven't heard of this name :p Maybe you should check the spelling.

annie: hehe your house name has so many connotations :p

Cool alien: :)

vinod: LOL!!!

anon: I believe you buddy! :)

Di: Same here!!

AP: You are right! We are not alone :)

Abhishek: Thank you :)

fleiger: lol!! I am beginning to suspect that you are an HR!! *horrors*

alameen: Thank you :)

Anon: I am trying to decipher that name :)

Jiby: There is a similar story of treasure hunt in my family to :)

PK: Seed Villa!! lol!!!

sreejith: It is so difficult to translate these names from English to Malayalam!! :)

akhil: :)

Jiby: ROFL!!! Sounds real cool!!!

neermathalam: Thanks for the contributions!! :)

Anon: ahem the pulimootils are related to me :p

Archie: Thanks for the additions :) I think "Ambalavattam" would mean going around the temple.

PK said...

Thanks 4 the

Have copied a hilarious grooms profile that I came across during my sister's groom search onto my blog...

Can you please elucidate a profile description(obviously being hilarious is guaranteed by u) for a mallu???

Parul said...


-comes from a rajasthani in kerala.

Geets said...

Hey that was a cool post. Btw, I am Geeta Forest Church...LOL

Rajeev S said...

I have seen many struggling to pronounce second names of keraliites... but it's not just in kerala, but each locality /community has its own contributions to the science of names... i have many such experiences...

good post..

monu said...

LOL.. this is something which applies to me.... and its not easy to explain the meaning and reason of my family name... and i think only mallus pronounce my family name corectly.

Amey said...

How dare you? If you weren't a lady, I would challenge you to a duel.

silverine said...

pk: That profile was a real gem :)

parul: Thanks gal. Hope you are enjoying your stay :)

Geeta Forest Church: LOL!!!

myvision: The mallu house names are rather difficult to pronounce compared to others :)

monu: You are right :)

fleiger: ooops...I apologize for the inadvertent insult!! :(

Anonymous said...

I keep seeing your blogs published in Bangalore Mirror. This particular one was published last week. Another one was published today too and I thought I'd drop in to say I really enjoy your posts.

Keep writing and keep us mallus laughing :-)

Anonymous said...

u jus got lucky!!.. bangalore irror huh!

silverine said...

nisho: Thank you very much for dropping by :)

Anon: Yeah I know.