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Dedicated Follower Of Mallu Fashion

Dedicated Follower Of Mallu Fashion

October 15, 2011

Thorthe - the mallu version of a swiss army knife. Never leave home without it.

There are many things as a mallu I am especially proud of.

There's the language that no non mallu can ever get right. You worry and make fun about our accents when we speak your language? Try ours. Go on give it a shot. I would love to hear you say in mallu: I ate a banana while I walked in the rain.

You can’t. No one can without an accent. Unless you are a mallu.

Yet you laugh. It’s funny when you think about it.

Then there's our sadya. The all veg feast that follows a ritual in being consumed. We devised it so that we can weed out the non mallus. The ones we find trying to be like a mallu, we will patronize. It’s our version of making sure that you understand we understand you can never be a mallu in the nicest way possible. We appreciate your attempts but we are confident you will look like you are trying too hard.

You bet it may seem racist but it’s kinder. But you do look, in our eyes, ridiculous in mundu if you are not a mallu. Even if you have a six pack. The pot belly is mandatory. So we appreciate when Bollywood has Preeti Zinta pretending to be mallu and Shah Rukh Khan wearing a dothi and aping movements that are meant to be kalari. We really do. But fuck. We know you are not mallu.

You will never get it right.

That’s the trick. You see for all the mallus you stereotype, with our accents and our idiosyncratic mannerisms, there will still be many of them who will speak your language like a local and blend in so much that you will have a hard time trying to figure out where this fellow is from. But you can’t say the same.

You will always stand out.

We will catch you out come every monsoon.

We are truly the perfect race.

Problem is that we seem to know it. If you didn’t realize it earlier, we are always glad to remind you.

Then there’s our thorthe.


Yep. Thorthe.

No relation to the hammer wielding Greek god.

It’s the loosely spun cotton towel that you will find in every mallu household.

I do not think there’s an English word invented for it yet, so I will be the first. I name it Thorth.

Mallus will laugh at you if you ever call it that. I mean for us it’s not Krishna, its Krishnan. Not Bhim, but Bhiman. We like a strong ending on our words. Nothing left hanging around. All neatly tied and secured. Preferably with a Thorthe.

The thorthe is the essential part of mallu life. It comes close in its importance to us as coconuts. That’s saying a lot. It figures higher than toddy.

You ransack a mallu house and you will find a thorth. The gold you will invariably find will probably be wrapped in a thorthe.

It’s more than just a towel. It is used as an alternative to a shirt. In a jiffy it can turn itself into a head band, swimwear (leaving nothing to the imagination), a weapon if you put a stone inside and twist it around, a rope (again twisted), a fishing net (I kid thee not) and also as a screen to cover your head when coming out of questionable areas. Since mallu bodies are all similar, we just have to cover our head and hey presto! We disappear.

It’s almost magical.

Especially when Shakeela chechi uses it as her bathing attire. The sight of her coming out of the pool is like going to Thrishoor puram and watching the elephant coming into the courtyard with the idol upon it. Divine!

If you see a thorthe somewhere, there’s a 100% chance that a mallu is close by.

It’s a heartwarming feeling driving through Sand City knowing which flats in the buildings around you houses a fellow mallu just by looking at the laundry hanging from its balcony.

There it flutters, white like a signal of peace and hope, letting the ones who are initiated into its society know; herein lives a mallu, with the TV tuned to Asianet and his heart tuned to the rubber trees of his home land.

A fine species.


  • Abhi
    18.04.13 09:57 PM
    We can blend into any environment cant we? I kno mallus who speak fluent hindi, tamil, telugu, arabic etc...exactly lik a local...haven't met a non-mallu who can speak Malayalam. Mallu n proud !!!
    -nri from gulf
  • MrJovitaGeorge
    22.10.12 05:36 PM
    lol! i loved this post! I wana add though - i think malus are picked on so much cuz we, or a majority of us feel inferior to the others. "oru korachal". i dont understand y!

    forever malayalee - jovita :)
  • Vishnu
    27.10.11 02:52 PM
    But you cant deny Shreya Ghoshal singing malayalam so beautifully like a mallu or even better than mallus..
  • Anand Radhakrishnan
    Anand Radhakrishnan
    20.10.11 08:48 PM

    Very interesting article, being a mallu blogger myself i kind of connect with the story. A big hiiii to the NRI community. Anand
  • SSN
    20.10.11 08:24 PM
    adipoli post :)
  • Shaila
    20.10.11 06:39 PM
    eehhhh???? nngggaaaaa.... ;)
  • tys
    20.10.11 11:42 AM
    @shaila : someday someone shud do a dictionary of mallu non verbal communication..why dont u?...we can even illustrate it will pictures and how to instructions.

    theres also that hand movements,where both the hand is held out as if its holding two coconuts which denotes : why? what? again, i dont know etc...
  • Shaila
    19.10.11 11:57 AM
    The shrug has to me accompanied by the audio...'aaaaa'... of the sound that demotes a simple does one spell it in English? mchim???
  • tys
    19.10.11 10:42 AM
    @maitreeya: shukran habibti

    @joshi : well,the last time someone did that, i had a self appointed rabid mallu cultural protector at my heel...but it was fun, so freak out

    @du : Comeon , Bhim, Krishn etc sounds as if you lost interest mid way..mallus vary the ending depending on how we use it , eg:


    Sir :Bhiman?

    Student :Present saar

    Sir: Mone Bhima, nee evide vada ...

    see? how the endings changed...nothing is static in malayalam...its in a constant flux, like our migration
    19.10.11 06:30 AM
    funny! I once read somewhere "you dont just meet Mallus, they happen to you!"
  • du
    19.10.11 03:58 AM
    Some things a non-mallu will find hard to get grips with:
    -> Thorthu
    -> eating banana in rain :D
    -> Shakeela chechi??!!!
    Had a great laugh but I would have to say that Bhiman, Krishnan etc doesnt sound great... Bhim and Krishna sound way cooler!
  • joshimukard
    18.10.11 02:42 PM
    Absolutely Hillarious. I have forwarded this link to my fellow mallus in office. Thallae Kollam!!
  • maitreyeechowdhury
    18.10.11 11:04 AM
    :)) good one
  • tys
    18.10.11 10:02 AM
    @kirklops : what? what?

    @shaila : u r one of the guilty ones arent u? the hidden stock from ayappas?

    @supernick: valre nandhi ...

    @harry : the head nod is over favorite is the shrug that can imply ' dont know', 'for no reason', 'why not',and any other reasons that doesnt require language...

    @ravi : you know whats weird? in the sand city u wud expect people to carry umbrellas, but actually i havent seen many carry it...maybe the ammavanmars cud start a much needed trend here

    @vijay menon : shukran

    @zephyr: okie then...iam flattered.

    @salaamreaders: shakeela chechi coming out of a pool is an event...its physics in motion, also displacement, gravity, and other such things...its science..
  • salaamreaders
    18.10.11 01:09 AM
    Shakeela Chechi coming out of the pool.....had a hearty laugh after a long time.
  • zephyr
    17.10.11 08:27 PM
    Loved this one. Perfectly portrayed images and sentiments. :)
  • Vijay Menon
    Vijay Menon
    17.10.11 01:30 PM
    LOL that was fun!
    ADI POLI!!
  • ravi
    17.10.11 09:13 AM
    Hilarious....which mallu would not empathise with this write ? The older generation would though complain about the good old 'kuda' being eliminated from this piece :)
    16.10.11 10:07 PM
    Nobody can act like mallu in any film.
    The film with SRK & Preeti Zinta , which you said in artical, is this the film, which one the song is on the long boat with mallu's rowing the boat ?.
    I have seen the song not the film. !!

    PS. I think you also forgot the head knod side to side in the artical.
  • superrrnickkk
    16.10.11 01:37 AM
    Hahaaaahaaaaahahaaahaaa....!!!! i laughed out so loud that anybody hearing me would have thought that I have lost it. Damn.. why am I typing in english..??

    ADI POLI MASHE...!!! TAGARTHU..!!! :)
  • Shaila
    15.10.11 12:10 PM
    Absolutely!!!! :))))))
  • Kirklops
    15.10.11 05:57 AM
    Hear, hear :)

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