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Doing The Mallu Shuffle

Doing The Mallu Shuffle

April 08, 2011

When it comes to clearing the dance floor I have no equal.

As a Mallu, I will be the first person to go public and admit to the world that mallu men can’t dance. Before the whole community rises up in arms and decides to lynch me, let me sit you down on the sofa and switch on the TV to our Kerala channels. 

Contrary to popular belief, moving your shoulders up and down and smacking the heroine on her ample derriere, while she shakes it to the rhythm, is not exactly dancing. I tried that once and ended up on a liquid diet sucking from a straw for nearly a month.

The first time I had an inkling that we differed from our other Indian brothers was when I was exposed to a mallu version of disco at one of our new year parties. The antics I witnessed on that day in the name of dance, only helped reinforce my conclusion that we cannot fight for what nature has not bestowed upon us.

When god made mallus, he was generous. He gave them a land shaped like a prawn, lots of coconuts, a language that can never be spoken with ease by anyone other than a malayali and he gave us Shakeela.

Then he gave the men two left feet.

This was great for climbing our coconut trees to make toddy, as the angle of the feet helped us stay up there even after sampling the product at source. That’s about it. When it came to dancing, our feet were hopeless.

Our ancestors knew this. Our national dance, Kathakali is the prime example that illustrates mallu men can’t dance. Kathakali uses facial expressions, hands, eyes, buckets of paint, yards of cloth and anything they can lay their hands on to convince hapless Germans that we are dancing. See that big skirt which looks like something Scarlet O Hara sold at a garage sale? Well, that's to hide the feet. Our feet don't move much in Kathakali, not out of choice, just out of inability.

We just can’t dance.

My wife and I went to this Mexican place in Dubai which had this Sri Lankan band playing the American Dance Classics (now that's a globalized sentence). My wife dances. She’s not a mallu and thankfully not a man either. After 7 tequila shots served to me by a Russian hostess, I forgot that I was a mallu man. They were playing 'Time of my Life' from Dirty Dancing and I suddenly (and in my mind) became Patrick Swayze. I dragged my better half to the floor, held her close, looked soulfully into her eyes and lip synched the words as the singer sang ' Well I've had the time of my life...'. My wife's eyes pleaded with me to allow the floor to open up and consume her. The tequila in me translated that look to mean she was in awe.

Then I danced.

We are not allowed at that place anymore.

I insist it’s not me; it’s the mallu in me. 


  • Rajendra Raikwar
    Rajendra Raikwar
    21.11.11 03:43 PM
    great efforts
  • tys
    31.10.11 09:50 PM
    nix : totally...u cant fite the genes
  • NNNiiiXXX
    31.10.11 03:37 PM
    ROFL... Now that explains why pubs in bangalore hate me... It is not me... It is the mallu in me... :P
  • Ranjini Hannah
    Ranjini Hannah
    21.04.11 12:50 PM
    tys......I'm so gonna tell Mohanlal and then ur screwed buddy!! many of his loyal fans swear by their lives that the man sure knows how to 'get jiggy widdit' !!
  • tys
    17.04.11 10:38 PM
    @blue lotus : he wasnt a mallu? Of course, he played krishna who is after all frm north, hence the ability to shake a leg... The only mallu god was hanuman and ever heard him doing the jiggy? He was busy lighting up his tail and carrying mountains..
  • tys
    17.04.11 10:34 PM
    @ millie: of course u do... We make even the worse of the lot look gud on the dance floor... That is our purpose.
  • Malavika Kalauny
    Malavika Kalauny
    17.04.11 09:45 PM
    With a blog like that, you don't need to know how to dance baby!!
  • Blue Lotus
    Blue Lotus
    14.04.11 03:23 PM
    Gosh!!Loved the article.I'm sure most Mallu men don't accept this.But then I do.The only good male dancer I've seen in Malayalam movies is Aravind (Krishnan of Nandanam)and ya he is not a mallu...
  • tys
    12.04.11 06:14 PM
    @dr.jospeh : thats the optimistic in u speaking...everytime one of our kind does the cha cha, the others boot us out saying che che

    @sujith : iam shocked . An all nighter? Really?

    @jai: u shud if u r who i think u r. Theres no shame in this. Tough guys dont dance.

    @soumya: :) happiness? No. Amusement. Yes.

    @anoop : my heart bleeds for u...suffering for the sins of the father..
  • Anoop
    12.04.11 03:39 PM
    ROTFL... So true - I realized it when I tried to dance to the tune of 'Sarakku Vachirikku' during my MCA - I got a permanent ban from the dance floor, with a stern warning that if I set my eyes anywhere near the stage, they will throw me out.
  • soumya
    11.04.11 10:25 PM
    "Happiness is only happiness if there is a violin-playing goat." huh? ;)
  • Jaai
    11.04.11 12:40 PM
    Hahaha....I an totally vouch for this post...
  • Sujit
    11.04.11 09:00 AM
    This made my all nighter :)
  • Dr. Joseph Cyrus
    Dr. Joseph Cyrus
    11.04.11 08:43 AM
    I guess that explains a lot, but we mallus are so versatile. We could do the cha cha cha with a single leg, be it left or right!
  • tys
    11.04.11 01:55 AM
    @soms: btw, iam not an emissary of anything or anybody. Let alone being limited to any race, culture or worse,religion.
  • tys
    11.04.11 01:14 AM
    @rohit : palakkad, eh? Thats mallu identity crisis. Do u dance in a funeral or dont u, kinda thing. Done both. Its cool buddy.

    @ smartie : reruns are never tht great. But iam glad u like it enuf for a second run.

    @raj: the lip fungus! My man, thts what being mallu is all abt.

    @maria: i kinda didnt expect amar's appropriate pic. U can take the kerala frm a mallu but u cant take a mundu frm him.

    @haaya : was it? Iam curious. Really?

    @soumya: yep. A decade of practice. So is being part of a culture. So is rap, bhartnatyam, jazz disco, roller skate dance, break dance etc....anything that u do for entertainment involves practice. Decades of it. Big deal. I have spent 41 yrs to becoming me. So if i say kathakali proves that mallu men decades ago realized their limitation and then worked around it, iam not insulting it, iam merely re installing it. Get a life woman. Learn to smile at urself and ur culture . Its mine too and i feel we r bigger than just that.

    There u go... U got urself tysd.. But, thank you. U are honest and true. Thank u for giving me a chance to reveal how i feel whn i write. Why else wud anyone write , apart frm a need to exhibit?
  • soumya
    11.04.11 12:17 AM
    Kathakali is an art which takes decade to master and each Mudra and every occasion demands a specific feet movement. Its sad to see an emissary of this culture degrading it for a few laughs.
  • Hayaah
    10.04.11 08:47 PM
    This was just downright HILARIOUS!!!
  • Maria
    10.04.11 08:05 PM
    Oh and the reference to Scarlet O'Haras garage sale item had me ROFLing :D
  • Maria
    10.04.11 08:04 PM
    If there's anything which beats the adipoli-ness of your post, then its Amar's selection of the chullan-filled pic above :)
  • R-A-J
    10.04.11 04:18 PM
    n after the feet, He then gav us the mellu mooch n the mundu...:)

    frm one mellu 2 another...adipoli post, Tysonice !!! :)
  • tys
    10.04.11 02:50 PM
    @geeta : wow theres something called a mallu post? Sounds almost dirty.

    @mary : put it back woman. Hanging guts are so damn gross

    @binu : and i believe so does half a billion other mallus

    @dubugu: it wud have made it hurt more. Alcohol is one thing we mallus understand.

    @lovish : u r in gud company my friend.

    @chitra: yep. So we r.

    @sarah : girl, the only person who will be crying if i sing or dance will be others.

    @sandy : i have neither money nor brains , so hiring a person who gets away with killing people by wearing a t shirt that says 'being human', is not somebody i wud like dancing in frnt of me. I mite mistake him for wild life.

    @sibi : u think? If mallus dont laff at themselves theres a serious risk of them taking themselves seriously. That wud be really hilarious
  • smartie94
    10.04.11 01:20 PM
    This was hilarious! :D
    I can't stop reading it! :D
  • sibi
    10.04.11 11:03 AM
    'Mallu' is a unique breed. With lot of uniqueness. One attribute is that they rarely accept their weaknesses. Nice to see a unique mallu!
  • The Moonstone
    The Moonstone
    10.04.11 09:54 AM
    Absolutely hilarious !!!
  • sandy
    10.04.11 08:36 AM
    hey, dont feel bad. you have the money, the brains and with that you can always hire salman khan to dance for u!
    Loved your post!
  • RoHiT Iyer
    RoHiT Iyer
    10.04.11 05:50 AM
    hahahahaha... I wish I could disagree.. I have 2 left feet and one doesn't budge when someone asks me to dance. I am not exactly a mallu but one can't dare say I am not one, either!... From Palakkad, a Tamil Iyer.. My family(except me) speaks malayalam better than they speak tamil! :D

    This is one of the best posts I've seen in a loooong time... Loved reading it.. Dance on! :P

  • sarah
    10.04.11 02:43 AM
    LOL! a wonderfully penned post..not just coz it takes a lot of courage to accept ur weak points but also coz u have added a right flavour of humour to the post..enjoyed it completely :)
    PS : I believe anyone can dance or comes as natural an emotion as crying or laughing :)
  • chitra
    09.04.11 10:59 PM
    it was damn funny...nammal mallu angane aan...heheheh
  • Lovish
    09.04.11 09:46 PM
    Haha,most hilarious.I have tonnes of mallu friends and I can swear by this!
  • dubugu
    09.04.11 07:35 PM
    nice one.. would lesser tequila been any better or worse ?
  • Binu Thomas
    Binu Thomas
    09.04.11 12:37 PM
    As a Mallu, I secound your thoughts !! :)
  • Mary
    09.04.11 06:54 AM
    too funny....laughed my guts out!
  • Geeta
    08.04.11 10:41 AM
    mallu post :)) well done:)

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