Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Legendary Lungi

Just as the national bird of Kerala is Mosquito, her national dress is 'Lungi'. Pronounced as 'Lu' as in loo and 'ngi ' as in 'mongey', a lungi can be identified by its floral or window-curtain pattern. 'Mundu' is the white variation of lungi and is worn on special occasions like hartal or bandh days, weddings and Onam.

Lungi is simple and 'down to earth' like the mallu wearing it. Lungi is the beginning and the end of evolution in its category.You  cant provide it with gills to allow it to breathe more freely .Wearing something on the top half of your body is optional when you are wearing a lungi. Lungi is a strategic dress. It's like a one-size-fits-all bottoms for Keralites.

The technique of wearing a lungi/mundu is passed on from generation to generation through word of mouth like the British Constitution. If you think it is an easy task wearing it, just try it once! It requires techniques like breath control and yoga that is a notch higher than sudarshan kriya of AOL. A lungi/mundu when perfectly worn won't come off even in a quake of 8 on the richter scale. A lungi is not attached to the waist using duct tape, staple, rope or velcro. It's a bit of mallu magic whose formula is a closely guarded secret like the Coca Cola chemicals.

A lungi can be worn 'Full Mast' or 'Half Mast' like a national flag. A 'Full Mast' lungi is when you are showing respect to an elderly or the dead. Wearing it at full mast has lots of disadvantages. A major disadvantage is when a dog runs after you. When you are wearing a lungi/mundu at full mast, the advantage is mainly for the female onlookers who are spared the ordeal of swooning at the sight of hairy legs.

Wearing a lungi 'Half Mast' is when you wear it exposing yourself like those C grade movie starlets. A mallu can play cricket, football or simbly run when the lungi is worn at half mast. A mallu can even climb a coconut tree wearing lungi in half mast. "It's not good manners, especially for ladies from decent families, to look up at a mallu climbing a coconut tree"- Confucius (or is it Abdul Kalam?)

Most mallus do the traditional dance kudiyattam. Kudi means drinking alcohol and yattam, spelled as aattam, means random movement of the male body. Note that 'y' is silent. When you are drinking, you drink, there is no 'y'. Any alcohol related "festival" can be enjoyed to the maximum when you are topless with lungi and a towel tied around the head. "Half mast lungi makes it easy to dance and shake legs" says Candelaria Amaranto, a Salsa teacher from Spain after watching 'kudiyaattam' .

The 'Lungi Wearing Mallu Union' [LUWMU, pronounced LOVE MU], an NGO which works towards the 'upliftment' of the lungi, strongly disapprove of the GenNext tendency of wearing Bermudas under the lungi. Bermudas under the lungi is a conspiracy by the CIA. It's a disgrace to see a person wearing burmuda with corporate logos under his lungi. What they don't know is how much these corporates are limiting their freedom of movement and ex-pression.

A mallu wears lungi round the year, all weather, all season. A mallu celebrates winter by wearing a colourful lungi with a floral pattern. Lungi provides good ventilation and brings down the heat between legs. A mallu is scared of global warming more than anyone else in the world.

A lungi/mundu can be worn any time of the day/night. It doubles as blanket at night. It also doubles up as a swing, swimwear, sleeping bag, parachute, facemask while entering/exiting toddy shops, shopping basket and water filter while fishing in ponds and rivers. It also has recreational uses like in 'Lungi/mundu pulling', a pastime in households having more than one male member. Lungi pulling competitions are held outside toddy shops all over Kerala during Onam and Vishu. When these lungis are decommissioned from service, they become table cloths. Thus the humble lungi is a cradle to grave appendage.

(The credit for this article goes to the author, unknown as of now. I'm sharing this in my blog for your information and knowledge enrichment.)

For more information on Mallu, and what that means, please read i-yaame-mallu

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Pursuit of Happyness

"Hey, there needs to be a spell check done", was the first reaction that I had when I saw the movie title. It said Happyness, and not Happiness.

Sometime I wonder the change in scenario; where a studious student during my times was having all set of dictionaries - English-English, English-English-Hindi, English-English-Malayalam and all sorts of combinations. We were encouraged (rather threatened) to look up these heafty stuff to find the correct spelling and meaning. So we knew most of the spelling correctly. But this generation just hits the spell-check button and bingo all the wrong spellings are corrected and also the system throws up the suggestion for grammar too. So the result is, if you have to write down something in a paper, the student is blank regarding the spelling.

The point I was trying to tell is, the movie is good. And, I'm not trying to give a review of that. What left me thinking is that, what made that guy to rise up in life? Money? Wealth? Luxury? (By the way, money and wealth are two different things).

My earlier boss used to tell me, "Money is the only motivator for most of them". I look back. Did I work with all the enthusiasm just because I got the money I wanted? Mostly, No.

Money is an attraction, but cannot be a motivator, I believe. When somebody takes up a new job offer, money, of course, is an attraction. Once inside and on the job, the attraction remains for sometime. But after sometime he/she gets used to it, and its no more an attraction or motivation.

The driving factors might be a sense of satisfaction of doing something good, some recognition of good work, promotion, etc. Some folks may not be so focused on the satisfaction part, as long as the month-end sms comes from the bank. But here too, its not motivation, its complacency.

Another breed just cannot stand the concept that you are working 'for' someone, and starts up something new which gives him/her a kick. May be 5% have this mindset, but only 0.5% get ahead and do something. Others do a SWOT analysis, and finally decide to stick on to the month-end sms lifestyle.

Here, one thing to note is that all have some wishes, desires and dreams.

All of us have lot of wishes - like, "I wish this country had better infrastructure", "I wish I had XYZ car", "I wish I had a monthly income of Rs. ABC".

If you ask them very firmly, "Do you really want all these things?", they might answer, "Well, not really. I am okay with the current setup". They are driven by the fear of failure and since they are not ready to move out of the comfort zone, they remain where they are with their wishes.

A few in this group think of doing something about it. They analyse the pros and cons, see what they could possibly do, and see a few options. They are turning a wish into a higher level - a desire. But many stop at this level, due to the lack of confidence, complacency, or no proper guidance.

Very few actually turn these desires into their dreams, set goals, and chart an action plan to achieve them. And they make a difference to their own life, and to life of people who are associated with them.

What I felt is that its not important what the dreamers achieve, whether it is a plush house, a few luxury cars, or a hefty bank account. If the person is focused, and sensible, it is more important on what he/she, as an individual, as human being, become in that process of achieving his dreams.

If we look around we will see people in all the categories, and which set do each of us belong to?


Monday, August 09, 2010

The clutter free life

Bang!! I turned around and saw a huge pile of junk being dumped in the junk shop. It was a pleasent evening and I had got out for a walk. This thought stuck my mind - A shop for junk stuff.

It made me realise that anything sells! Also that all of us have lot of junk to give - both in our house and mind. There are tens and thousands of thoughts that cross our mind, and if you observe, only a few thoughts comes again. Most of them are not relevant at all, but stays somewhere in the background of our mind. Same is the case with things. Look around our house, and if you look closely you will realise that most of the stuff around us are not used or ages. There might be bits of papers, used bus or train tickets, notices all are lying around us.

Clutter is common. You find it everywhere. People love it. Be it house, public place, office, mind. We feel something is very important and keep it; or just neglect it saying its unimportant. I made it a habit to hit the Delete & Refresh button very often in my life and mind. Remove all those unwanted stuff from your life physically and mentally. Then you will see that a new life comes, a new energy. Think about it. If you have not used a particular stuff in your house for past 6 months, then mostly you will never use it. There is something fresh and new awaiting but unless we hit the Delete and Refresh button, the new stuff won't happen.

And I reached home to find that I am yet to hit the Delete and Refresh button for my mind for that day. Want to know how? Ask me.