Yesterday, as a part of Vishu celebrations in IIT,the movie Raappakal was screened in OAT. The storyline is the same old wine in the new bottle, albeit there are some serious questions raised about the present generation of malayalees. The movie portrays the life of a Thamburatti (equivalent to the queen in the olden times), who lives alone in a big Kovilakam (Palace). Her children are working at various places in India. Her daily activities are taken care by Mammootty, who is the caretaker of the family property. The Thamburatti is longing for the company of her kin, who are too busy to take care of her. One fine vacation,they get together at their native place, also called Tharavaadu in Malayalam. Everyone is happy and the whole bungalow is in a festive atmosphere.

The jocundity is overshadowed by anxiety and confusion when people realize the ulterior motive behind the get together, which is to divide the vast property among the younger generation. Once this is clear, there are a lot of scenes portraying the woes of the hapless mother, who is being silenced by her powerful and money minded sons and brother in laws. The property is split and the big palace is demolished and sold. Thamburatti is forced to move out to her son’s place, where, as usual, you could see a stereotypical daughter in law, the one that is seen quite often in the movies and serials. In the end, she runs away from them and decides to stay with the caretaker.

The topic seems to be exploited innumerous times. Despite this fact, its still selling! Surprising indeed. The movie is very ordinary, meant to capitalize on the nostalgic feelings of non resident keralites. One gets a feeling that the only reason behind the success of the movie is the dream run Mammooty is relishing these days. But if one look at the movie in a different perspective, one could observe a shocking reality, that the younger generation is no more interested in staying in Kerala! One could see most of them shifting to places such as Bangalore and Hyderabad for the rest of their lives! This poses a serious threat on the Kerala Culture and Heritage Values. Gone are the times when one would be staying back home, looking after the ancestral properties. More and more people who graduate are moving out. As a result, Kerala is a state with aging citizens whose kin is slogging and feeling nostalgic outside Kerala. (Courtesy: Silverine)

In the new age of global village, one could always argue that the telecommunication explosion has kept us updated about the God’s Own Country. Frankly speaking, these are just a superficial feeling, as most of us heavily bank on the TV Channels for this. The present day channels such as Asianet, Surya, Kiran, Asianet Plus and the other umpteen channels are more interested in serials and such masala stuff, which concentrates more on stories where one could see a woman being harasses day in day out. All these have a similar story line, where the heroine would have had a son before her marriage and this will be kept under cover, and then it will lead to a lot of complications in her married life, and there will be a villain who is trying to hoodwink her husband’s business properties. If you decide to see the comedy programmes for a change, you will be welcomed by a lanky imitating the mannerisms of an inebriated soul. To take over from there, there will be leader and his kids shouting at our CM and one Left Party leader who is a better mono act artist. One can see the untimely navarasas coming on to his face every now and then. Occasionally, during onam or vishu, one get to see good looking girls clad in pattu saree, and chatting (flirting?) in a cooked up accent of polished malayalam. This is not the Kerala that I know. Seriously! The Kerala I know contains straight forward people. Why should one try to cover up his/her mallu accent? And if you want to listen to hindi or english, there are better channels available. Asianet has cut down on its good programmes like Ente Keralam for the shows like Sthree Hrudayam or something like that. Its shocking! So where will a non resident busy keralite bank on for his Kerala? Dreams? It will work for the ones who were born and brought up in Kerala. How about the generations succeeding them? Aren’t their identities getting oblivious? Or am I getting paranoid here?

Talking about identity, in my case, I have never seen my Illam (another name for Tharavaadu). The only ways of visualizing my Illam is through the books and movies of M T and the occasional movies like Raappakal. Amongst my 14 paternal cousins, only 6 of them including me can read Malayalam! I have stayed all along in Kerala, before I moved to Chennai for undergraduation. Now it is highly unlikely that I will also settle in Kerala. So I might be the last person in my tree to know Malayalam! This is a startling fact.

Now about my school friends, almost all of them are moving to Bangalore after their graduation. There is not even a single guy who will be working in Kerala in our batch. So is it going to be the end of the wonderful Malayalee Culture? I hope not. What can I do about it? Who is responsible for this? There is an old trick of blaming the government for all these problems. This is a very effective trick that I acquired during my school days. For each essay that we wrote, there has to be the sentence of blaming government for not taking necessary steps to improve the situation. Let me keep this one as default, before thinking about the actual reason for this. So, what do malayalees want? More job opportunities? Why cannot I work in Kerala? I am sure that I won’t get a job in Kerala. So what can be done? Something to think about.