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Delhi boy and Mallu gerl

One thing that I find it hard to explain to people is that I am NOT a Mallu even though both my parents were born and raised in Kerala . My mother tongue is Konkani and I speak it fluently.  (and if you really want to know, I am  a  Konkani GSB). But I also speak Tamil, Malayalam,Hindi, Kannada and can understand Marathi and used to speak Gujju too! (apart from English of course) :)
I grew up in several places all over India and I find it hard to answer the question
"Where are you from?" (I am a TRUE Indian)

So it somewhat amuses me when my good friend Mayank Mittal presumes I cannot speak Hindi. Whenever he texts me in Hindi, he takes care to translate the same into English within brackets. I always reply back in proper  'Shudh Hindi' surprising him. (I proudly boast to my north Indian friends that I scored a 84% in CBSE Hindi course A and I can tell my purushvachak sarvanaam from my anishchayvachak sarvanam and I can also reel off several  dohas and samanarthak shabd and what not!)
Satish assumes the same (even after 16 years of marriage!) and teases me about my spoken Hindi. Yet when it comes to teaching the kids Hindi grammar, he backs out and calls me. And I make frantic calls to Mayank asking him to make sentence with  ‘behti ganga mein haath dhona’  :-)  

After all, it is more than twenty years back that I had scored those marks :P :-)

Yeah, I do admit my Hindi is mostly mugged up from text books and movie dialogues :-) (I grew up on a diet of Hindi and English movies) and I am indeed more comfortable conversing in English than in Hindi. And I would rather run a mile than read a book in Hindi. (The CBSE course A ensured that I had enough of Hindi for a lifetime!)

Satish has mostly grown up in the North and his Hindi and is more fluent than his Konkani. He also speaks Bong.

Between Satish and me, he is the  'Hindiwallah' and I am the 'South Indian'. He is the Delhi Boy and I am the mallu gerl (that wasn’t a typo), he is the Bengali Babu and I am the Tamizh ponnu   and that’s how it will always stay I guess.

When we were visiting India from the UK last year, I badly wanted a Salwar Kameez. (as I mostly wear western clothes or sarees) What better place than Amritsar to get one made? I proudly got an authentic  Patiala salwar kameez  stitched. I was so happy with it that I decided to wear it immediately. We were taking the Shatabdi from Amritsar to Delhi and I proudly wore my new ‘Patiala suit’. I had shopped for some lovely bangles and bindis too and happily wore all of that. (which was something I rarely got to do in the UK)

In the train, the attendant was handing out the complimentary newspapers to everyone. He took one look at me and Satish. Then he painstakingly pulls out two bunches of newspapers. He hands over the Punjabi newspapers to me  and he passed on the English newspapers to Satish!!
Satish could not stop laughing.

I politely handed back the newspaper to him and asked for the English one and said “Mein angrezi pad sakti hoon.”

These Hindiwallahs I tell you!! :D

ps: You can interact with me on my Facebook page.  I reply to almost all comments and I check it very regularly. :-)


  1. a patiala suit you got made in amritsar he he he :) it should be got made in patiala na ...

    and you are from uk .. i did not know that ..


  2. ha ha ha... very interesting post... Iam a mal, born and raised in Kerala and born to mal parents too... despite that lot of people in the south assume Iam North Indian. And most of the time, I play along. Its fun! :D

  3. :). Reading your blog after a long time. Like always it's always nice to read your blog (and your stories).

    I like the newspaper scene a much.

    A nice post indeed.

  4. I am not able to imagine u in a patiala salvaar kameez...Please post a pic!! :) :) :)
    Would love to hear u speaking Hindi :-)

  5. Haha. I am a true blue northerner that way. Love Hindi almost as much I love English (I scored a 92 in 10th :P)

    And I've NEVER seen a pic of you in a salwar kameez! Oo Convincing Punjaban you must have been to get a punjabi paper. But God, these paper wallahs are jundgemental! Hehe.

    Such a cute post :-)
    I face a similar confusion when someone asks me where I'm from. Though I'm not multilingual as you.

  6. yeah I remember the patiala suit - u wore it when we met remember :P
    I am from chandigarh but born and brought up in delhi - for the cgarh people I am Dilli walli and for the delhi people I am "the Panju(dont like the word though !!) from Chandigarh"
    My heart beats for both cities actually :P

  7. LOL :) A Punjabi newspaper.... oh god! I do not think with whatever Patiala I wear... there is gonna be a punjabi newspaper handed over to me!

    PS: Would love to see a pic of you in said attire! ;)

  8. hahahahhaha- I cannot ever mention more that its such a treat reading your thoughts!!!

  9. Very true, I face this often too. My north indian husband still teases me of bad hindi and think i dont follow movie(typical Up hindi dialogues)..very funny

  10. mallu gerl-hehehe--loved it. would have loved to see a picture of you in salwar.

  11. Interesting,दिलचस्प,रोचक...everyone could instantly relate something from your अवतरण in दैनंदिनी...this is real beauty...

    True...As an indian, I too relate my multiple identities, sourced from wherever I brought up and stayed.

    Do post your pic punjabi suit to imagine you better from newspaper man perspective :P

  12. Loll, really funny :D

  13. Mallu Gerl with a punjabi tadka.. oye hoye :P

  14. Amazing Preeti!!!
    Are your books available in all those languages too? xxxooo

  15. OMG Preeti...I am able to relate to you so well...the identity crisis explained here...knowing HIndi, surprising most (obviously because I am too far from a HIndiwali look and never talk in HIndi).
    I actually landed on your page from Nikhil Muralidharan's ( which itself was an accident) and I realize he should be my junior at K.V.P.) .
    I read read read and still reading your blog for the past 2 hours . its past midnight (I even forgot the pain from my gum surgery) ...the experience has been like this: I see somebody as a little Kvite commenting on another KVite, then I see "Oh she writes books" really? Oh she paints ? then in the middle i see oh it is a best seller really? oh she has kids...she is not little girl after all as she looks in the pictures... :)...
    I also like to do all these write, paint , sing, languages everything...but all at a mediocre level:) though...And no time with work and two kids....
    managed 4 posts and 2 youtube songs of mine... !

    Good Luck to u and hoping to come to your blog often...And also get your books...

    May God bless you...

  16. Interesting story....loved it.

    "Best wishes for "Durga-Puja".

  17. I wonder why the post is not giving me the high like all ur other as if the last piece from a Jigsaw puzzle is missing;-o.

    Hmmmm....maybe posting the picture of a pretty Preeti in a patiala suit would just make the post complete;-D

  18. Lol!

    Well, can't say 'poor you' coz you're anything but that! :D

    But why be defensive? Let the people ask and all you can do is show them your proud smirk :)

    P.S: I've well noted long back that you're not a mallu but only an INDIAN ;p

  19. Sparkling: Aint defensive at all..all was in good humour :)

    reflections: Lets trade pictures..u send me yours i will send u mine! :)

    Santosh: thanks--same to u!

    Shaan: greetings from one fellow KViite to another :) and welcome to my world.

    Gillian: I wish they were! They are available only in english.

    Mystic: :D

    Thinker: :D :D

  20. Anand, Horizon: Pic is on my other laptop which has gone for repair. Will try and post.

    Deepins: All Hindiwallahs I tell u! :)

    Eve: heh heh. :)

    Ruchira:hahahahaha--yes I do remember that photo! :D

    Sucheta: In my time it was difficult to score above 80 :) Congrats on your hindi marks ;-) You are now appointed my new hindi consultant :D

    Akanksha: So you can make fun of me? :D


    Poinbtblank: Thats nice!

    Bikram: not from UK, used to live there.

  21. Ha ha...i have many south Indian friends like u who studied Hindi in school but find it difficult to converse in Hindi.

    I guess it applies to any language for that, unless you speak regularly in that tongue, it gradually becomes part of fading memory.

    I learnt Malayalam while i was in Kerala, then i could speak functionally Malayalam,but now i find it difficult.

  22. hahahaaaaaa......u got me there;-D


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