A little something for the South Asian wlw who are often forgotten.
To Tamil, Telugu, Malayali, Bengali, Kannadigas, Tulu, Maldivian, Bhutanese, Chhetri, Magar, Tharu, Tamang, Indo-Carribean, multiracial and other desi wlw. Desi wlw who are black.
To those who can’t relate to white wlw’s experiences, who have never been able to see their situations portrayed anywhere. To those who feel like there’ll never be any hope for them, due to factors like the homophobia and misogyny in south Asian communities or institutions like arranged marriage. Who feel like they cannot talk about their struggles in fear of having them reflect on their culture.
To the desi wlw who don’t have any role models to look up to, who are clueless about what to do or whether or not they will even have a future for themselves. To those who are scared about being shunned from their communities and families. To those who aren’t even allowed to love men and are expected to marry a stranger, making loving a woman seem impossible.
It can be immensely isolating when you don’t see yourself anywhere or when you’re never given the opportunity to be heard. But make no mistake, our stories are diverse and are worth telling. We have each other, we have other wlwoc/wlw who can relate to us and we can get through this together.
I just noticed that you can’t say a lot of basic stuff in my mother tongue, Malayalam. Very simple stuff, like I’m sorry. Like in textbooks they would say it as ക്ഷമിക്കുക (kshamikkuka) , but then, it’s currently used in conversation with the meaning of to be patient .
And you can’t say, I miss you in Malayalam, as a phrase. The only thing you can do is explain to someone how bad you feel without them around. But, that is so weird to say. So, what people mostly do is say ഞാന് നിങ്ങളെ മിസ് (miss) ചെയ്യുന്നു (njan ningale miss cheyunnu) . We don’t have a word for miss, in the context of I miss you. (as far as I know)
Similarly, you can’t say I love you. We do have word for love, and you can string together a sentence to mean I love you, but it will be your own sentence, and a weird sentence at that. A phrase for I love you does not exist. But, we do have a phrase for I like you എനിക്ക് നിന്നെ ഇഷ്ടമാണ് (enikku ninne eshtamannu) and you can turn that into I love you by saying I really like you എനിക്ക് നിന്നെ ഒരുപാടു ഇഷ്ടമാണ് (enike ninne orupadu eshtamannu) .
Also, I don’t know if this is all malayalis or just the slang that I speak in, we say Telungu instead of Telugu . And that’s just unnecessarily weird. And we don’t say Tamil with an L sound, we say തമിഴ് (tamizh) with a zh sound. And to my knowledge, zh sound doesn’t mostly exist in Tamil, so we’re just being petty little pricks.
I was just thinking a lot about Malayalam today and these are some inconsistencies I found in my language. Now obviously, I’m no expert and a lot of people on here, like @currylangs , @malayalam101 , @malayalapaadavali probably know better or more interesting stuff. Feel free to add more. About Malayalam or other South Indian languages.
Below the cut are 215+ faceclaims of colour who are, or could pass as, teenagers that you could use to make your high school roleplays more diverse! Organised by ethnicity, gender and age, with their specific ethnicity listed.
If you have any more suggestions feel free to send me an ask!
ചോർ - chor is the Malayalam word for rice. However, in Hindi, it means thief. And thanks to this same-sounding-different- meaning word, we were gifted this hilarious scene in Punjabi House. Here, we can see the talented Harisree Ashokan get mistaken for a thief when he attempts to ask a girl who does not speak Malayalam for some ചോർ - chor.
In the scene, he says, ‘I’m not കഞ്ഞി - kanji.’ He is trying to say he doesn’t want കഞ്ഞി - kanji in his limited English. കഞ്ഞി - kanji is like rice gruel/porridge (it’s difficult to translate) or as certain grandmothers like to call it rice soup (to trick their ultramodern or NRK [Non Resident Keralite] grandchildren).* This scene is hilarious to a Malayali because കഞ്ഞി - kanji has another meaning. It is used to describe someone who is weak, useless or cheap.
അയ്യോ കഞ്ഞി ആയി പോയി- ayo kanji ayi poi
You might have heard your mom say this in the kitchen. This is when something you are cooking is boiled too much or becomes like mushy.
അവൻ ഒരു കഞ്ഞിയാ - avan oru kanjiya
This again depends on the situation. It can mean he has no skills, he is a cheapskate, he is a weak person.
*You can find the same dish in several Asian countries too. There it is called congee.
Lol at people who think Indian movies are “weird” or “amusing,” who don’t take our cinematic masterpieces seriously because they’re looking at us through a very Eurocentric lens, who assume all movies are in Hindi and fit the stereotypical “Bollywood” flavor. India releases 900 to 1000 films every year with most if not all of them being released IN THEATERS. I’ve seen Indian movies that address mental illness, being gay, and feminism better than American films ever have and probably ever will. Rethink your racism. Don’t be so shocked that we’re storytellers.
These are almost all off the top of Lia’s head, or from our roleplay’s potential fc list, so this is by no means thorough. We will be updating this as we go, and publishing various FC lists in the future. This is just a severe head shake at those who claim it’s harder to think of POC FCs (only those that use it as an excuse). Representation isn’t hard.
In the west, kids are given a hope that they can be or do anything they want when they grow older. Meanwhile, at the other end of the world, parents have specific hopes/expectations of what their children will be. This has traveled with them overseas as well. According to Aju from Anjali Menon’s Bangalore Days, this hope/expectation is the leading cause of suicide in God’s own country. And he brilliantly illustrates his point in the scene by mimicking the constant queries asked by family and society. He says people are living inside this pressure cooker of hope/expectations.
Thankfully, it is changing albeit at a snail’s pace. What are some of the most annoying questions you have heard?
you have no idea how glad I am that malayalee youth culture took such a drastic turn away from westernisation!!! I used to be genuinely scared I’d be coming back to a Kerala where people my age hated our language and our clothes and our films but instead, we did the opposite and I love that and randomly remember that sometimes and smile to myself haha loser me but idec
my favorite thing about the recent spate of communist-themed malayalam films is the inevitable non-malayali sanghi who shows up in the comments to say some dumb shit and then gets cursed out by malayalis of all faiths. these films are so clearly a reaction against what is happening in the rest of india that they are bound to draw the bigots but <3 <3 <3 for a secular kerala, communist-ruled or not.