Showing posts from October, 2015

The Tipplers of Kerala

The Malayali and his drink
Numerous jokes can be seen circulating about the Malayali fondness for drink and so many scenes can be seen on television and the movies. The mimicry circuit is replete with many depictions of the drunken Malayali, while the somber and orderly queue in front of the beverages shop is testimony to the seriousness with which the average Malayali sets about the task of purchasing his liquor of choice in order to get thoroughly sloshed.
The statistics are staggering, for Kerala is right up there near the top when it comes to alcohol consumption. The World Health Organization finds that the average Indian drinks 4.3 liters of alcohol a year and in Kerala, it was 10.2 liters a year and the highest per capita (14.5 per cent) liquor consumption in the country.Borrowing the words from an evocative Malayali writer Yohan Chacko we can picture the drinker… Tying and retying his lungi/dhoti, each time a notch higher lets you know how many pegs he has downed by the level…

The Namboothiri Rawals of Badrinath

Now, what connection can Northerly Uttarakhand have with the Southern state of Kerala? Look at the map, the distance is so great, the cultures so different and though there is an extravagant mention by some history enthusiasts that the Nairs originated from the Newar community of Nepal, is there any connection between Kerala and Uttarkhand? Well, there is one, an interesting connection actually, and it has nothing to do with the cricket players Sreesanth and Dhoni.
The story starts around the 9th century, a period when many in India were followers of Jainist or Buddhist practices, be it in Kerala or Uttaranchal. Brahmanical Hinduism was on the rise and Sankaracharya from Kaladi in Kerala set out on an arduous trek crisscrossing most of India, propounding his principles. Just imagine what an amount of walking he would have done. 

Uttaranchal or Brahmpur as it was known then, is certainly a locale of beauty, at the foothills of the Himalayas, near the southern slope of the great and young…