Friday, May 05, 2006

Om Kreem Kuttichatha

Warning: This post has a good amount of Malayalam words used.

If you folks understood that title of this post then you are a great lover of Mayavi.

Growing up every household in Kerala had atleast one copy of Balarama (Children's magazine, published in Malayalam). We grew up in Tamil Nadu and did not know how to read Malayalam so we never got Balarama, but got Tinkle, Amarchitra Katha and as we grew older we got Reader's Digest, and then Competition Success.

But Veena and I used to love Mayavi in Balarama, and when ever we visited Kerala, our cousins used to read them to us. So our mom came to know about it and she got the text book for first grade and every evening she would sit and teach us to read Para pana thara . Veena was 13 and I was 10, and we use to complain that none of our friends had to learn how come we have to. Mom would ask "Do you want to read Mayavi?" We would start reading again.

As we got older, mom used to make us read Malayalam bible. In the beginning we would just turn to Psalms 23 and read Yehova ente idayan akkunu ... or Psalms 91 Athyunathante Maravil Vasikyayum ... as we knew those by heart (These are the two Psalms that every kid is taught during his/her childhood days). Mom figured it out soon and then she used to say which passage to read. Every evening during family prayer Veena and I had to read Malayalam bible after we read our English bibles.

Years went by and both Veena and I started reading Malayalam that was printed (reading Handwritten Malayalam is still hard for me.)

Last year when I went to Shekar's cousin's place I saw a Balarama and I just picked it up, turned to Mayavi and started reading. The whole family there just stared at me, I think they expected to pick up Vanitha (Women's weekly, also published by Manorama) which lay next to Balarama.

Little do they know that is it because of Mayavi I can read Malayalam.


Ravi said...

Two thumbs up for your MOM....

Geo said...

Wow... cool post :_)

Me too used to read Balarama and Poombata...

I guess u really scare ur inlaws a lot... You run away from rooms saying u spotted a cockroach or sth inside... u and ur sis chase each other... and then u pick Balarama instead of Vanita…


educatedunemployed said...


silverine said...

I was to write a post on my tryst with learning to read and write Malayalam, but you have done a great job already. I learnt to read and write Malayalam at a very young age during school vacations in Kerala. I had the traditional Vidyarambham ceremony and then wrote the first akshar's on Rice and then on a black slate.Great post.

Uncle J..aka Jaguu... said...


Shoot.. that was a good Idea. But Sadly I missed the boat.....I used to force my uncle or Grandma to read me Mayavi , Boban & Molly , Kabeesh & Shikari Shambu....I manage to read some Malayalam...but I have never written a word in Malayalam except hmm Vidyarambham I think...I have asked my Mom to make sure that the girl she chooses for me should know how to talk,read,write ,walk Malayalam... Lets see what happens!!

Alexis Leon said...

Nice post. I still read mazazines like Balarama, Kalikudukka, etc. as we buy them for my brother's kids. In Poompatta there was a Kapeesh (a monkey that can make his tail grow). I was a fan of that story. We used to fight with one another whenever the magazines came as everybody wanted to read them first. Any day I prefer Balarama to Vanitha :-)

Prasanth "PC" Chandrahasan said...

That was a frank and honest post. I have always wondered why of all communities only Mallus hate their language and takes makes sure that their kids do not learn the language. Though you have spend a chunk of your life in US, it is really appreciative that the love for the language still remains. I still remember my nephew, who is born and brought up abroad writing a Malayalam letter to me. The letter was full of untidy letters and typos, but then he was onbly 5 years old.

jac said...

Drifted in, hearing a pinch of Malayalam.

Now I wonder if you are the real 'mayavi', who relentlessly used to haunt my childhood while am asleep.

If not, can you be one for a day, for I am grown too old to be scared?

freebird said...

i used to looove 'mayavi' too. before i cud read, dad used to read it to me and later wen i cud, me n sis wud fight ovr who'd get to read balarama first :-D.
and i think i like 'luttappi' more than mayavi. doesnt he look all cute with a red body, his undies and a cute li'l tail ;-)

Arjun Ramakrishnan said...

ho, Mayavi used to be such a delight to read. I remember there was a certain order in which I would read the differernt stories once I got a new Balarama and always Mayavi came first. great to know Mayavi did so far as to help you learn Malayalam.

Immigrant in Canada said...

mayavi..I loved him..luttappi and all the others as well.. Because I was send to malayalam medium straight from malay was fun.. there were no malay malayalam dictionary and you can understand the language confusion I went through..but once i mastered malayalam, it was a joy reading balarama and poompatta..

Thanu said...

Aren't moms the best?

I still read Balarama. Never been that attracted to poombatta, only liked kapish in it.


U shud write that post. I bet it will be funny.

$Uncle J..aka Jaguu
What is walk Malayalam? I never had a Vidayarambam.

$Alexis Leon
I remember Kapish, we used to have a friend called Subish and we used to call him Kapish.

$Prasanth "PC" Chandrahasan
I don't think it is that mallus hate Malayalam, I think it's a parents decision not to teach their kids Malayalam may be because parents do not have time and patience. Nice to see you surface again.

I'm Mayavi... how can u be scared of Mayavi, he is good guy.
om Kreem Kittichatha ..jac has vanished. Welcome here Jac and hope to see you around.

I used to like raju a lot, he used to be cute. You know who else is cute? Boban. Welcome here freebird.

$Arjun Ramakrishnan
I know its the drive to read Mayavi I learned malayalam.

$Immigrant in Canada
That must have been so hard. I still can not read hadwritten Malayalam.

Dhanush said...

Nice Post Thanu. Especially liked the way your mom took it up to make sure that you both learned Malayalam.
And ofcourse Balaram,Poombatta and Balamangalam would go down in the history as the 3 most beautiful books in Malayalam "Baalasahithyam" with scores of characters like Mayavi, Raju, Radha, Kuttoosan, Dakini, Kapeesh, Luttappi and his uncle puttalu, Dinkan, Vikki, Vikraman, Muthu, Agent Vikram.. the list continues.
Thanks for bringing back memories.

Kusum Rohra said...

A shabaashi wala pat on ur back, and a thumbs up to your mom :)

You know I learnt to talk in Sindhi in my late teens and funnily my Nutty bro who is a decade younger to me was my teacher.

Dew Drops said...

balarama, poombatta, amar chitr katha and bobanum moliyum... i am a die hard fan of all these

Anonymous said...

Get me a balarama please...till then I have this
thought u might like it as well.

Payyans said...

Very beautifully written.

Thanu said...

Welcome here Danush.
I've never read Balamangalam. Thank you.

$Kusum Rohra
So that is Y u r tutoring him these days.

$Dew Drops
Welcome here.
Funny u did not mention competition success.

Yes, that is one of my bookmarks. I wonder how Molly's dress is alwaz like that at the bottom and how they never grow up, but we do.
Welcome here.

$Byju Sukumaran
Thank you Byju and welcome here.

Brijesh said...

Great one Thanu! It was fun reading Balarama, Poompatta and Balamangalam. I used to stand outside of my house for the "newspaper maman" to bring the new Balarama, Poompatta or Balamangalam. Will read most of it the day I get that.

Rays Of Sun said...

//but got Tinkle, Amarchitra Katha and as we grew older we got Reader's Digest, and then Competetion Success//

Ditto me:O
In fact Tinkle was my favourite:)

Kusum Rohra said...

heheh mez is tutoring him in stuff he will never learn, History/Civics/Geography et al :)

Keshi said...



quills said...

Aah..some good memories brot back to life through your post. Before I could even barely read, I used to be enchanted with Kapish the monkey..used to come in Poombatta. It used to be a personal fav of my brother's and I also used to sit next to him, hoping he would read it aloud. :)

Redcell said...

Well written. A lot of my memories of childhood involve waiting for the latest edition of Balarama and Poombatta. Then there was Amar Chithra Katha. Mayavi and that witch - forgot her name - are some of the characters that will stay with us forever.

Nikhil Narayanan said...

nice post
I can connect to though did schooling in Kerala, studied in a KV, Malayalam in school....
it was the same feed of Balarama, Poombatta(before it went to Mannorajyam), Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle.....good old days

CyberRowdy(Q8TechDrive) said...

ooooooooh my dear balarama......we just cant forget Luttappi...Kuttooosan...Dakkini...muthu...etc etc....

Janefield said...

hi Thanu, it is so cool that you can read your mother tongue. in my community (konkani) we do not even have a script!

yetanother.softwarejunk said...

Hi Thanu, I was a bit late to read this post. Nice one.
Parents like your Mom deserve a stand-up clap for their ability to know the pulse of their children.
And what about puttalu uncle of luttappi ; most of the time I felt pity about him.

Anoop said...

The kapeesh's and the luttappis. Girl how do you write like this ?

Vanitha is not that bad with Mrs Nair at the back.

Ashok Baby said...

I remember, how anxiously i used to wait for balarama...