Today I was thrilled to see a program on Kerala in the "We" channel. It showed the backwaters, festivals, women making Kayar.. The music of Sitar instantly transfers me to a lonely village in India.
There were factual mistakes in the program, though. They showed a festival procession (Sheeveli) and told that the Nettippattams of elephants represent Hindu deities and the central elephant is "Vishnu". In another scene, when asked what is the most common animal seen in Kerala, one person answered that it is Elephant!
There was a talk with a beautiful girl making Kayar. A guide was acting as the translator. It reminded me of one of the most humorous Malayalam stories ever written, by VKN. A foreigner is visiting a Malayali Thampuran, and there is an interpreter to make the communication smooth. In fact he makes the communication a rather more smooth. It goes somewhat like this: (I am writing from memory, would be different from the actual words)
Thampuran to Interpreter: Koode vannirikkunnathu veliyo atho makalo? (Is it your daughter or wife that has come with you?)
Interpreter to Foreigner: I have heard a lot about you and your country. Glad to meet you here.
Foreigner: Oh.. Me too.
Interpreter to Thampuran: Athu veli thannya. (It is wife)
Thampuran: Kantal makalanenne thonnu. Randam ketta? (Looks like a daughter only. Is it your second marriage?)
Interpreter to Foreigner: I am really concerned about the latest political developments in the Eastern Europe.
It goes on like this. Finally the Foreigner goes back with a great impression about the width and depth of the Thampuran's knowledge. Thampuran is also fully satisfied.