October 8, 2011

The 'Mallu' Accent

I spent 20 years in Mallu land and little did I know then that I would be ridiculed for my accent rest of my life.It was when I flew to US,I got the first slap on my face for my accent.Thankfully since all Americans think that most Indians have a common accent,I was saved from any kind of humiliation from them.It was the so called 'Indians' from other states who had a BIG issue with my accent.Initially It was very hard for me to understand what made my accent stand out from normal Indian accent,a lot of bullying and ridiculing by close friends and acquaintances made me realise I indeed had a "Mallu Accent".I consciously made an effort to distiguish 'Rose' & 'Ross',but alas I realised it was just in my blood.I comforted myself saying accent is not a big deal in life.
But the irony is that like there is an 'American' accent and 'British' accent,I too can make out where someone is from from his/her accent,But neither me or my fellow mallus I know make a fun of their accents.But whats the big deal with the Mallu accent alone?I belive an accent cant be a disturbance or a reason for irritation for anyone.Chineese,Koreans,name any region,they have their own way of talking English,But when a mallu like me utter a few words,its always a reason for humiliation.
After my tenure in US,when I shifted to 'Gelf' where its all about mallu,honestly I too wished at times there was a little less mallu people around here.90% of my colleagues are also mallus so luckily I never had an issue with my accent until this 'Bombay' raised south Indian came to my team.For the past few days I have been watching him deliberatly ridiculing certain words,When I tried to be polite and made him understand I do realise that I have a mallu accent,he just couldnt stop with it.Its a common trend seen these days.They just dont realise they too have a regional accent,but belives its just that Mallus who have an accent.
I am not someone who tries to adapt to forgein accent just coz I spent some years abroad.All I did was to bit slow down when I talked to those people there,When they could understand me well,whats with my fellow Indians.Its not about understanding a conversation,its just some other weird.I just wrote this as I was humiliated a lot for my accent.I just cant go back to my school to those lovely teachers for not correcting my accent..Is it really Important in Life??Speaking proper language matters,but I guess its all about a 'Non Mallu' accent that really matters to people.Indians are the most racists people I guess,we are divided based on the region and religion,even if we choose not to,such silly 'accents' make u feel that you are not an Indian but a 'Mallu'...C'mon people just grow up!
(I Hope there was nothing malluish in my writing...)

11 comments:

Balu Krishnan said...

Not generalizing, personally I feel many North Indians have the view that South Indian english accent is bad. From what I know, the people here ridicule the Indian accent not just the South Indian accent. Anyway that is not the point here, I feel that the guy who ridiculed you is egoistic. Language is a medium of communication, if others can understand what you say, who cares about your accent. All my greek professor still has a greek accent. Who cares. I understand you fake an American accent if you are in US, however when you are in India I think it is alright to live with a 'MALLU' accent. Tell your friend to come to US and talk to local people here and see how bad is his accent.

Anphy said...

Spot on. I too have noticed that people find 'french accent' cute but find indian accent (I have seen a general disdain towards Indian accent ) funny.
And yes, I too agree that we are the most racist of all :-)

Raj Kishore said...

Awesome.. I understand your frustration. We're all sailing on the same MALLU boat (said as bot or bought) :P

Shabbu said...

When i came to US in my initial years, I was with this Tamil gang of fiends who picked me every time i said any word with 'O'. In the beginning it was irritating as hell but as a typical mallu i found a way back to mock them. Please...a tamilian insulting mallu's accent is the last thing. But slowly we just started to mock everyone we know even a few mexican and american friends. It was like an epidemic. Offlate i have been able to find the humour in it. More often it could be that sarcastic dig..in the end it should not bother us. All izz well..we are how we are :)

Abhi said...

Good write up. Though I have an American accent, I can tell a mallu accent by a mile being of descent. I see the discrimination that goes on even inside between those mallus that were born here and those that have recently come to America due to accent. I tried to be accomadating and not biased. Also interesting I noticed within a couple of years how people lose the accent and become really fluent with American accent , especially the younger ones.

praveen chandran said...

good post... one shouldn't be ashamed about one's accent. It's just our mother-tongue coming out in a foreign language. And I am proud to be called a mallu (actually malayalee, the word mallu sounds derogatory) and that I speak Malayalam.
- came across this post by chance, keep up the good work

MJK said...

even i had the same problem. i studied in england for 4 years. over there my accent kind of mix with mallu and british and british people loved it actually. but here when i start working in banglalore, i think they just want to make fun of the accent they start saying bad about my accent as well. british people docent had any problem and this people didn't like my way of talk or accent what ever. well this is my style and some people like it or hate it, any way i want to keep it.

Tata SA said...

English words murdered by Malayalees:

kangaroo (the worst offended word malayalees pronounce as “kanGAROO” instead of “KANgaroo”)

mixed, fixed (pronounced as 'miksed', 'fiksed' instead of 'miksd', 'fiksd')

bear, pear (pronounced as ‘biyar’, ‘piyar’ instead of ‘bare’ and ‘pare’)


beer (pronounced as 'biiiir' instead of biye')

Queen (prounounced as “kyuun” instead of “kween”)

form (pronounced as ‘farum’ instead of “fom”)

biennale (pronounced as “binale” instead of “bienale”)

place names – Ohio, Seattle, Utah (pronounced as “ohiyo, seetl, ootha” instead of “ohayo, siyatl, yuta”

Tortoise (pronounced as ‘tortois’ instead of “totis” )

turtle (pronounced as ‘turrrtl’ instead of “tutl” )

Mascot Hotel (pronounced as “muskat HOtel” instead of “MAScot hoTEL”

heart (pronounced as ‘hurrt’ instead of “haat”)

bass (pronounced as ‘baas’ instead of “base”)

twitter (pronounced as “tyooter” instead of “twiter”

birthday (pronounced as “birthaday” instead of “buthdei”

garage (pronounced as “garej” instead of “gaRAZH”)

chassis (pronounced as “chasis” instead of “shasi”)

February (pronounced as “fibruari” instead of “februari”)

Tata SA said...

English words murdered by Malayalees:

kangaroo (the worst offended word malayalees pronounce as “kanGAROO” instead of “KANgaroo”)

mixed, fixed (pronounced as 'miksed', 'fiksed' instead of 'miksd', 'fiksd')

bear, pear (pronounced as ‘biyar’, ‘piyar’ instead of ‘bare’ and ‘pare’)


beer (pronounced as 'biiiir' instead of biye')

Queen (prounounced as “kyuun” instead of “kween”)

form (pronounced as ‘farum’ instead of “fom”)

biennale (pronounced as “binale” instead of “bienale”)

place names – Ohio, Seattle, Utah (pronounced as “ohiyo, seetl, ootha” instead of “ohayo, siyatl, yuta”

Tortoise (pronounced as ‘tortois’ instead of “totis” )

turtle (pronounced as ‘turrrtl’ instead of “tutl” )

Mascot Hotel (pronounced as “muskat HOtel” instead of “MAScot hoTEL”

heart (pronounced as ‘hurrt’ instead of “haat”)

bass (pronounced as ‘baas’ instead of “base”)

twitter (pronounced as “tyooter” instead of “twiter”

birthday (pronounced as “birthaday” instead of “buthdei”

garage (pronounced as “garej” instead of “gaRAZH”)

chassis (pronounced as “chasis” instead of “shasi”)

February (pronounced as “fibruari” instead of “februari”)

Tata SA said...

some more...

divorce (pronounced as "daiverse" instead of "divors")
pizza (pronounced as "pisa" instead of "pitza")
our (pronounced as "avar" instead of "aue")
flour (pronounced as "flower" instead of "flaue")
alarm (pronounced as "alarum" instead of "alaam")
volume (books) (pronounced as "vaalyam' instead of "volyum")
Sultan's Battery (pronouned as "soolthan batheri” instead of “Sultan's Batri”)

Tata SA said...

some more...

divorce (pronounced as "daiverse" instead of "divors")
pizza (pronounced as "pisa" instead of "pitza")
our (pronounced as "avar" instead of "aue")
flour (pronounced as "flower" instead of "flaue")
alarm (pronounced as "alarum" instead of "alaam")
volume (books) (pronounced as "vaalyam' instead of "volyum")
Sultan's Battery (pronouned as "soolthan batheri” instead of “Sultan's Batri”)