Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How do you know each other?



Last Saturday, I met a group of Malayalis in Paris. A recent acquaintance, who is fast climbing up the charts to being a good friend, asked me to join him as he was meeting with this group of Paris Malayalis. This group asked us this question. “How do you know each other?”.

I had to search my memory a few seconds and answer. I had met my newly acquired friend on Twitter. We had been talking to each other on phone for over 3 weeks. But we met each other in person only last week. We were already behaving like good friends who have known each other for long. That is the most interesting part. He also is the only friend I have made using the two social media(Twitter and Blogger) and have also met in flesh & blood.

The meeting with Paris Malayalis was also interesting. There were four of them. They were born in France. Some of them were raised here and others spent considerable time in India. But their Malayalam was flawless. They talked to us in Malayalam and spoke to each other in French. They even apologized to us for using French. As they have known each other since childhood days, French comes naturally when they talk to each other.

They could have told. "I'm French. My parents are from Kerala, India". But they never did that. I'm glad they didn't. I'm glad I met them.

Tags: Musings,Malayali,Paris

16 comments:

  1. That is what Indian Tradition does to a person. They can never forget their homeland, and mother tongue :)

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  2. @Jayendrasharan - Thanks for dropping by. I guess this has to do with the upbringing and what you learn from home. I have heard people saying, "No. I'm not India. I'm American. My parents are from India!". :)

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  3. I agree with your above reply - that's mostly the case with most indians esp in cases like you mentioned in your post. but i guess mallus are a different league altogether, they always take pride in being who they are, damn the world. interesting that they apologized for speaking in french. rare! & flawless malayalam - wow!
    i am glad there are people like the 4 gentlemen

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  4. making friends on such social networking sites might sound weird to some.. but trust me.. at times you get really good friends too...
    I am really happy for you that meeting him up was a good experience for you :)

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  5. @Sujatha - I think every one(ready it as state) thinks they are special bunch. :) Yes, they apologized for speaking in French and explained why they do that. And finally, it was a 50-50 mix of ladies and gentlemen.

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  6. That is not surprising actually. Malayalis are a very close knit and very adaptable race.
    They feel an ode to the motherland like their breath.
    But, I don't see similar behavior in many states of India.
    Some take pride in calling themselves French/Americans etc. Basically NRI.
    How social network makes us meet people is just awesome!
    Good post!

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  7. Interesting topic. I too would soon be meeting a friend from the internet,who would be coming to meet me from the US. I have made so many friends, mostly Indians, through FB and blogger, and you won't believe, they have become so close that they called me from Norway, and US just to listen to me in person. I think we as Indians are more open to friendship on a personal level unlike the people of other countries,these people sometimes feel that we are too fast in making friends and also too overbearing and personal. So whenever I come across some European, I always go slowly with them, for one has to understand in their culture it is not a done thing.
    You have to excuse my off the track comment.

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  8. @Rama - You are welcome to share your thoughts. Also nice to hear that you have made many friends over here. Although I have made many friends over here, the friend I mentioned in the post is the first one I met in person.

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  9. I think Malayalis and Bengalis speak their mother tongue even if they are not in their native country.

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  10. As you said. It all depends on the Upbringing. ANd their Malayalam was impeccable? great to hear that.

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  11. @Ashwini - Thanks for dropping by. Their malayalam was good. I guess this has to do with how they are encouraged to talk in Malayalam at home or how often they move between these two countries. I loved the way they switched from one language to another.

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  12. This post brought back an incident that happened about 3 years back.

    I had just arrived in London for a year long stay and study. There were students from all over the world living in the same hostel that I did. I met a girl with a very Indian name, and Indian looks and asked her which part of India she was from. And I got a lecture that I will never forget.

    "I am from Kenya. K.E.N.Y.A. Get that? I may look Indian, have an Indian name, but I am not Indian." She almost screamed when she said this.

    I was quite shocked and was about to apologise for my "wrong" assumption, when another student said, "Hey Shalini, don't get your knickers in a twist. Why can't you just admit that you are of Indian origin?." Shalini stormed out.

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  13. @ThatAndThisInMumbai - That was an unpleasant and unforgettable experience. Though no one has been as vocal as what you have experienced, I have had people put me down while talking about Indian origin. That is one of the reasons I was very happy to see these kids taking pride in their origin. Nice of your friend to stand up for you.

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