Tuesday, June 07, 2011

"Mon-ey Dinesha" and "Entha Oru Ksheenam"

It's called a meme (An element of a culture or behavior that may be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, esp. imitation. Memes spread like wildfire on the internet.). It spreads quickly. It is like the plague. Kerala abounds in such memes.It spread through movies, media and the Internet. My native state is a repository of such memes.

One such was "Mon-ey Dinesha". "Mon-ey Dinesha" is a piece of dialogue from a Mohan Lal movie. And that year when I went to Kerala the entire population was saying to each other, "Mon-ey Dinesha." People address me as Dinesha and I say, mercifully, my parents haven't baptised me with that name. I didn't know it then. How was I to know? But I know now after seeing the movie and Mohan Lal's declamatory dialogue delivery. Oh, what power in each syllable, what resonance in each word.

This time when I went to Kerala my aunt said "Entha oru Ksheenam?" "Why are you looking so weak?" This is from a woman who is in her seventies and is frail and doddering. At least, I am not shaking with palsy. One learns. Then when I was in my brother's house a neighbour said the same thing, "Entha oru ksheenam?" I don't know from which movie this is taken. I will learn. One always learns. People like to tease, especially in Kerala. That's what is distinctive about Malayalis.

"Mon-ey Dinesha."

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