God’s Own Country

The history behind this post is 4 years… Four years ago, yours truly wrote and acted in a skit for her school annual day.. Here it is, unabridged and uncensored…
Don’t blame me if you can’t read it through, the promised post WILL come up! I am just at blogger’s end!

*Insert thick Mallu accent*

Characters

Foreigners

Brian (Australian)

Katherine (American)

Aaron (British)

Indian guide

Vendors

Souvenir Saleswoman

Auto driver

Police man

Politician (well, that’s me!)

Dancers and assorted minor characters

(Scene: A market place in Kerala, India where some vendors are displaying their wares. Some Indians are standing there enquiring about the various items on display. A bunch of foreigners arrive on the scene along with their tourist guide)

Guide: And this is one of the most magnificent sights in Kerala. God’s own market of God’s own country… One of the sights you never should miss.. The hustle and bustle of a cheery market in the heart of the city.

Brian: Hmm C P Chinnapaswamy mate…(with unnecessary stress at *a*) Melbourne seems to be more hustly and bustly to me.

Guide: Please Mr. Williams if you can’t understand my name don’t murder it. I am rather fond of what my parents christened me..

Katherine: Yeah! But that’s what your tag says. (Points to the name tag)

Guide: So it does Miss. Katheriga…sorry Katherine.. OK anyway this is the main market place and it is my duty to show it to you. As you can see there are a lot of rare artefacts on sale and you are getting a bargain on it.. (To himself) Poor people.. Paavum.. they don’t know what they are in for..

Aaron: Good!! Mr Guide will you give us some time here to talk to these natives and get to know the culture of your beautiful country a bit better? There seems to be so many facets to this place and we are not getting any pleasure out of aimless wandering.

Guide: Marvellous idea Aaron. Ok you people are on your own for this shopping ok?

(The tourists take out big bulky books that say *Rapidex Malayalam Speaking Crash courses* and *Ten Steps to Talking Effective Malayalam*)

Aaron: I get to practise my Malayalam.

( all of them ponder over their books and soon close it)

Katherine: We will refer it when time comes hmm look at me gonna talk to that girl selling those weird masks (goes to one vendor)

( starts sign language…Gestures with her hand asking *what?* and then brings it to her face showing a *mask* The girl stares at Katherine, amazed. She repeats the signs and bursts out laughing)

Brian: Heya Kathy mate I don’t think that she understood your language.

The girl: You talk English….well why don’t you talk in plain English then rather than making some idiotic signs.

Kathy: You talk English? Why didn’t you say do at first instead of staring at me doing all this?

The girl: You never asked. I am a MA in English Literature see? (shows them her certificate) anyway all tourist books say that Kerala is the most literate state in India. More than 95% of the population knows how to write their name in TWO languages.

Guide: (ironically) And that makes them “literate”

Kathy: Why do you carry this certificate around with you?

The girl: Just in case I get a job and go to the Gulf while I am selling these kathakali faces.

Aaron: Oh so that’s what they are eh? What’s Kathakali by the way? Wait while I refer the Lonely Planet. Ok here ….Aw holy ghost.. its a dance form. Fierce too by the looks of it.. What are these people doing here getting tattoos on their faces for? Cool!!(turning to the guide) May we see this dance?

Guide: Hmm first of all that’s not tattoos but paint.

Kathy: Aww dude now I understand.. That’s like Red Indian war paint… Only difference is that you real Indians enjoy it as dance…

Guide: Err Kathy your wisdom leaves me speechless. And Aaron we will see this dance in good time…

Brian: OK mate. Anyway I am going there to those vendors who look like they don’t know English.. to brush up my knowledge of Malayalam.

(Walks over to the vendors with a book in his hand and thumbs through it)

Kathy: Isn’t it rather hot here guys?

Aaron: What should a person do here for a good refreshing drink? (refers the book) Hmm well there you ho I am feeling thirsty….Enneke vallam ku.. ku.. kuddikyan tharramo?

Vendor1: Vellum? You want water… thanni? Of course

Aaron: No not water coconut water (gestures up to show a coconut palm) ah THENGA vellum

Vendor1:Ahh karrikin vellum.. very very nice but me assistant go.. put coconut.. down.. hole in one…straw.. long long process saar… I give nice people nice Pepsi.. Coke can open drink….. yummy

Aaron: Hole in one? What’s he playing.. Golf? And why do you want me to drink that stuff that I get at the neighbourhood supermarket..

Vendor1: Good for you Mr….. very very good

Brian: When in Rome do as Romans do.. or in this case Kerala

Vendor2: (interested) What he say?

Guide: hmm that’s bad… ayaal parannu romayil arrekyum bol romanmardakutte cheyu…

Vendor2: ente yaeshuve!! avar maarpapaye ariyum? But they in Keralam now

Aaron: KLM?????? More like in bedlam!

(souvenir seller approaches them)

Seller: Saar buy these earrings for your wife.. or girl friend…..or any loved one. Actual cost Rs1000 . For you I give it at Rs500!!!

Guide: 250

Seller: 450

Guide: 200

Seller: 350 last offer

Guide: 125

Seller: Saare ente vaiyatathe ittu adikyaruthe

Brian: What did she say?

Guide: She told me not to hit her on her stomach.

Brian: That sounds painful mate and not gallant! Ok what’s the price of those ear rings?

Guide: She said she will give it for Rs125

Seller: No! Rs350 take or leave it…

Guide: Rs200 last offer

Seller: (shaking hands) Done! Here, saar, your earrings… can I assist you in any other way?

Aaron : Definitely old gal… any more bargains?

Seller: Saar, this mask which we get for Rs1000 we sell it to you for Rs800 at a great loss of Rs200

Guide: She has a great tendency to put extra zeroes where required.. for her gain of course..

Kathy: (comes running) Okay I will buy it.. (pays the money)

Aaron: Hmm Mr. C P Chinna. Now what? What ought we to do? Go visiting any temples? And what’s our transport? Surely not walking again? What about caparisoned elephants?

Guide: You forgot the procession, did you? What do you want to have: The Trissurpuram? In which case we ought to have some drumrolls and bugles too.

Brian: Why? I thought that Indian elephants were found tame and that every house has a pet elephant.

Guide: (snaps his fingers) What do you want to have on the streets? An elephant jam? People have no place to park their cars even and you are talking about elephants. Next thing you will be asking me is if I can do the Great Indian Rope trick.

Aaron: You mean you can’t? Aww golly old chap I was counting on you to deliver..

Vendor1: (to vendor2) Ayal engenne guide inte poruthe ennum? Doesn’t he know that calculators have been invented already

Kathy: OK We get the hint!! So we cant have elephants. So I guess that we can’t have palanquins either? What are we going to see again? Temples, palaces…..?

Guide: The zoo and the planetarium. The museum too.

Aaron: But that we can see in Britain too. We didn’t have to brave a day’s flight and 5 and a half hours’ worth of jet lag to see here

Guide: You want to see temples ok! (turns to a vendor) where is the nearest temple?

Vendor: Nearest Temble down lane.. for Krishna (phone rings) Sorry phone tring tring! (takes up the cellular)

Guide: Nanni

Aaron: So near? And how can that poor vendor afford a cellular?

Guide: As was once said by some poet… I forget who… there is no scarcity of temples in India for a person who cares to look.. As for the cellular, they make enough money! Fishermen carry it out to the sea as well.

Brian: We still lack transport!

Guide: Not to worry only! Autorickshaws are by the thousands here (off stage sound of auto) Aw that’s full.. that’s occupied too

(Entrance walking side shows. Guide looks relieved)

Guide: the cultural pageant comes to us.. The migrating dancers……..

Kathy: I hope they are going to dance some Mohinattam or that Katha kali.

(start dancing rock and western. The guide enjoys it. The foreigners are looking visibily startled, Suddenly a woman enters hurriedly. She is a politician)

Kathy: What the heck is happening here? Where are all the classical dances that the guide books say we can enjoy in India? Chee chee… go away we have no money to give you.

Politician: This is a memorable date in the history of Kerala. I Foolemall Devi, the president of the JFK party and chief minister elect, have decided to act as special enforcement officer for all the people of Kerala to look up and emulate. No more long nights out or noise on the streets.. no more hooch tragedies… The self proclaimed messiah of the masses has FINALLY arisen. Weep not Kerala This is the nemesis of evil

Kathy: I do hope she ain’t no super hero. Because she is a spoilsport.

Guide: No she is a well known politician…

(the dancers leave the stage, one of them furtively picking up Aaron’s bag on the way out)

Brian: This is definitely NOT what I expected!

Aaron: What about the vast culture that India boasts about?

Guide: You had a glimpse of it. They were dancing western dances to Indian Film music. What a glorious amalgam…Unity in diversity and all that.. (gets all worked up) Like the merging of the house boats and the snake boats!

Kathy: SNAKES????????

Guide: Snake BOATS! They are the racing canoes of Kerala!

Kathy: Hmm ! Well I guess this trip WAS an experience!

Politician: Kerala is always an experience unto herself.. The people, the bounties of nature, the resourcefulness of the state…….

Aaron: Ok we go….. Hey WHERE is my bag?

Guide: It will be there somewhere. I mean where can a bag that size disappear?

Aaron: Do you think those dancers???!!!

Guide: Oh no!

(borrows a cellular from one of the vendors and phones the police after much debate. Offstage sound of siren. Policeman comes rushing in)

Policeman: (a tardy salute) You called saar? (to Aaron) This is the polite, Organized, Loyal, Indelligend (!) , Courteous, Efficient Kerala POLICE reporting saar.

Aaron: yes officer! I want to report the theft of my bag by some gang of wandering street dancers!

Politician: I dream of a country where no one is a slave.. aww sorry wrong occasion

Ok I dream of a Kerala where no one’s bags are stolen by any other man. Especially such a dastardly crime as this: The theft of the bag of one of the foreigners who blessed us with their gracious presence. But friends (addressing the vendors) suhurthukale I promise you that I will leave no stone unturned if you elect my party “JFK” to the government. In the upcoming elections you will know whom to vote for…. The foot…….

Vendor: What she say?

Guide: (automatically) Oru kallinem baki vechchekyatilla.

Politician: I ask you again (to policeman) Should people have their valuables taken away from them…VOTE JFK VOTE PEACE. (shouts slogans and hands out some banners)

Kathy: JFK? John F Kennedy?

Guide : No The Just For Kicks party. Very popular in state. This is Foolemall Devi, the president of the party.

Policeman: Madam please let me ask the questions!

Politician: Go ahead police. remember that my eyes are forever there where injustice is seen! hmm Mr. Aaron Nasmith? What did the bag contain?

Policeman: Please madam let me do my work in peace.

Politician: (louder) I will NEVER be quiet when atrocities are heaped on innocent tourists!!

(is pulled away by Kathy out)

Policeman: ok a description of the bag!

Aaron: It was a big hiking bag blue in colour.

Policeman: what were its contents??

Aaron: well clothes and books, my journal, and my slippers of course not counting the sunscreen lotion tan block, moisturiser , astringent and all that.

Policeman: (looks up in surprise) Any valuables?

Aaron: err yes…. some artefacts like some coconut shell masks and shells…very valuable to me

(Vendors look at each other, disgusted with Aaron.)

Vendors: Pishakan, what a miser…….

Aaron: Hmm I am sorry!!! (sarcastically) I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth!

Vendors: Silver spoon. We, none of us here had silver spoons in our mouth at any time… we eat with our fingers so there!!!

Guide: OK u people if you were NOT born with silver spoons in your mouth then give my fees Because otherwise I might never see it again. And I have two small mouths to feed (gestures with his hands to indicate small children) and two big ones too.

Brian: You Malayalees are all dyed in the wool frauds. I feel that watching Discovery is better than coming here for a first hand experience with all of you people. We are splitting…. C’mon mates! God’s Own country *hmmphhh* It should be named the Devil’s very Own people…

(They exit)

Guide: They forgot to pay me……. (runs out) hey………. my fees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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13 thoughts on “God’s Own Country

  1. Rockus

    Its a good write for a 11th std gal. I liked it but the ending was a bit too rushed and cliched. A lot would have depended on the actors. Believe me they make or break a good skit!

  2. LI

    Hmm ,Since mallus are known for strikes , a little bit of communism or unions would have added more spice to the skit. Wanted to know one thing – @ last you got howls or claps? If you had got clapsthen the actors would have performed well.

  3. L

    Well.. yes ppl refuse to believe that india has changed..!! They still want the snake charmers on their latest visit.

    Good play I must say..!! Enjoyed reading..!!

  4. >|' ; '|<

    hey shrutz…is kerala that bad huh…

    theres one thing that we shud knw..we the Devils can hold our own ne where cos theeyil kuruthathu veyilathu vaadilla 🙂

  5. Interesting, the subtle nuances of a post-colonial people who lost their sense of proportion. The absurd tourism orientation. Only a highly sensitive girl must have noticed that, herself a victim though, most likely an NRI Malayali born and brought up in the US. Trying to belong at two places, failing, but taking it as fund, story of our times.

    How old r u now, and wer, curious

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