Palakkadian Poonawalas

Work says “Beam Ashok to Pune” and here I am. Apart from eating unhealthily large numbers of Vada Paav at Rohit Vadewale in Aundh, I haven’t been doing anything particularly interesting. At least, nothing worth blogging about.

Have you reached that stage yet? When you start doing things simply so you can blog about it? Come let’s watch Saawariya. It ought to be good blogging material. Tandoori? Naah. Let’s try Keralite Vegan. Haven’t blogged about that one yet. Hey Hey. Here’s a hilarious poster. Take a snap and blog about it. Etc.

But we did meet some Palakkadians at Rohit Vadewale though. And 10 minutes of conversation later, I realized that science textbooks have been misinforming me and the average public about the definition of the Decibel scale. I am sure all of us remember “Rustling leaves” at close to 0 dB and Jet take-off at 140 dB. But the real truth has been hidden from us.

All of you remember the famous Black or White Michael Jackson video? Especially the intro part where Macaulay Culkin turns the volume knob from loud -> louder -> loudest -> Are you nuts? Well..the camera missed out one more level beyond that on that knob – Palakkad Iyer.

So, in the interest of promoting accuracy in science education,


It would be an understatement to say that they are, on an average, slightly loud. I would strongly urge the author of the wikipedia article on Palakkad Iyers to update it to indicate this fact.

Note to Palakkad Iyers: No offense is meant, only mild malice is hinted. Let’s just say that this one more on the list of Great Indian Stereotypes, that includes ‘Noon Sardarjis, Garish Gults, Miserly Madrasis and Unctuous Keralites among others.


Leave a Comment

  1. on a slightly different note, how do you say that PI’s are loud? Did you encounter this or is it a hype? I am just trying to understand the post.

    Although 1/2 PI myself, I am not offended !

  2. I think it was Seshan who once said about himself and his ilk: “A palakkad Iyer is a cook or a crook”. Yeah? Dunno.
    My maternal family is swarming with them.They speak too much Malayalam and watch Asianet to alienate local Tamils with Bhavathees and erusheris, and back home the Mallus dismiss them as “patammar” ( I think the Malayali equivalent of pappaaran).

  3. How exactly do Puneri Palacadias talk?

    Yenna kondhey, kai zhala?

    Aye, onnum illai maami. Zhevan chaapittelaa?

    Agga bai, ithra cheekram aaru chaapiduvaa. Innaikku ungaathula yenna koottaan?

    Special onnum illai kettela. Chaadham, zhunkha, amti – ambudu thaan. VareLaa?

    Ai goh. Dho kiLambeetain.

  4. One major stereotype of Tamils among Telugus is exactly the same – that they are too loud.

    In fact, in Telugu, Tamil is “Arawam” (like Telugu is Telangu in Tamil?). And Tamilians are “Arawam vaLLu”. “Arawam” can be split into two words –
    “A” + “Rawam” = That which doesn’t sound good/too jarring.

    And a silly joke that keeps running when Telugus run into Tamilians is “Arey, veeLLu arawam arawam antoone arustaaru raa”. (Hey, these guys yell even while saying they don’t yell). “Arawam” in a weird irony also translates to “we do not yell” in Telugu :))

  5. Everybody,

    Bikerdude, :)

    Incidentally, there is a decent sized Palakkad contingent in my extended family as well, on the maternal side, slightly distant, but their decibel levels makes seem feel so close ;)

  6. Nice Blog.
    The way they say Oooh’
    at top of their voice
    is their speciality.
    can you guess what is
    KHUSHNAM’ in PIs language.

  7. [disclaimer] The author is in no way related to the following content and the subject matter of the comment is what the author has heard ;-) [/disclaimer]

    Well i can give a brief history of the word “arawam”. Its a PJ^2

    When lord Rama was returning from Lanka on “Air Lanka” of that time, borrowed under GNU/GPL from Ravana.He had a quartret of monkeys. { mesa thinks its chatter of monkeys} mostly war veterans along on the flight.

    Bored of the standard inflight entertainment, and even lousy air-host ;-) . They began a discussion about the Gulf or Palk Strait War and making too much noise.

    The co-passenger comprising hitchhikers and crazy brit passengers ,complained to the host.When Came flight marshal L.Hanuman who asked the monkeys to keep quite and maintain restraint.

    The monkeys being what they are did not listen,the flight control of Chennaipattinam decided to land the flight and carry them for further investigation.

    On landing the flight was surrounded by agents of namma Chennai CRPF and they were escorted out.

    While going out all the monkeys shouted “memu arawam” { We wont shout”} and so the name stuck to the localites.

    Ps: I do agree the story is confusing at whom it takes a Dig at.but neverthless

  8. Hilarious write-up :) I’m a PI and I completely agree with you!! I’ll let you in on a secret – PIs are much louder over the phone :-)

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