Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Where are you going?

The ethereal feel of the evening didn’t last long. Who was I to escape the coconut-ty query, “Where are you going?” My spirit was shattered and my eyes strained to decide whether the question I heard was an oasis of opportunity or a mirage of hopelessness.

But why bring in the coconut into philosophical enquiry one may ask? Not if you were a Keralite, a Mallu, a Malayali. For the people of Kerala, one swears by the coconut. Never the less, it makes me uncomfortable because of its structure. Every bit of a coconut can be used to make something or the other; it’s husk, shell, the nut, everything. So a coconut-ty question is one which you can’t figure out, one which suggests the husk, the shell or the nut!

Anyone who has been to Kerala or to a place inhabited by Keralites would have experienced the moment when someone passes by and asks in one swift swish of the famed Mallu blade (tongue), “where are you going?” Alterations of this are “when did you come?” or “when are you leaving?”. Harmless queries one should say but like the coconut, it leads to countless questions in one’s mind.

Where am I going? It’s another matter that by the time we are ready with an answer, the person who asked is long gone. In several cultures these are the questions which are not meant to be answered. Those who try to answer them resemble those who will plunge into the depths of the ocean not wanting to come back to the surface because of the lack of an answer. So tell me……”Where are you going?”

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