Wednesday, October 26, 2011
‘Kuzhappamilla’ is a word very common in Malayalam. There will not be a Malayali who does not frequently indulge in this word. ‘Kuzhappamilla’ is ‘Not Bad’ in English. Malayalam is the language of the southern state of Kerala in
. Malayali is one who speaks Malayalam. I am a Malayali. India
I have often wondered at the usage of the word by people. It begins from morning and lasts till the moment we go to sleep. As one gets up in the morning a question is put to him, “Did you have a good night's sleep?” Instead of a straight ‘Yes” or ‘No’ ‘Kuzhappamilla’ is blurted out. Then it is the breakfast. It is ‘Kuzhappamilla’ again.
Once you are at your work place, School, College or when you are travelling you can hear this word from each and every one you come across. The lesson is ‘Kuzhappamilla’, the performance in the examination is ‘Kuzhappamilla’, your new dress is ‘Kuzhappamilla’, the work that you have completed with great effort is ‘Kuzhappamilla’ and the excellent food you have had is ‘Kuzhappamilla’. There is no end to it.
I searched for the meaning of the word. I found that it means ‘Not Bad’. I started wondering why something good is described as ‘Not Bad’. Though ‘Not Bad’ is nothing but good it is very difficult to prize out the word ‘Good’ from the Malayali. The explanation I could garner is that people are reluctant to call a spade a spade. People are not prepared to accept or acknowledge what they find good in others. They feel it a cardinal sin to speak well of anything in the world. The student blurts out ‘Not Bad’ on the examination he has taken because he is afraid what people will think of him in case the result is adverse. In a world where selection is through elimination the chances of success and failure are almost equal. ‘Kuzhappamilla’ comes out frequently to forestall an adverse result or an adverse comment or opinion by the majority.
If we probe further we can see that the mindset of the people is largely responsible for the expression. People feel that they are infallible. People feel that their opinion matters a lot in all that happens around them. They are highly self conscious. They feel that the world is looking at them and they cannot afford to fail. When success and failure are two sides of a coin and when the coin is tossed up high people do crave to be on the winning side all the time. ‘Kuzhappamilla’ is nothing but escapism from reality. It is putting off the inevitable indefinitely. ‘Kuzhappamilla’ circumvents issues. The escapist approach to issues has prevented the Malayali from viewing issues in the right perspective. The out come is obvious. It will be nothing but ‘Kuzhappamilla’.