How Kerala will learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Charayam

Babykuttan (age 34) was in a word, ambitious. From a relatively young age, he exhibited a single-minded focus and result oriented thinking. This exceptional commitment to the end goal combined with a steely determination helped him quickly rise up the ranks of his chosen profession. He aspired to be the best at what he did, and developed the necessary skills and experience slowly over several years and atop countless coconut trees. Hard work pays off. In a short span of 5 years, he was the best toddysmith ( thengukayattakkaran ) in Central Kerala and had the abs and hairy legs to show it. Coconut plantation owners from far and wide, driven to desperation due to lack of workers thanks to NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme, India’s hairy brained laziness subsidy wherein laborers are promised a fixed daily wage irrespective of whether they work or not), flocked individually and in droves to Malappuram, his hometown, to beg and cajole him to come do the needful on their trees.  Some had, in the not too distant past, even offered to marry their firstborn daughters to him. All in all, he was at the peak, both literally and figuratively, of his profession. But amongst all this merriment, one thing continued to elude him – a chance at true entrepreneurship, an opportunity to give free reins to the hidden potential within him.

And then came the announcement. Kerala Government banned alcohol sales from over 300 bars in Kerala. Apocalypse could not have happened in a more terrible fashion. Well-bred alcoholics across the length and breadth of Kerala were shocked.  To put it even more mildly, they were devastated. The daily fix of rum or brandy, which the Kerala Beverages Corporation had hitherto promised them, stood cancelled at a moment’s notice.

Opportunity presents itself to true believers eventually. To Babykuttan it presented itself when he was at the pinnacle of his daily rounds. He wasted no time in heeding the call. He plucked his Micromax from within the folds of his lungi and made the call. Reception was excellent from atop the tallest coconut tree in the grove, the head of which he was gracing at that moment with his existence, hairy legs gripping the woody trunk.

” Mariakutty”, he croaked, his voice failing him with emotion. ” Take out the pots, pans and tubes. We are going into the Charayam business “

Picture taken from
Does not give a fair representation of Babykuttan and Mariakutty- who are entirely the figments of my slightly tipsy imagination