He is 100 and She is 99…Meet the Kerala Couple celebrating 82 years of Marriage …

The Kottayam-based couple studied in the same school and later went on to marry.








Ask Madhavan Nair and Meenakshi Amma for how long they have been married, and 99-year-old Meenakshi Amma creases her forehead, as if lost in deep thought. Sitting beside her, 100-year-old Madhavan Nair does not need much prodding to remember the year they got married – Malayalam calendar year 1111.

Meenakshi Amma nods in agreement.  “See, he still remembers it so clearly!” she says, breaking into laughter.

(Malayalam calendar year 1111 is the year 1936. According to Malayalam calendar, 2018 is the year 1193.)

The duo celebrated 82 years of their marriage in December 2017 and the milestone also coincided with Madhavan Nair’s 100th birthday.

In their house near Pallikkathode in Kerala’s Kottayam district, Madhavan Nair – who used to be an active member of the Congress party – and his wife Meenakshi Amma, continue to live their “happily ever after” to this day.

When TNM visited the couple, Madhavan Nair and Meenakshi Amma shared their eight decades-long love story. Although the duo first met in school at the age of 8, little did they know that the coming years would bring them together. After a few years of studying in the same class, both Madhavan Nair and Meenakshi Amma moved to different schools.

Together in youth and old age

Having known each other since a very young age, Madhavan Nair and Meenakshi Amma have retold their wedding story many a time to their children, explaining how theirs had been an arranged marriage and not a love marriage. The couple have five children together, all of whom stay in Kottayam.

“It is true that we knew each other from school. We had seen each other, but hadn’t spoken much. What do school kids have to talk to each other at that age? Years later, our families decided to get us married. So that’s how it happened,” Madhavan Nair says.

Asked about the wedding, Madhavan Nair’s recollection is matter-of-fact: “It was a simple ceremony, no pomp and show like today’s weddings. The wedding took place at her (Meenakshi Amma) house. I tied the thaali around her neck, gave her the pudava (saree) and there was a meal afterwards. That’s how simple the wedding was.”

After a moment’s pause, Madhavan Nair continues: “During our times, nobody got married in temples like now, and young people never eloped! The weddings used to happen at the brides’ house.”

When asked whether they feel the weight of 82 long years, the two of them smile. This writer was charmed to see Madhavan Nair’s toothless grin while Meenakshi Amma guffawed loudly, displaying her perfectly aligned teeth.

The years where Madhavan Nair was involved in party and social work had not been easy on his family, he admits. The odd working hours and the long absence from home did not exactly bode well for a harmonious family life. But Meenakshi Amma is in no mood to send her husband on a guilt trip.

“People would come to get him. He would go with them and share whatever knowledge he had. It never bothered me, since I knew he was going on work and not for anything else. He would return home after work for sure,” Meenakshi Amma says.

However, Madhavan Nair has for long withdrawn from his years of active social life, and now spends most of his time at home. While minor health issues do trouble Meenakshi Amma, Madhavan Nair likes to dismiss age-related woes.

Despite having to rely on a walking stick, the 100-year-old is young at heart.

“I walk around the house and the yard at times. With this walking stick, I can walk as far as I can. But I am not so young any more, I have no teeth left and I don’t think I look good with this toothless grin!” Madhavan Nair says.

Visuals by Lenin CV

Source….Megha Varier in https://www.thenewsminute.com


Legends of Onam: Let us all welcome Maveli, the righteous king!…


Onam is one the most anticipated festivals celebrated with much fanfare and merriment by the people in Kerala, irrespective of one’s caste or creed.

Usually coinciding with crop harvests in the region, the story behind how the festival came into being goes all the way back to Vedic and Puranic ages.

The mythical King Mahabali, considered to be one of the greatest kings to have ever ruled Kerala, is believed to ascend to Earth from the netherworld to meet his subjects once every year.

It is his homecoming that is celebrated as the festival of Onam, as we know it today.

The king remains quite popular in Kerala even to this day, as testified by the folk song, Maaveli Naadu Vannidum Kaalam (When Maveli, our King, ruled the land), that speaks of his reign being one where all were equal.

According to the traditional legend, the king’s growing popularity amidst the common people became a rising concern for the jealous gods, Indra in particular.

According to Hindu beliefs, when a king or an emperor has a considerable number of fair and just deeds to his credit, he has the power to dethrone even Indra, who is the god of the gods.

Threatened by Mahabali’s rising greatness, they decided to hatch a scheme against the king and rope in the supreme god Vishnu.

Taking the form of a poor Brahmin monk named Vamana, Vishnu approached the king and asked to be granted a boon. Mahabali, who was known for his altruistic qualities, readily agreed to the monk’s request. 

An ancient illustration depicting Vamana casting the king to netherworld. Source: Wikimedia
Vamana wished for a parcel of land that he could cover in three paces or steps. Amused by such a trivial request, the king granted his wish. However, the ‘simple’ monk soon transformed into a giant – and covered all of the king’s lands in just two steps.

Where to put the third step? The king could not go back on his word. Having nothing left that he could pledge, Mahabali offered his head to the monk as the third step. Vamana’s final step pushed the king to the netherworld, thus robbing him of his earthly commitments and his throne to heaven.

Vishnu offered the king a chance to visit his kingdom once every year, for his attachment to his subjects was well known even amidst the gods.

And thus, the festival of Onam came into being, marking the homecoming of the noble king, who is lovingly called Maaveli by his people.

Different rituals are practised even today that celebrate the reign of the king, which is considered to be a golden era in the history of Kerala.

Interestingly, despite the role that Vamana had in the banishment of Mahabali, he is not written off as a villainous character in the state.

In fact, one of the major instalments of the festivities includes statues of both figures. These are circulated in homes of people as a representation of the king’s visit as well as the god’s.

While the statue of Mahabali is known as Onathappan, Vamana’s form goes by the name of Thrikkarayappan, the lord of the land covered in three paces. And both make way into the floral arrangement of Pookalam on Pooradam, the eighth day of Onam.

And as the month of Chingam falls by year after year, the people of Kerala continue to await the visit of their beloved king and seek his blessings.

Source….LekshmiPriya .S in http://www.betterindia.com






This 27 Year Old Fooled India ….

Arun P. Vijayakumar

Arun P. Vijayakumar has not been recruited by NASA.

An Indian man fooled everyone into thinking he was on his way to be a top scientist at NASA.Described as a “news personality” on his Facebook page, 27-year-old Arun P. Vijayakumar said he had been selected to join the US space agency after it relaxed its citizenship conditions, Indian English language paper the Deccan Chronicle reports.

His claims had been excitedly picked up across the country, with Indian newspaper The Hindu running a full interview.

In it Vijayakumar, who hails from the southern region of Kerala, said how he was “thrilled at being accepted as a research scientist.”

He even went as far as talking about studying at prestigious MIT – and was off to explore “extraterrestrial elements with the use of remote sensing” with his revered spacial expertise.

Vijayakumar told the press he had come into contact with US organizations while studying at local engineering college the Bhopal National Institute of Technology.

But his fabrications were outed this week, with the Deccan Chronicle saying he had been “proved to be an imposter” and revealing all.

It said the man untied a “bundle of lies” for the news team, having “fooled everyone for some time by claiming to be closely associated with the US space agency.”

Manorama Online, based in Kerala, reacted to the findings – and said he was only discovered, amazingly, when Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi took interest and his fame really took off.

It explains Vijayakumar was then caught by a Facebook Organization known as the “Netizen Police,” run by top officials and which investigates online fraud.

SOURCE:::: JOSHUA BARRIE  IN http://www.businessinsider.in


” Food For Thought …” !!!

Illustrations: Sreejith R. Kumar
The HinduIllustrations: Sreejith R. Kumar

At marriages, all seems to be fair in the love for food and the war to reach it

“Do you know there were only 80 guests at the wedding?” A friend who had attended a marriage in the United Kingdom was describing the experience. He was full of praise for the function, but appeared a little bewildered too. “Only 80, can you beat it, and that included the families of the bride and groom. Eight tables in all with every guest allotted a particular seat.” After attending marriages here where half the population is invited and the other half gatecrashes, he had every right to sound astonished.

“Can you change seats?,” I asked, intrigued. This sounded like booking tickets for a movie. “No way,” he replied. “I can’t imagine something like this happening in our part of the world.”

I can’t, either. Kerala weddings have always been known for their brevity, but the austerity that used to be associated with them is gone. Everyone’s invited to witness the extravaganza. The hall is huge, the decorations unique – event management has seen to that – the bride is covered with gold, silk and flowers, in the order of visibility, while the groom looks self conscious and uncomfortable in an ‘Indian’ costume. He need not be, for the guests have come with their priorities firmly in place. The bride, the groom and the ceremony are mere trappings; the feast is the thing.

The beating of the drums and the ‘nadaswaram’ rising to a crescendo signals the tying of the ‘thali’ around the bride’s neck. It signals something else for the guests – it’s the welcome meal bell that indicates it’s time to make a dash for the dining hall.

The most coveted seats in the wedding auditorium are those nearest the doors to the gastronomical heaven and many canny guests have taken strategic positions there, already half out of their seats in their eagerness to sprint at the right moment.

Before you know what’s happening, almost all the guests rush out as if the fire alarm has been sounded. And then begins the jostling, the pushing and the shoving. The wedding feast is a great leveller. Class, caste and gender distinctions are ignored while good manners are thrown to the winds in this mad rush to sit reverentially before the banana leaf. The well heeled rub eager silk covered shoulders with the down at heel, men ungallantly push women aside while women, not to be out done, return the compliment – sexual harassment is not an issue here. Children cheerfully bring down old grandmothers, students think nothing of aiming well directed elbows into whomever stands in their way and all seems to be fair in the love for food and the war to reach it.

Those with the swiftest feet and the quickest reflexes manage to gain entry and the doors close leaving high, dry and hungry, a huge group that is left ruing its lack of initiative. These days it’s not just feasting that is important but telling the whole world you have feasted.

The other day I noticed a young chap taking a picture on his phone of the leaf after food was served. “Whatever for?,” I asked my husband. “To put up on Facebook, what else?,” he replied. One can imagine the likes that would appear and the comments: “Wow, three rows of curries! You lucky dude!”, “I’m hungry!”, “Oh for the taste of Kerala. Homesick!”, “What’s that interesting looking item, middle row, third from right?”…

The hungry ones, watching hawk eyed from the glass doors and windows, perk up the moment they see the buttermilk being served. “Over!”, they announce to their ravenous companions. Before the first group can exit, they rush in, causing a stampede of sorts, while the catering manager and the long suffering uncle of the bride seek vainly to bring some order into the proceedings.

“Allow us to clear the tables first”, they plead, trying to close the doors but in vain. “So what if the used leaves are just being cleared? We aren’t finicky or squeamish, are we?,” the self appointed spokesperson of the group asks rhetorically, as all scramble for seats and watch with satisfaction the leaves being taken away, fresh ones being placed and curries being served.

If you chance to glance at the stage as you leave with a burp, you might find two people in a corner with lost expressions on their faces, waiting resignedly to be taken for lunch. They are the bride and the groom.


(A fortnightly column by the city-based writer, academic and author of the Butterfingers series)

Keywords: Inside view columnmarriage foodKerala weddings