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Is there a reason you chose to get a tiger tattoo?

A tricky Situation


Kshema Kurup, 21

From Kerala

Recited the story in their mothertongue, Malayalam

Many of the tales of folk and myth were ones recited to us by our father in the evenings he spared time to set with us at the dining table. In grandiose poses and a deep voice, he'd tell us a tale in a mixture of English and Malayalam - sneaking in our mother tongue to help us pick up words. Though we communicated mostly in English, this was his way to help us learn our roots.

 Most of these tales come with a moral, and this one in particular did not have any end but posed a certain predicament instead.

 A Namboodiri (high ranking Brahmin in feudal Kerala) after having a lovely sadhya at a small hamlet, set about walking off his meal in the jungle. It was in the late afternoon, as the lazy sun beat down on him, that the dear Nambo paid witness to a terrifying sight in thicket. Peeking from between two bushes, nested snuggly between two trees, was a long, striped, orange tail flicking about impatiently.

In a moment of panic, the old man grabs on to the tiger’s tail, protruding between the fork-like branches of a thick sturdy tree. In his desperation the Nambo pulls it tightly and holds on for his dear life. The tiger was now firmly wedged against the tree trunk and roars loudly, shaking the stillness of the afternoon air. But now the Namboodiri was in a fix - if he let go the tiger would pounce on him. But how long could he hold on before his arms fail him?

At this point, the story ended, leaving us with a funny situation in our head, and a lesson - think before you act.

"My mother passed away almost two years ago, but we were only able to scatter her ashes this year. Due to this, I found myself in Kerala and felt a strong need to form a deeper connection with my roots. I saw your project right after I’d come back, I signed up mostly so I could learn to speak more Malayalam."

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