In the aftermath of the government’s decision to demonetise old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, jokes and meme have been doing rounds on the Internet. Each state and community has been interpreting the demonetisation move in their own way and has been having their own share of fun. One particular joke however has been quite popular that targets people from Kerala. The joke, taking a dig at the people hailing from the state, says, “Request to PM from Kerala: Either ask liquor shops to accept old notes or ask banks to sell liquor. We can’t stand in two lines each day.”
If you think you can’t just pass it off as any other joke circulating on social media that has little resemblance in reality, think again. A picture of people in Kerala standing in lines have gone viral, but for a completely different reason as opposed to other photos of queues going viral.
The picture shows two lines, one before an ATM and other before a liquor shop – “Videshamadyam” written in Malayalam. On closer look, one may note that the line outside the ATM is actually shorter than the other.
Prashanth Nair, the district collector of Kozhikode in Kerala, posted the picture, that originally appeared in a newspaper, on his Facebook wall on Saturday with a strange observation and people just loved it and could not agree more. Nair noted that the basic difference is not the length of the queue but in the appearance. While the people standing in front of the ATM had their lungis unfolded, people in the other line had it folded up. He wrote: “One queue is lungi/mundu up and one is lungi/mundu down.”
As practice and norms go in the southern state, people keep their lungis down or unfolded, when visiting temples or places where decorum and sanctity must be maintained. On the other hand, people usually fold the lungi up for convenience while walking or engaged in physical work.
Nair’s post has gone viral in a very short time and the comment section has been buzzing in affirmation. One user commented, “Down with demonetisation! Up with alcohol!” while another wrote, “The one with lungi down will make their lungi up if the transaction is successful.”
— Jonathan Fernandez (@just1doctorwala) November 18, 2016
It looks like the people before getting money are in their humble and sombre self and as soon as they have the money, and they feel they have the power – the power to consume. Kerala is known as a heavy consumer of alcohol.
So, the big question is: Is the joke about Kerala true? Well, only time shall tell.