One of the most sensational Malayalam songs of the Lockdown time, “Pani Paali” is not just a song or a simple rap that talks about a boy who dreamed of a succubus preying on him. The song has won the hearts of many for its musical perfection and rhythmic presentation, hitting professional competency. But apart from its surface, the song has to be put into deep introspection for understanding a very common yet ignorant phase of life that everyone has faced.
The Kerala culture still walks on the foundation of Collective minds rather than individualism. In the song we see the existential crisis being employed by a man who has been worn out with his dissatisfied life. To put it simpler, while it comes to the age of early adulthood, men are expected to grab a job, preferably a government job, settle up with their lives, oops! wives, taking responsibility for their respective families. Because of this construct, anybody who doesn’t fit in this is considered being a failed wanderer. This song also denotes the population of people who are misfitting to the above-said construct naturally facing an existential crisis.
While introspecting the lyrics we can find the description of a bored person desperate to sleep. The song begins by claiming that the situation (not being able to sleep) is out of order (Pani Paali). To meet this problem, there are many ways in which he distracts himself, to mention a few- playing PubG and Ludo, watching YouTube videos, etc., moving on to some psychological efforts- overthinking, fear of loneliness, anxiety, irritation by sounds, and stillness. On a concluding note, as everyone does, the speaker exclaims or probably curses his fate- all these are very common, especially during teens, adulthood, or during the transition from one to the next.
Heading to the fantasy part of the song, let me not forget to denote the great Psycho Analyst, Sigmund Freud, and his work “The Interpretations of Dreams“. In simple words, he states that the fears and desires of a person are suppressed down into the person’s unconscious mind, which can/may later appear in the dreams, thus fulfilling those desires and fears through sublimation. Here in the song, we find an exhausted, confused, and irritated person having his desires of good sleep and fear of loneliness. In his dreams sublimation is through the character Yakshi, which is a very common tale in every Kerala household- where Yakshi is a female demon who wears a white saree, having lustrous hair, sharp features especially molar teeth, who is thirsty for blood, wanders during nights, lives on Pala and traps young men. The latter part shows the modern Yakshi who finally reveals her motive to the young man and he instead of running for his life agrees to her terms so that he can sleep peacefully.
The second part of the song being pure fiction is true to its entertainment part, but what about the reality that gave rise to the fiction? Teens and Early adults are finding it difficult to fit into the box of social construct becoming heavily stressed and exhausted. Just think of people being extremely drained during their age of maximum productivity. To not forget, this song also reminds us of the psychology behind the new generation minds which can help us in analyzing recent deaths due to phone/gaming addiction. Think of those exhausted, irritated minds who found their peace only in their games where they felt accepted and rewarded while in the real world, they found themselves as total misfits. The media reporting news regarding teenagers should be more diligent and inclusive about age and psychology. Even the parents, teachers, and other social communities are ignorant about the same and blame youngsters who end up in life is messed up. Thus, the Pani Paali song is a reminder to the generation about the so ignored psychological as well as social realities of the Era that require utmost attention.