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...It’s a mix of cultures here at Malayalathanpatti, a 160-year-old Malayali settlement in Tamil Nadu, about 10km from the temple town of Madurai. At 83, Chellammal Chella to friends and family still drives Onam celebrations here. Children gather around her to listen to Onam songs, elegies to a time without sin or treachery. “Onapookalam and onasadya are the most important features of Onam even here,” says Chellammal. “My real name was Bhagirathi Nair and I had to change my name to Chellammal, as most people over here couldn’t pronounce my name properly. Such are the changes we have to go through to blend into a place far away from home,” she says. Though more than willing to adapt to the environment around them, these villagers are also vigilant about their original identity. “Our style of dressing is not at all like Tamilians. One significant difference is that our faces are never smeared with turmeric,” says Rajammal, a former nurse. ...TOI on Sept. 10, 2016, 7 a.m.