Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
Haritha John | The News Minute | January 9, 2015 | 8.10 pm IST When football legend Maradona visited Kerala, thousands and thousands of football-crazy fans gathered to catch a glimpse of the ‘hand of god’ star in his second visit to India, his first to Kerala. What many might not have noticed would have been a number of comparatively tall and well-built gentlemen providing security to the world-renowned sportsman. Belonging to the aptly-named Tall Men Association Executive Force, this is a vibrant wing of the Kerala Tall Men’s Association (KTMA) where members provides celebrity security, crowd-control services, and various other manpower services, including parking assistance. The only criteria, however, for membership in this exclusive club is that one needs to be over six feet. Tall Men Executive Force The start Tall, thin and beautiful are three adjectives that sound appealing. But for Sacaria Joseph, 6 feet 4 inches tall, a retired air force officer in May 1999, only he knew the pluses and drawbacks of being extraordinarily tall. Thus was started an organisation, under the banner of the Kerala Tall Men’s Association (KTMA) in 1999, bringing together the tallest men and women of Kerala under one roof. Currently, there are as many as 800 people from different parts of the State part of the association. Six feet and five inches tall, the KTMA state president Tigris Antony said that the organization has been a ray of hope for many people who were depressed about their heights. “We were tired of being called longlegs and beanpoles. Ready-made clothes and shoes are not available in our size. We cannot travel in small cars, and stretch our legs at cinema theatres and buses. Before joining this organization we just found out our drawbacks but now assembled together we counts our blessings” Antony said. The association, which has its units in 8 districts of Kerala has 70 women members. At six feet three inches, 32-year-old Kavitha, an advocate from Kottayam is the tallest of them. Difficulties in being tall The organisation claims that association activities have helped its members deal confidently with embarrassing situations they faced in everyday life, something that women members experienced even more. “When we appear in public kids used to wonder at us and say “oooh”, the most embarrassing moment we used to face. Later I started avoiding public events and travelling. But once I joined here in the association I met many like me and we decided to be confident and proud of being tall, ” said Kavitha, an advocate. One of the most active non-political associations in Kerala, KTMA’s top priority is the complete welfare of its members is the association’s top priority. Protecting Maradonna was not the groups’s only endeavour. “When Maradonna came to Kerala we provided the security, like that almost all the major events in the state where celebrities and VIPs participate we provides security and crowd control services, and our services are much appreciated too” says Antony. Activities by The Tall Men Association Executie Force acts as one of the major income to the association. It was only when we realised that when we started counting our blessings, that we realised that we are blessed people, he said talking about how the association’s members learnt to convert their difficulties into advantages. Kavitha says that getting hold of basic amenities like suitable footwear, readymade dresses etc … are their day to day difficulties and the association takes interest in these problems and solves it. However, not surprisingly, the most important service offered by the association is in the field of matrimony. “Finding a suitable match is difficult for six-footers and seven-footers. Both men and women face this problem. At some point of time we used to get depressed, but now we ourselves started the service of finding perfect tall partners and it worked well” says 6 feet 10 inch tall Shibu. The association has also, in a way given back to society by making a mark in charitable activities too. Considering their physical appearance, the association has significantly contributed in the field of cinema. The members has acted the Malayalam films ‘Adbhutha Dweepu’, ‘Kabadi Kabadi’, ‘Crazy Gopalan’ and ‘Akashayatra’, and TV serials, ‘Kayamkulam Kochunni’ and ‘Parayi Petta Panthirukulam.’ Association members with actor Jagadish in the film Athbutha Dweepu “Now we are not sad, our height is a gift from god. We do a lot of good deeds; we are famous, all because of our height. We are proud now” Kavitha concluded Tweet Read: Wheelchair bound, this gutsy woman has travelled to 11 countries, large chunk of India Read : Meet the man who transformed a barren island into a forest in Assam

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