An association that helps tall people in more ways than one

In a league of their own An exclusive club for 6 foot plus people in Kerala
news Tall Monday, June 27, 2016 - 16:53

When football legend Maradona visited Kerala, thousands and thousands of football-crazy fans gathered to catch a glimpse of the much revered star. What many might not have noticed would have been a number of tall and well-built men who stood next to the footballer.

Belonging to the aptly-named Tall Men Association Executive Force, these men provide celebrity security and crowd-control services.

The Force is a part of the Kerala Tall Men’s Association (KTMA). The only criteria for membership in this exclusive club is that one needs to be over six feet.

Tall Men Executive Force

The Beginning

Tall, thin and beautiful are three adjectives that sound appealing. But Sacaria Joseph, a retired air force officer who stand at 6 feet 4 inches, knew the advantages and drawbacks of being extraordinarily tall.

Thus he 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.

Assimilating tall people into society, finding them jobs, match-making and instilling confidence in many who are mocked for being tall, is what the association aims for. 

Six feet and five inches tall, KTMA state president Tigris Antony said that the organization had been a ray of hope for many people who were depressed about their height.

“We were tired of being called longlegs and beanpoles. Ready-made clothes and shoes are not available for our size. We cannot travel in small cars, and stretch our legs at cinema theatres and buses. Before joining this organization we just knew our drawbacks, but now assembled together we count 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

“When we appear in public kids and adults look at us with surprise on their faces. 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.

Protecting Maradona was not the group’s only endeavour. “We provide security to many events in the state where celebrities and VIPs participate,” says Antony.

In fact the security wing, ‘The Tall Men Association Executive Force’ rakes in the moolah for the association.

The association also helps members get hold of suitable shoes and clothes.  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. But now we ourselves started the service of finding perfect tall partners and it is working well,” says 6 feet 10 inch tall Shibu.

How can they then stay away from the spotlight? The members have acted in 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

“We are not sad anymore; our height is a gift from god. We do a lot of good deeds; we are famous. Tall and proud,” Kavitha concluded.

(A version of this story was published in Januaty 2015).