In South India, Navarathri is observed with much fervour to celebrate the victory of good over evil (for that matter most festivals) – in this case Goddess Durga’s victory over Mahishasura. May be because of this, Navarathri is closely associated with the ladies at home. 9 days of action when the Mamis and ponna porandavaas dominate the proceedings in any Tambrahm household. (Rest of the days also Mamis only dominate, but in this week openly and completely!!!) Those 9 days, Mamigala pidikka mudiyaathu. For a change, this piece is about Mamas and Navarathri.
These days, thanks to FB, the Golu tradition is back everywhere. Accordingly, the grind for the Mama starts 2/3 days ahead of the start of Navarathri. “Enna Mr, antha paran lenthu Golu bommai yellathayum eduthu kudungo.” Then one by one instructions fly past the Mamas thick and fast. The Mamis don’t need any SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) documentation for all these. They can just reel out one by one even in the middle of the night! Then other instructions follow:
Antha bommai yellathayum dust panni vechudungo. Naan poi, intha gift items, ithyaathi, ithyaathi items ellam vaangindu vanthudaren! Innikke pogaata nalla items onnum kadaikaathu! Apparam antha Golu padiyaiyum set up pannidungo. Naan vanthudaren!
The next 3 hours while the Mami is busy shopping, Mama is immersed in the above tasks. The son who religiously gives company for watching cricket matches appo paarthu will be missing in action! “Dei, Suresh! Inga Konjam varayaa? Intha dust pannina bommai yellathayum onnu onna eduthu vei paakalam” Illa Appa, enakku naalaikku cycle test. Naan padichindu irukken! Ennaala ippo vara mudiyaathu! Of course Mama’s generous advice of “illada, Konjam break eduthukko” falls in deaf ears!!
By the time the Mami is back from the shopping expedition, the assigned tasks are somehow done. In his athigaprasangithanam, the Mama attempts to do more for which archanai is soon to follow!!
Mami: Yenna, ivalavu varshama namma Golu vekkarom. Golu padi odd numberaa thaan irukkanumnu ongalukku theriyaatha? Kashtam! Yen ippadi 6 padiyaa erect panni vechurukkel?
Mama: Enakku theriyum! Antha last padi la clamp odanjuduthu! Giri trading la poi vera vaangindu varanum!
Mami: Ippo thaane vaanginom! Warranty la freeyaa kudukka chollungo!
Mama: Warrantyaa? Vaangi 3 varusham aachu? Normala ve antha Giri Trading la ellathukkum rules pesuvaa! Ithukku freeyaa ellaam replacement thara maatta!
Mami: Anyway, neenga ippave poi vaangindu vanthudungo. Naan Bommai yellam arrange panren!
Mama’s plan of a nice afternoon siesta goes for a toss! Also the 1st 15 overs of the 1st innings of the one day match – Govinda! The son’s sly remark of “Appa, naan record panni vekkaren! Don’t worry!” only adds to the irritation!
By the Mama returns, to his surprise the entire Golu set up is ready! Yenna, enna yetho clamp odanjuduthu nnu sonnel? Ippo paarungo! Mama of course asadu vazhinjundu, “Antha odanju pona clamp enna aachu?” Neenga enna Mechanical engineero? Antha kaalathula merit la REC admission kadachuthu, Gold Medallist nnu ellam sonnel?? Oru clamp fix panna mudiyala? Naan Suresh ta sonnen. Avan pathhu nimishathula panni kuduthuttaan! In Mama’s mind, son Suresh resembles villain Nambiar now! Dei, matchayum miss panni, ippadi vaangi kattika vendirukku!
“Enna, parkukku yethavathu oru nalla idea kudungalen! Neenga dhaane veetula Creative person!” This is how the Mama usually falls in the trap of giving ideas which any way get rejected and finally Mami’s will usually prevails. But anyway since he has been anointed as the Creative head of the family, he has to reel out a few ideas which he does obediently!
Mama: Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan theme la panninaa enna?
Mami: Modi Bhakt nnu ellaarum ninaika poraa!
Mama: Oru village, school, pond,.. appadi??
Mami: Rendu varsham munnai idha dhane panninom, maranthutela?
Mama: Namma Kitta niraya Animal bommai yellam irukke. Zoo maadiri???
Mami: O.K. I got a good idea! Oru Graamam maadiri pannittu, anga Swachh Bharat theme use pannidalaam!!
Mama: Sari! OK. Ithaye pannalaam (Manasukkulla – Naanum idha thaan sonnen!!!)
So finally the Navarathri starts and gets going! The Mami diligently works out a schedule for different groups as per age groups and other criteria and sends out invites thro WhatsApp inviting people to come home for Navarathri and take Vethala Paaku. That complex algorithm also takes care of not inviting rival Mamis on the same day even by mistake! The Mama of course has no clue on this algorithm and how the ladies have been grouped and invited!!! So conversations like this during Golu time are not of any surprise in a Tambrahm veedu.
Mami: Itha paarungo! Innikku namma ponnoda friends oda mothersa koopiturukken. Oru mundaa baniyanum, veshtuyuma nikkathel. Decenta oru shirtum pantuma nillungo!
And Mama: I thought y’day was all senior Mamis. How come today one senior Mami turned up?
Mami: This is senior Mami but part of my Zumba Dance group. Today I have clubbed the Zumba and my school groups!!
In this complex scheduling, the Mamis also have to allocate time for visiting other Mamis’ houses and collect their entitlements! In spite of the very minute and accurate planning and scheduling, these situations do invariably happen. Year after year.
Mami: Naan 8th floorla Lalitha Mami aathukku poyittu varen. Innikku yaaraiyum koopidalai. But still, yaaravathu vantha, konjam pechu kuduthindu irungo. Ennakku oru message podungo. Naan sattunnu vanthudaren! Pona varsham antha Kausalya Mami yoda periya vayatha paarthu – Pregnant polarukku? Congratulations nnu sonnele, athu madiri yellam olaraama irungo!
In similar situations, some Mamas are very smart and engage in conversations with Mamis knowing well the topic which works.
Mama: Enna Mami, US la payyan kitta konja naal irunthuttu vanthel polarukku?
This one liner is enough to start a flood gate of dialogues from the US return
Mami. For the next few minutes till the house Mami comes, the guest Mami will hold forth on Navarathri and Golu what she experienced in the US last year same time!
Guest Mami: “Anga mostly ellaarum “Green Navarathri” thaan. Ellam recyclable items thaan use pannara.”
So on and so forth. Mama wants to say,”Namma naatuleyum I know many Mamis who recycle everything from Vethalai, to Paaku to Cheepu to Kannaadi to return gifts”, but stops short of saying as the wife’s warning face which resembles Sudha Chandran’s character in some serials fleetingly appears in the front!!)
By the time house Mami is back, Mama has already got a complete download on the cultural scene in the US!! Of course the Mami firsts checks if there was any embarrassment during her brief absence kannaaleye!! Smart Mamas try to escape from all this by coming late from office during Navarathri. Or if at home, remain consigned to the bedroom till the vetthala paakku action gets over in the hall. The previous year an Extra TV in the bedroom was fixed precisely for these situations. Mama can continue watching Arnab Goswami without any break! Which suits the Mamis also. Otherwise more embarrassment can ensue like these:
As the Mama enters the house though late, still a few Mamis are around. So, the house Mami has no option but to introduce the guest Mamis to her husband.
Guest Mami: Enakku thaan ivara theriyume. FB la thaan naraya joke ellam post pannindu irukaare!
You can imagine the looks of the house Mami hearing this and what that means – Naane FB la ava kooda friends illa. Neenga connected aa????
And more stories like this. By the time the Navarathri comes to an end, the Mamis are a tired lot and the Mamas a relieved lot!! Relief of course only after all the bommais are packed properly and put back in the paran safely!!!
Happy Navarathri! Ongaathu Golu readya?