In one of my earlier articles, I had written about the different types of Tambrahm mamas we encounter in our day today lives. This article was well received and many said that they could relate very much to it. That in fact emboldened me to start this “Tambrahmism” series of articles where I started writing about different aspects of Tambrahm life and quirks. Much later, I wrote Part -2 of the different mama types to cover some more personalities. If you have not read those, please read them here (Part -1) and here (Part 2).
One of the types of Tambrahm mamas which I missed was “Saapatula kutham kandu pidikara mamas” which is also quite a common type. In fact if you ask mamis, they will say all mamas fall in this type. It is now widely known and accepted that Tambrahm mamas by and large are “Saapattu priyans”. They are so passionate about food that it also makes them very intolerant and nit pickers in matters of food. Whether at home or outside, you cannot stop a mama from judging the menu and food and delivering his judgement even if he has not touched a karandi in years.
Usually the rant starts with the menu itself. “Innikku enna, verum molagoottal thaana? Oru Rasam kisam kidayaatha?” For mamis, making molagoottal doubles up as a kootaan and a side dish and hence saves time and effort. It is equivalent to Upma for breakfast. If nothing else works out, Upma is always the omnipresent substitute, quick and simple to make. Same with molagoottal for lunch.
Mama: “Innikkum Upma’va? Oru Puttu/kittu pannina nanna irukkum”
Mami: Aamaam. Erkanave lockdown’la pootindu irukkom. Oraalukku ippo Puttu venamaam!”
After the menu, mama’s critique extends to the making and starts with the rice itself. “Enna innikku chaadam vegaama vethu vetha irukku?” Or “Enna innikku chaadam ore kozhanju irukku?” Enna mor kootaanukku Jaundice vantha madiri manjal kooduthala irukku?
Verumarisi adaila thenga pallu podalaya?
Then it gets to the taste and it is usually – “Enna rasathula uppu jaasthiya irukku? Sambhar’la perunkaayam orediya thookindu irukku? Even the curd that sets itself is not left out. “Enna thayir urayave illai? In the earlier generations, mamis got used to the rant, just ignored and kept quiet. But these days, mamis have their own pointed quips which land like precision guided missiles.
For the Sambhar’la perunkaayam question, the answer more likely from today’s mamis would be, “Naan konjama thaan potundu irunthen. Ungamma thaan Sambhar’la innum konjam pottukalaam’nnu sonnathu”! What seemed a wicket taking yorker has been despatched out of the park over the bowler’s head.
Similarly if the mama’s critique is “Enna, paal payasam konjam kozhuthundu irukku?” (Meaning it’s thick), the response would be “Ellam correcta thaan irukku. Ungalukku thaan konjam kozhuppu jaasthi aayirukku. Pona blood test’la cholesterol level jaasti’nnu kaamichuthe!” One more time, the mama has been “mankaded” that too with prior warning!
Of course, thenga pallu comment meets with a deadly answer always. “Namma palle innikko, naalaiko’nnu irukku. Ithula thenga pallu vera venama?
As I mentioned earlier, mamas cannot stop reacting to food because of their passion towards food. Also, one should blame it on their genes. Even if they don’t cook, most of the mamas score very high on theory as far as samayal matters are concerned. And even if they don’t go near the kitchen to save their lives, they will know what is “kambi paagu” consistency and all.
Tired of listening to “Suppudu” like critical comments for their samayal, I have often seen mamis issuing challenge to mamas – “Ivalavu vakkanaiya pesarele…. Oru naal samachu thaan kaattungalen…” This is like a deadly Doosra. Either you hit out or get out. There could be two scenarios here. One, the mama doesn’t accept the challenge to which mami’s reaction will be like, “Theory therinja mattum poraathu. Practicalaavum panna therinjurukanum!” Second, mama sportingly accepts the challenge and gothavula iranga thayaraagirathu.
I imagine the second situation and it will go most probably like this.
Mama: “O.k, enna menu venum?”
Mami: “Ithu verayaa? Yetho Pattappa, Kochi Mani parambara’la vantha madiri enna kelvi? Ethu panna varumo, atha pannungo”
Mama now takes the cue from mami’s book and decides to make what else but Molagoottal so that he doesn’t have to make Kootaan, Thoran and all separately. One Molagoottal, salad and one pickle will do the trick for a full meal along with thayir sadam.
Mama starts the cooking ordeal with cutting the vegetables which is preceded by a barrage of questions “Ithu enga irukku? Athu enga irukku? Yen kathi ivalavu monnaiya irukku?”
Mami: “Samayal panrathu oru naalaikku. Athukku kathi ivalavu sharp’a iruntha porum!”
The response cannot get sharper than this!
Mama: Thengai irukka?
Mami: Thengai thuruvi fridge’la vechurukene. Athaiye use pannungo.
Mama: Athu sari pattu varaathu. Fresh’a thenga chorandi’na thaan taste correct’a varum.” Mama is now pushing his luck by displaying his strength in theory.
Mami: “Okaanthu turuvungo…. Enakenna. Thenga filterukku antha side’la irukku.”
Mama starts the work with Sanjay Subramanyam’s Kharaharapriya on the loop in his ears and of course singing along.
Mami: Samayal panratha ippo ethukku paatellam? Athuvum onga kara kara voice’la?
Mama: “Keertanai Kharaharapriya’ aache?”
Mami: “Joke sahikala! Innikku mattum illa… neenga eppo paadinaalum Kharaharapriya thaan, athuvum srutiye illaama!”
Mama: “Nee ingarunthu po. Naan ellam pannittu koopadaren. Appo vantha porum.” Mama doesn’t want mami to breathe down his neck while he struggles with his experiments, so to say.
Mami: “Seri, naan kulichuttu varen”!
Mama reaches out to the Arisi dabba to take out rice for keeping in the cooker. To his bad luck, the lid is loose and before he could realise what happened, rice is all over the kitchen. Now, the next task is to clean up the mess before mami comes out of the bath. So, the next few minutes goes in assiduously perukking and porukking the rice grains onnu vidaama from the floor and dumping it at the “bottom of the dust bin”. After it’s all done, a few additional minutes are spent in removing any evidence whatsoever left of the rice spilling episode. Mama is now in the mode of a murderer cleaning up all the evidences from a crime scene. I think this trait was what was showcased superbly in Michael Madana Kama Rajan in that epic “Meen” comedy scene!!
But as they say, every criminal always leaves a clue without him realising it. So, when mami comes back, her first question is, “Enna nadanthuthu inga? Door’ukku pinnaala arisi ellam kidakku?” I have always felt that most of the mamis are most qualified to be forensic experts and part of crime investigation departments in the world.
Mama: “Aaru unnai inga vara chonna? Inga onnum nadakallai. Nee hall’ukku poi WhatsApp paathundu iru.”
Mama has now cut the vegetables for Molagoottal and kept it in gas with water for boiling. People who cook regularly know that it is advisable not to keep the stove in full burner but in medium always. Mama kept it in full burner and is now busy thuruving the coconut with his back to the stove. Soon, there is a burning smell which has now reached the adjacent room where mami is checking her WhatsApp. Mama, though in the kitchen, hasn’t yet caught up with the burning smell, merrily drowned in Sanjay Sub’s Nalinakanthi now.
Mami: Enna aduppula kariyarathu? Adi pidikara smell varathu???
Mama by now realises that his deep diving into Manavyalakinchara has killed his Molagoottal and puts off the gas. Mami now has had enough of it.
Mami: Neenga samachathu ellam porum. Naane pannikiren. Neenga maarungo.
Multi-tasking is an art perfected by mamis into science.
She takes over the kitchen and makes good the Molagoottal with the partially burnt out vegetables etc.…. Salad is cut. One Puleeinji is also quickly added to the menu. And pappadam is fried.
It’s time for lunch now and …
Mama: Enna, molagoottal’a uppu konjam kammi’ya irukku?
Pic Courtesy: Cinema Express