Category Archives: Tambrahm

Mamas and Samayal!

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

Vaccine Aayyacha?

The latest addition to conversation starters among Tambrahm mamas and mamis is “Vaccine Aayaacha?”  In fact, this is fast replacing the other popular and seasonal kusalam vicharikara questions like “Enna Soukiyama?”Verenna Visesham?”, “Jathagam eduthaacha?”, “Maattu ponnukku ethavathu visesham unda?”,Ganga Snanam aacha?” etc.… which have been ruling the Tambrahm conversations for a long time. But, as of now nothing else matters except the vaccine issue.

If by chance the answer to the “Vaccine aayaacha?” question is a “No”, then it is like the end of the world. “Ennathu… innum oru dose’a eduthukalaya? Naan rendu dosum correcta eduthundaachu.” For the mamas and mamis, the accompanying feeling is akin to getting the Engineering college seat for their kids. If the answer is yes, then the immediate question is of course, “Covishield’a, Covaxin’a?” This is similar to – “Unga pasanga Foreign’la irukaala, India’la irukaala?” question these days!

If the answer is “Covaxin”, then finished. “Covaxin’a? Yen atha potundel? Covaxin’a WHO approve’a pannalayaame innum…”  The other person has to hide is disappointment and frustration in facing this question repeatedly these days.  “Naanga Pona centre’la Covaxin thaan stock irunthathu. Pottundutten…”  And in some consolatory measure will add “Aana paarungo…. Namma Modi’ye Covaxin thaan potundaar.

“Naan rendu dosum Covishield pottundathanaala, next year ennoda 2nd ponnoda 1st delivery’kku America pogarathukku onnum problem varaathu…” In one sentence, mama has now conveyed more than one point. That he took Covishield. He has taken both the doses. His one of the daughters is in America. That the daughter is in family way. And they will be travelling to America to help the daughter during the delivery! Covaxin mama, now feeling relieved to get a chance to change the topic of conversation, quips in. “Oh, congratulations! Very good, very good. Aachu illiya, kalyanam aagi oru naalu/anju varusham…?”  To this the Covishield mama, “Unga kitta mattum thaan cholli irukken. Mathavaa kitta ellam ippo cholla vendaam, kettela.” This is so typical of Tambrahm mamas and mamis. They themselves will let the “family way” news out and will then request not to tell others!

And the vaccine conversation continues. “Enna side effect ethavathu irunthutha? Enakku konjam body pain mattum irunthathu oru naalaikku.  Dolo edutha naala fever ellam varalai.” To this question, the Covaxin mama senses an upper hand. He emphasises that “Covishield’a compare panratha Covaxin’la side effect’e illai theriyumo? Enakku oru problem varalai…!”

“Ungaloda rendu dosum aayidutha…?” Now for the Covaxin mama, apart from the frustration of answering questions regarding Covaxin, he also has to deal with the fact that due to shortages in Covaxin, he has taken only his first dose. “Enga..? Athu thaan stock’e illiye… Second dose baaki…” But that lament doesn’t stop the unsolicited advice that comes his way – “Rendu dosum eduthukkara vara jaakarithaiyave irungo”

Then comes the Government Vs Private question.  This is similar to “Unga connection BSNL’a, Jio vaa?”  “Neenga enga poi potundel? Naan rendu dosum Apollo’la poi than pottunden”. The Covaxin mama feels an advantage here and declares, “Inga Bombay’la BMC centre la thaan naan potunden. Romba convenient’a irunthathu. Tea/Coffee, Biscuits ellam kudutha.  Excellent arrangements. Athuvum free. Apollo’ la 1000 Rs mela charge panni irupaane…?”  Then he gives a lesser known funda about vaccines. “Eppozhuthume vaccine’na government thaan better. Avaa kitta daily fresh stock irukkum. Polio/BCG vaccine’leye itha pathirukken.”

Now the score is tied at 2-2 between Covishield mama and Covaxin mama. Now the vaccine question extends to the family. “Aathula mami’kku vaccine aayidutha? Naanum wife’um ore samayathula pottukka vendaamnu 1 week gap’la eduthundom”. This is another chance for the Covaxin mama to rub it in. “Covaxin’la thaan side effect onnum kidayaathe… Naanum mamiyum chernthe vaccine eduthundom!

“Innum pasangalakku ellam vaccination aagala… Paiyannukku 1 dose baaki. Maattu ponnukku rendu dosum baaki… Intha Covishield’la rendu dosukkum nadupura gap’a jaasthi panni ore confusion pannitaa.  Oru madiri rendu dosum mudinja thaan konjam nimmadhiya irukkum”.  Covaxin mama joins the crib, “Vaccine shortage inga. Atha naala ellarum waiting. Namma minnaala summer vacationukku oorukku poga ticket book panrathukku railway counter’la wait pannuvome…  Counter open pannina 10 nimishathula… sleeper ellam poyidum.  Athu madiri aayaachu. Site open panni 10 second’ la slot ellam poyidarathu…  Cowin App’ kku badila “Coloss” app nnu per vechurukalaam. Colossal waste of time, I say! Intha App irukke, full’a OTP thaan. “Only Time Pass”!

For Covishield mami who is also listening to this conversation, this is the time for her to pitch in as well. “Intha madiri problem ellam America’la illave illai. En ponnu cholraale. Anga veetukku veedu vanthu kooptu kooptu vaccine podaraallam. Just intha Corona varathukku minaala December’la thirumbi vanthom. Illana ippo anga thaan irunthiruppom sugama.  Ithellam oru vazhiya mudinja thaan, adutha January’la yaavathu America pogalaam. This couple is presently in “Love America” stage in what I call as “Hate-Love-Hate cycle” as far as America is concerned. For more details on this cycle, please do read my earlier article America poyirunthappo….!”

Now Covaxin mami will not let this go. “America’la vaccine certificate paper’la thaan tharaalaame. Inga romba convenient.  Vaccine pottunda odane, phone’leye anupichudaraa. Enna antha Modi photo’va avoid panni irukkalaam”.

Covishield mami of course has the last word or last laugh. “Ennavo pongo. Kali muthiduthu… Ippo Vaccination than romba mukkiyamaana qualification aayaachu.  Matrimonial advertisement’la kooda “Wanted Vadamal bride for my son” ‘kku bathila “Wanted Vaccinated bride for my son…” nnu vanthudum polarukku!”

On that note, Ungaloda Vaccine Aayaacha?

Corona kaalathula kacheri season!

It is that time of the year when Carnatic music is in the air usually in Chennai. The end of December is when the season gets to its peak with Tambrahm mamas and mamis trying to schedule their days around the choice of Kacheris on offer. In my earlier article – Innikku Aaru Kacheri?” I had written about the buzz in a Tambrahm households during the season. If you haven’t read it earlier, please read here before proceeding further.  But this year, the “Season” buzz is missing due to the Corona after effects which are still lingering in the air.

I know of many mamas and mamis who make it a point to be in Chennai every December to enjoy the music season. And those who live in Chennai and do their annual or biennial visit to America to be with their sons and daughters usually make it a point to return to India before November. This serves three purposes. One, to escape the summer in India and be there. Two, return by Oct/November so as to escape the harsher winter in the US. Three, to be in Chennai for the music season.  To go a step further, there are mamas and mamis who drop a hint to their NRI sons and daughters to plan the pregnancies in such a way that the delivery will be around March to May time frame. By this, they can be of support to their children for six months during delivery and still come back in time for the margazhi music season!

This year though, the entire season has gone virtual with no live concerts but kacheris are being streamed into our homes. Of course this has left a lot of mamas and mamis utterly disappointed and despondent.  “Ennomo pa, music season la oru kacheri kooda poi kekka mudiyaama poyiduthu!” and accordingly the conversations this year have turned different. Like this:

Mama: Enna thaan virtual streaming naalum, oru live kacheri paatha madiri illai.

Mami: Ithaye ethara vaati chollindu iruppel? Etho intha situation’leyum kacheri kekka mudiyarathe… sandosha padungo! Aathuleye okkandhundu kekka mudiyaratho illiyo?

Mamis are always practical and tend to make do with what is available, you see.

Mama: Athu seri. Aanaalum, kacherila friends’a ellam meet panni, varthamaanam pesi, kacheriya analyse panra madiri varaathu.

Mami: Neenga analyse panrathu sabha canteen menu’nnu nanna theriyum!  Sabha’kku porathe canteenukku thaane. Ennoda friend Bhagiyam chonnale. “Ungaathu Mamava moonu naal sabha canteen la paathen” nu, pona vashe!

Mama: Neeyum thaan en kooda varaai, kacherikku. Oru Kaapi kudikarathoda seri!

Mami: Naan varaatha pothu, enna mezhukellam – bajji, bonda’nnu thinnundu iruppel! Cholesterol report paatha theriyarathe!

Mama: Seri atha vidu. Kacheri nerla kekkarache, raga alapanai pothu ragatha guess panrathula oru rasam. Inga virtual kacheri’ la first’e enna ragam’nnu pottudara…

Mami: (Mind voice) Aamaam, etho Semmangudi’yoda vaarisu madiri pesarathu…

Since it is all virtual, mamas don’t get to meet their friends and discuss about the kacheri etc…  This happens on the phone these days. Sample this:

Mama 1: Enna Ramachandran, neenga kacheri ellam kekkarela?

Mama 2: Virtual kacheri’nna free’ya thaane irukkanum. Ithukkum charge panraale? Aniyaayama irukku…  Nidhi Chala Sukhama’nnu ellarum paadarathoda sari.

Mama 1: Illai, virtual naalum avaalukku selavu irukke… Free’a pannina kattu padi aagathu…

Mama 2: Ticket’na vendaam. Intha varusham season’a skip pannidalaamnu irunthen. Paiyyan season pass pottu kuduthuttaan. “Yours truly Margazhi” la kacheri kettundu irukken.  By mistake avaa site la subscribe pannaama, YouTube la subscribe pannitaan! Nadu nadu vila ads’aa vanthu padutharathu!

Mama 1: Naanum season ticket vaangitten.  Paadaravaalukku minnala audience illaama paadarathu kashtam thaan.

Mama 2: Virtual enna puthusa? Minnadi ellam AIR leyum, Doordarshan leyum ippadi thaane kacheri pannindu irunthaa?

Mama 1: Athu correct thaan. Nethikku Sanjay Subramanyan kacheri kettela? Thodi RTP asathittaan!

Mama 2: Ketten ketten. Asaadhyama irunthathu!

Mama 1: Ippo vara youngsters’um nanna paadaraa… Ritvik Raja’nnu T.M.Krishna madiriye paadaraan.

Mama 2: Avan TMK oda sishyan’aache. Athe style. As expected, TMK oda kacheri Yours truly la illa. Avan thaniya Friends in Concert’nnu arrange panninaan. Oru Kacherikku 2500 Rs charge. Romba jaasthi. Athuvum Corona samayathula.

Mama 1: Naan TMK ‘oda kacheri kekarathaye niruthitten. He should talk less and focus on music. He should let his music do the talking.

Mama 2: I don’t agree with his views. Athanaala avan kacheri kekaratha niruthala. He is an exceptionally gifted singer, you see.

Mama 1: Athu correct… But he should not use his God given talent for insulting his own music fraternity! Ippo namma ethukku avana pathi discuss pannindu…?

Mama 2: Intha virtual kacheri’la oru irritation enna’nna nadu nadu vila link poyidarathu… Connectivity problem…

Mama 1: Enakku antha prachanai illa. Ambani zindabad. Jio connectivity nanna irukku. Innikku Ranjani Gayatri kacheri irukku. Eppadi irukkunu paarpom.  Virtual concert’ukku Voncert’nnu per kuduthirukaa.  Article padichelaa?

Mama 2: Padinoru manikku upload pannitaale… Naan kettuten. Ranjani Gayatri as usual very good. 

Mama 1: Sari – appo naanum kettudaren. Aamaam neenga chinna vayasula violin vaasipele… Ippo vaasikarathu undaa?

Mama 2: Wifu’kku aathula 2nd fiddle vaasikarathoda sari!

At the same time, mamis also have a different set of issues this year as can be inferred from their conversations.

Mami 1: Enna mami, eppadi irukkel? Kacheri ellam kekkarela?

Mami 2: Etho konjam konjam… Intha virtual season naala, namakku thaan vela jaasthi aayiduthu. Eppa paaru kaapi yum norukku theeniyum panni poda vendi irukku.  Anga Ragam Thanam Pallavi poyindu irukaracha inga murukku, thattai’nnu kadichu thinnuttu Ragam Thanam palvali’nnu paattu paadindu irukaar engaathu mama!

Mami 1: Aamamaam. Normal season’nna engaathu mama kaalangaarthaleye kilambi lecture, demonstration, kacheri’nnu ellam mudichuttu raathri thaan varuvaar. Aagaaram ellam sabha canteenleye nadakkum. Intha varusham veetuleye irunthu en pranana vaangaraar.

Mami 2: Etho advertisement varathe… Mylapore fine arts la canteen lenthu swiggy’la home delivery panraalaame… Try panninelaa?

Mami 2: Nethikku thaan try panninom. Tiffan ellam nanna irunthathu…

Mami 1: Appo naanum avar kitta sollideren. Enna venumo order pannikattum…

Mami 2: Nethikku Sudha Raghunathan kacheri ketten… Etho interest’e illaama paadara madiri irunthathu! Nanna thaan paadina…

Mami 1: Inime thaan samayal kattula vela koraiyume… Okkanthu kekkaren.

Mami 2: Ongathula entha site’la kacheri kekkarel?  Intha link, antha linku’nnu ore confusion’aa irukku…

Mami 1: Engathula antha Music Academy season pass eduthirukom. Etho adutha varshamaavathu intha Corona ellam illama direct’a Samajavaragamana kekka mudinja sari!

Mami 2: Correct. But, season’a cancel pannaama kacheri ellam konjam kekka mudinjuthe.

Pic Courtesy: The Hindu

Corona mudinju 1st Kalyanam!

It’s been almost six months now since Corona struck India. This also means that its six months since most of us attended any kalyanam, kaarthi in person. For Tambrahm mamas and mamis, it is a record which they would never like to boast of or want to repeat.  So hearing laments like these are common these days during phone conversations:

“Oru kalyanama? Kaarthiyaa? Corona vanthaalum vanthuthu, aathuleye adanju kidanthindu irukkom!”

“Antha pachai gopura border podavai puthusa vaangi vechen. Use panrathukku chance’e illama poyiduthu!

“Bank locker la irukara pandam ellam use panni maasangal aagarathu”

 “Oru vaaikku rujiyaa saddhi chappttu etthara kaalam aayaachu…?” (This of course is mama’s mind voice)

For most mamas and mamis who are retired and are now in the senior citizen bracket and mostly living alone, aathu functions are the only avenue to socialise, meet people and re-charge!  That joy has been deprived now, thanks to Corona.

In the meantime, some of them did get the experience of attending Kalyanams, Seemandhams Aandu niravus etc On line through live streaming/Zoom… I had written about the same in my earlier post – “Aathu vishesham over Zoom!” If you have not read it, please do read the same hereEppadi mute panrathu, eppo video’va cut panrathu, entha angle’ la phone vekarathu, Eppadi correct’a camera’va paathu atchathai podarathu… ippadi elllam athu padi.

“Enna thaan live streaming aanaalum, nera attend panni, ellarayum meet panni, vambu pesindu, nalla saddhiyum chapattu vantha madiri varuma?” All mamas and mamis are desperate to attend a family function in person once the corona is dead and gone.

So, what will happen post Corona and life gets back to normal (whenever that is), in all Tambrahm families when the 1stkalyanam happens? This post is a chinna karpanai about that.

First of all, the 1st kalyanam in the family post corona will have a huge attendance as everyone will use the opportunity to attend that wedding. Aachanukku peechaan, madanikku udapiranthaannu ellarum varuvaa to bless the couple.  Caterer kitta oru 25 -30% number normal’a vida yethi chollanam. Return gift ellam konjam jaasthi vaangi vechukanam. Hall’e konjam perisaa paakanam.  Overall budget konjam jaasthi plan pannikanum!

And some of the scenes and conversations at the venue (say in Cochin) be like:

Mama 1: Vaango vaango! Ippo thaan corona ellam illiye. Katti pidichundu welcome pannalaam. Vaango! Nera appadiye poi kaapi kazhinchudungo!

Mama2: Aamamaam. Namma Kochi Mani yoda, kaapi kudichu etthara naal aachu. Athukapparam thaan ellam!

 Mami1: Vaango Vaango Mami. Mask’oda vanthirukkel. Ethukku ippo mask ellam? Athu thaan Corona ellam aayache?

Mami2: Illa irukkara podavaikku ellaam matching’a blouse oda, mask ayum thechu vechundiruken. Use pannalaamennu thaan! Apparam innamum konjam jaakrathaiya irukarathu nallathu thaane. Naan kayila oru sanitiser bottle’um vechundu irukken!

Mami1: Minna ellam, intha America returned aal kaara thaan kayila sanitiser bottle vechuppa India varathha. Ippo intha Corona naale namma ellarum vechukum padiya aayidithu!

Mama1: 10 maasam kazhinju oru kalyanam attend panrathu ennakku record aakkum.

Mama2: Naan ennoda marumaan’oda pullai’yoda kalyanam attend panninen. Corona samayathileye panneutta.  Naanga oru 50 per mattum irunthom.

Mama1: Entrance’la panneerukku bathilaa sanitiser thelichurupaale? (Laughs to his own joke)

Mama2: Ellarukkum kaiyila oru bottle sanitiser kuduthutta. Ennakku Veshti Thundukku bathila Vashti, Mask kadachuthu! Hall’a normal’a starters serve panrathukku 10 per chuthindu iruppaale… athu madiri sanitiser vechindu oru 5 per hall’a chutthi chutthi vanthindu irunthaa! 

Mama1: Enna Rajamani? Innikku kalyanathoda live streaming unda??

Mama2: Athu thaan. Ellarum nera varalaame. Apparaum ethukku antha chelavu?

Mama1: Illa, Coronakku apparum athu oru fashion. Kozhanthaikku kaapu katarathuna kooda, FB Live, Live streaming’nnu aayiduthu! 

Mama1: Unakku therinjutho lliyo. Namma Kolankarai Ramachan paavam Corona’vila poyittaan.

Mama2: News Kidachuthu. Avanakku matha complaint ethavathu irunthutho?

Mama1: Avanukku vayasu 50 thaan. Namma ellam thapichom. Antha Guruvurappan thaan kaapathinaan.

Mama1: Apparam ennikku palakkadukku return? Innikevaa?

Mama2: Illai. Naan ingirunthu Mankombukku poi, ellaraiyum paathuttu, kovilla nerchai ellam mudichuttu 4 nalaikku apparam thaan return. Ernakulam varaikum vanthathukku, ellathayum cover pannalaam illiya. Neenga eppo return Bangalore’ukku?

Mama1: US lenthu en periya payyan family’oda vanthirukkaan. Avaalukku Kumarakom paakanumaam. Resort yetho book panni irukka. Anga oru 2 night irunthuttu apparam return.

Mama2: Kumarakom ippo world famous aayaachu! Namma kutti kaalathula antha vazhiyaa ethhara thonai poyirukkom chumma? Ippo ennadanna…

Mama1: Antha Arundathi Roy oda book vanthathilirunthu Kumarakom famous aayiduthu.

Mama2: Yei.. Aval oru verum naxal’aakkum. Vajpayee vanthu ponapparum thaan Kumarakom famous aachu. Namma naatukku BJP thaan laayakku. Ippo Modiya paarungo. Corona vukku apparum Chinese Apps’ukkellam Aapadichu vechirukkaar.

Mama1: Correct. Modi panninathu thaan correct. Naan Made in China vaangaratheye niruthuetten.

Mama2: Intha lockdown samayuthula, aatha perukka oru Vacuum Cleaner vaanganama irunthathu. Made in India vaa illattiyum Made in China’va vaangalaye! 

Because of the lockdown and all, Tambrahm Mamas didn’t get the opportunity to discuss about politics in the last so many months. So it is natural that when they got the chance, the discussions would veer around Indian politics.

Of course Mamas whose sons and or daughters lived in the US and who were lucky to return just before Covid, were happy to discuss about Trump re-election and of course namma Kamala (Harris)

Mama1: Naan Madras’la irukarathha, Besant Nagar la Kamalavoda thatha Gopalanai naan paathirukken. Naanga ore kadaila thaan maligai saamaan ellam vaanguvom.  Apparam naanga ore Sabha la member. Kacheri la ellam paathirukken.

Mama2: Avaa amma oru Hari’yaa paathu kalyanam panni iruntha, Kamala Hari’nnu peru vanthirukkum. But ava Non-Veg aakkum.

Mama1: Joe Biden jayichuttaana, oru vela, Besant Nagar’ukku avanai kootindu vanthaalum varuvaa! 

Mama1: Nadaswaram aaru? Nanna vaasikiraan.

Mama2: Local party thaan. Intha kriti enna ragam? Corona thaane? I mean Atana thaane?

Mama1: Enna oi? Corona nyabagam’aave irukkel? 

Mama1: Vadhyaar Palakkad lenthu vanthirukaarame? Train la vanthaara illa Helicopter’leya?

Mama2: Athu Corona samayathula naala. Enakku antha payyanoda family’a theriyum. Athuvum Suhas Vaadhyar chumma pose thaan kuduthaar helicopter minnala ninnundu.

Mama1: Chumma oru jokukaga ketten.

Mama2: But aana, US la namma oru vaadhyar Chopper service vechu nadathindu irukkaarnnu Whatsup la padichen. 

Can Mamis be left behind in the conversations and they be like:

Mami1: Enna Saratha? Mattuponukku ethavathu good news unda?

Mami2: Intha lockdown samayathula ethavathu good news varumnnu ethir patthen. Onnum varalai. Intha varshamnnu Josiyar cholli irukkaar. Paakalaam.

Mami1: Ambalapuzhaikku mudinja kootindu po rendu peraiyum. 

Mami1: Enna, ponnoda Jathakam eduthachaame? Ponnu avale yaaraiyum choose pannalaya?

Mami2: Panni iruntha thevalaye. Neengale paarungonnu cholluetta. Ithu oru periya thala vali. Romba conditions vera. Ithu vendam, athu vendamnnu!

Ethavathu nalla varan iruntha chollungo.

Mami1: Local’aa illa America vaa paakarela?

Mami1: Ava ippo Detroit la irukka. Americannu thaan solluetta.

Mami2: Seri, ethavathu varan kidacha chollaren.  Avasarama irunthaa Elite Matrimony la pottu paarungo.

And the group photo session be like:

Photographer: Ellarum konjam close’aa nillungo. Ippo Corona’kku ellam bayapada vendiyathu illai.

Mama1: Enna Ganapathy, photokku varaama ippadi 6 adi thalli ninna eppadi? Social distancing’aa? 

Aren’t you also eager and desperate to attend that 1st kalyanam in the family?

Aathu Visesham over Zoom!

This Corona Virus has turned the whole world upside down. Things we thought would never function this way have now become a daily routine. No, I am not talking about all of us being engaged in BJP (Bartan, Jhadu, Pocha) activities at home for more than 2 months now. For so many years, some conference calls in offices would happen over Zoom. Ippo, olagame, Zoom la thaan odindu irukku!

These days, from business meetings (which is understandable) to school sessions to college lectures to Violin classes to Yoga sessions to cookery classes to Bharatnatyam classes and finally even gym sessions are all happening over Zoom! Will aathu functions that are time bound which cannot be postponed for obvious reasons be left behind? So, functions like Seemandham, Thottil/Peridal, Aandu niravu… have already started happening over Zoom.  I haven’t still attended any visesham over Zoom yet. I was thinking what if a function like Aandu Niravu happened over Zoom and this piece is a result of that karpanai!

Few days before the function which is happening somewhere in Chennai:

Wife: Intha lockdown naala even ennoda appa, amma, anna, thangai ellam functionukku vara mudiyaathu.

Husband: En side lenthum thaan yaarum vara porathu illa.

Wife: Ellarukkum Zoom invite anupichacha? Oru rendu naalaiku appuram, oru reminder anupichudu!

Husband: First intha, WhatsApp list ukku ellam anupichachu. Appuram, naalaikulla E mail list ukkum anupichuduven.

Wife: Zoom callukku, oru password pottudu. Ippo ellam Zoom la lot of security concerns’nnu cholra.

Husband: Yes. Yes. Rohit.Anduniravu@123 nnu password create pannitten.

Wife: Namma cousins ellam o.k. But periyavaalluku, Zoom la eppadi log in panrathu and other steps – oru chinna note create panni WhatsApp la pottudu.

Husband: Ippo ellarum Zoom’ la expert. Unga Appa/Ammakku venna puthusa irukalaam. Anyway suggestion taken. I will make a note.

Wife: Namma Vadhyaaroda confirmation vanthudutha? He is coming no?

Husband: Yes. But oru Junior vaadhyaar paiyana thaan anupuvennu sollitaar. He doesn’t want to take risk with Senior Vadhyaars it seems.

Wife: Yaarai aavathu anupicha seri. Marakaama society la permission vaangidu, Vaadhyaarukku.

Husband: I am waiting for the name of the Vadhyaar and Aadhar number. Adhu vantha odane, societykku e-mail anupichuduven.

Wife: Ethukkum, oru onnarai litre sanitiser, 10 extra mask, 10 set gloves ellam innikku Amazon la order pannidu.

Husband: Ethukku? Iruka porathu namma 3 moonu perum, vaadhyaarum. Ethukku extra Sanitiser?

(Wife followed the usual SOP for functions of ordering extra milk – just that the milk got replaced by Sanitiser)

Now over to the day of the Aandu niravu:

Wife: Zoom’a ON panniyaacha?

Husband: Vaadhyaar varattum, panren.

One very young junior vaadhyar comes.

Husband: Vaadhyaar, vaango vaango. First time varrel. Veedu kandu pidikarathukku onnum problem illiye.

Vaadhyaar: Onnum prachinai illai. Lockdown aanaalum google map work panrathe. Onga society thaan romba strict’a irukaale.

Husband: Yen, enna aachu?

Vaadhyaar: Phone la Aarogya Setu App iruntha thaan ulla viduvennu security sollitaan. Nalla valai. Rendu naa munaadi thaan, namma Modi solraar’nnu download panni vechen. Athula ‘Safe” nnu kaamichapparam thaan ullaye vittaan!

Husband: Sari, aarambipoma? Ellarum kaathundu iruppa.

Vaadhyaar: Enna manusha ellam Zoom la varaala? Ippo ella functionnum appadi thaan nadakarathu. Zoom aarambikarathukku munnaadi ungalakuu panjagachatha katti vitudaren. Atha ellarum paakka vendaame!

Husband: Ella Vadhyaar madiriyum romba tamasha pesarel. Sari, katti vittudungo.

When everything is set:

Vaadhyaar: Mama, Naazhi aayindurukku. Zoom’a start pannidungo. Namma 40 nimishathula ellathayum mudichu aaganum. Illa nna, call’a cut panniduvaan.

Husband: Cut aayiduthunna, ellarayum thirumba log in panna cholli irukken.

The Zoom call for the function starts:

From different parts of the world, in different time zones, birthday paiyanoda Thatha- Thathis/Paattis, Mama-Mamis, Athai-Athimbars, Chitti-Chittappas, Perimma-Periappas, many cousins and even one Kollu paatti have now logged in for the Aandu niravu.

The next few minutes,  a cacophony ensues:

Hi Amma, hello mama, namaskaram athimbar, Hi Cheenu etc etc

Naan pesarathu kekarathaa ungalukku?

Appa, neenga video’va ON pannungo, Blank’a irukku

Raghu, nee mute la irukka. Onnum kekka mattengarathu.

Cheenu, anga konjam light bright’aa aakku. Paatikku onnum theriyalennu cholraa!

Oru vazhiyaa, ellam settle aagarathukku oru 15 minutes aayiduthu.

Finally Vaadhyaar takes charge and starts.

Vaadhyaar: Appo Aarambikalama?  Naan pesarathu ellarukkum kekaratho illiyo? Ellarum ippo WFH’nnu Work From Home la irukkel. Ithu AFH – Attend From Home. Ithukku sila vidhi murai ellam irukku. Ellarum mute la irungo. Naan cholarathai gavanama kettu seiyungo. Chat’la pesindu irukapadathu.

Mami neenga vanthu ippadi vilakka yethungo.

Appadiye camera’va paathu rendu perum oru namaskaram pannidungo.  Camera East facing thaane?? Avaa avaa iruntha padiye, ivaalukku aasirvaadham pannidungo.

Thatha: Intha chinnavaal ellam settha antha pakkama nillungo. Namaskaaram panratha kurukka vara padathu!

While the function is going on in the Chennai house, others are in mute for now and having their own animated conversations.

Wife’s mother: Namma Cheenu voda Appa (Referring to the Sambandi) Veshti kattindu irukalamonno? Innikkum oru ara korai, shorts pottundu nikkaraare?

Wife’s father: Athukenna ippo. Zoom call thaane. Naanum oru shorts pottundu comfortable’a irukalamnnu thaan yosichen. Apparam, namma paatti paathanna kathuvaannu veduppa veshtiya kattindu irukken!

Kollu Paatti: Enna ithu, namma Raghu voda ponnu rendu perum oru pottu kooda ittu kaama, viseshathukku vanthu irukka?

Yarathu? Naalum kizhamaiyuma karuppu poo potta nightie’la? (Kollu paatti at this age has sharp eyes to identify all this, that too on the computer screen)

Mama: Avaalukku US’la ippo thoongara neram. Rendu ponnum chamathu ponnugal aakkum.

Athimbar: (Un-muting himself) – Vaadhyar, sankalpathula mandiratha maranthuttel. Konjam thirupi chollungo. (Muting himself)  Intha chinna pasangale ippadi thaan. Mandirangalai poora padikarathu kidaayaathu. Appo appo muzhunga vendiyathu!

In the meantime, younger cousins are chatting on the Zoom chat window!

In between, exactly after 40 minutes, Zoom cuts off the call and everyone had to re-join. Once again, audio kekaratha, video correcta irukka followed and the function resumed.

As part of the Aandu niravu function, the aayush homam starts.

Mama from Palakkad: Zoom la oru advantage. Homam aarambicha oda vendiyathu illa. Enakku pogai naale allergy!

Finally, the Vaadhyaar announces the Aashirvadham part.

Vaadhyaar: Periyavaa ellarum kaiyila konjam atchadaiya eduthukongo. Naan chollum pothu, phone camera meleyo, computer camera meleyo, atchadaiya pottu aasirvadham pannungo. Rendu atchadai porum. Alli pottu camerava damage panna vendaam.

After that is over:

Vaadhyaar: Ellarum anga anga iruntha padiye enna kudukarelnnu kaamichurungo, naan inga mandiratha chollikaren. Corona ellam mudinja udane marakaama, anupichudungo!

Rojano rojamaanasya, Shobano shobamaanasya kalyanaha… Thatha-Paati vagai aasirvadham kuzhandaikku oru swarna maalai,…,…

Chittappa-Chitti vagai aasirvadham , paiyannukku 1000 roobaai Amazon voucher!

And so on…

Vaadhyar: Appadiye kozhandaiyoda athaiyum, mamiyuma iruntha edathulenthe arathi eduthudungo! Paatum paadanam. 

With the Achaarya Sambavanai, the Zoom function comes to an end.

Cousin: (In a lighter vein) Cheenu, Appo saapaadu ellam??

Husband: Just wait pannungo. Lunch is ready. Inga irunthe, swamikku neivedyam panra maadiri, praanaya swaha pannidiren ungalukku! 

Vaadhyar: Sari, appo naan kalambaren. Enakku oru Zoomandham sorry Seemandham nadathi kudukka irukku, aduthathu!

Lockdown paduthara paadu!

The usually chatty and eventful day in the life of Tambrahms have become chattier and more eventful during these lockdown days.

“Innikku menu enna?” – Even during normal days, as I have written in one of my earlier posts, this is one phrase which will get the goat of mamis at Tambrahm households often.  Ippo kekave vendaam.  Due to the lockdown, mamis who usually manage the menu time table very efficiently using complex algorithmic formula that has been handed over by their ammas, are at sea in the past few weeks. Due to non-availability or shortage of key groceries and provisions, ivalavu varshama use pannindu iruntha technique ellam onnuthukkum ubayogam illaama poyiduthu!

“Oru ravai mattum aathula stock iruntha, ethara easy theriyumo? Kaarthala tiffinukku Upma oru naal, rava idli oru naal nnu pannalaam. Appadiye ravaiya vechu Pongalum pannalaam. Upma va konjam maathi oru naal Rava kichidinnu thatti vidalaam.  Apparam raathiri palagarathukku rava dosai panni oru naal samaalichudalaam. Apparam, saayangaalam enna tiffinnnu mama kekarache, rava kesariyum pannalaam! Intha ravai illaama thindaattama irukku. Intha essential items la first ravaiya manufacture panna cholli, supply panna thodanganam”! This was a mami talking to her friend who is stuck in Florida now. “Neenga yen kekarel? South Indian items ellaam inga Indian stores’la out of stock! Rava mattum illai, oru saamaan inga stock illa! India vula Ponni arisi, puzhungal arisi ithellam ungalukku kidaikume? Maava araichu vechutta idli, doasai nnu kadaiya ottalaam. Bread’a thinnu thinnu aluthu poyaachu, mami!”

Not only Rava. There are other such “God sent” items like Aval… which are also on short supply, making the life of the mami tougher. Conversations like these are common at Tambrahm households these days:

Mama: Innikku menu enna?

Mami: Kaalangaarthala ezhuntha udane, intha kelviya engitta kekka dheengo. Athu thaan T.N. Seshan yetho sonnaaraame. Palakkad Iyers are either good cooks or crooks nnu? Naan ithu vara neenga cook panni paathathu illai. Samayala pathi vaai kizhiya pesarathoda sari! Oru naal neenga samayungalen.

Mama: Enna ippadi sollitta? Antha kaalathula enga kovil Annual Sastha preetikku enga thatha Parameshwara Iyeroda paal payasuthukkunne manusha varuvaa!

Mami: Intha kathaiya engitta oru 101 praavisyam cholli iruppel. Naan unga thatha va pathi kekalai. Unga appavum nanna paayasam veppar. Naan paathirukken.  Ongala pathi kekaren.

Mama: Ippo enna? Enna menu nnu thane ketten? Etha panrayo pannu.

The fact is many mamas are good at basic level cooking. Some have passed advanced grade also. But there are many, who, even if they don’t know to cook, will get very high marks in theory!

“Samalaya pathi vakkanaiya pesuvaar engaathu mama. Ellam therinju vechundu, en uyira vaanguvaar, intha manushan”, I have often heard this from many mamis!

Once the menu is finalised somehow, looking at what is available and what is not and all, the next question which creates additional head ache for the mami is “Thottukka enna?”

Mami: Tifinnukku Idli panni vechurukken. Vanthu eduthukongo.

Mama: Idli ya? Thottukka enna?

Mami: Idli panrathe perisu intha samayathula. Ithula thottukka enna vereya? Irukkara molaga podiya thottundu chaapidungo. Kalyana aathu tiffin madiri Chutney, Sambhar, Molaga podi, Gotsu’nnu varietya ellam ippo panna mudiyaathu. Irukaratha kazhiyungo!

Mama: (Mind voice) Yetho matha nalla ellam romba variety’a pannina madiri!

As you are aware, thanks to lockdown, most of the mamas are now WFH. WFH nna Working From Home illai. Anyway, retired aayache. Because the maid servants are not coming, they are now “Working For Home” in addition to their WhatsApping From Home!

So in the morning, once the Coffee is over, mama Shanka Chakra Gada Pani madiri, oru kaiyula thodappam, innoru kayila Mop stick, naduvula moramuma veetta clean panrennu does his bit these days in cleaning the house. As per mami, in normal days, the same Shanka Chakra Gada Pani mama will have mobile phone in one hand, TV remote in another and US Ponnu vaangi kudutha I-pad in between while sipping his filter Kaapi on and off.

Though the cleaning effort and the helping hand of the mama are commendable, mami is anxious to know when the government will start allowing non-essential goods to be sold. Yenna, mama cleaning aarambichathulenthu, shopping panrathukku list perisaayinde irukku. So far, in the past 4 weeks the score is 5 wickets sorry 4 items down. Mop stick rendeyum udachachu. Thudaikara bucket handle poyaachu. Vilakku maar – naar naar’aa vanthundu irukku. Paathiram thekkara Scotch Brite onnu micham illai.  Ithellam udane vaangiye aaganum.

The other day, when mami was having a WhatsApp video call with her friend, the friend mami said, “Enna mami, unga aathu floor oda shining enakku inga theriyarathe!” Mama overheard this and the result was the breaking of the mop stick. Not just one. But the second one which was kept for standby purposes also in an attempt to impress mami further!

Just like everyone else now, mamas and mamis are craving for the day when the lockdown will be fully lifted and life can go back to normal. Some of the laments of the mamas include:

Oru walkingukku kooda poga mudiyaama, veettaye evalavu naalaikku suthi vanthindu irukarathu?

Oru Kovilukku poi ethara naal aayachu? Intha varsham namma kovilla bhagavatha sapthaham ellam miss panni aachu!

Aryaas hoteloda Nei roast, masala vadaiyoda taste’a maranthu poyaachu!

Adutha vaaram Sabha vila Sanjay Subramanyam kacheri irunthathu – athuvum cancel!

Oru kalyanam, karthigainnu onnuthukkum poga mudiyama aayachu. Inime oru varshathukku veeta vittu engeyum eranga mudiyathu!

Innaikku Trissur Pooram kodiyettukku oru manusha illai! Ennoda Jeevithathula itha parupen’nnu naan vijaarikave illai!

Intha China kaaran eduthu vitta virus naala, logam enna paadu padarathu paathiyo?

Naan decide panni aachu, inime China voda oru product naan vaanga porathu illa! Vera entha country product aanaalum o.k. But, China never!

Neenga enna decide panni irukkel?

 

Image courtesy: Webdunia

Connecting the Dots – Tambrahm Style!

Avanaa? Namma Rajamony! Peruvemba athaiyoda, oruppodiyoda, thambi aakkum. ISRO la yaakkum joli! Periya post la irukkaan!

Welcome to “Connecting the Dots – Tambrahm style”!

Among many other things, if there is one unique thing at which you can’t beat the yesteryear generation of Tambrahms, it is the ease and authority with which they will connect the dots of people’s identities. When I say yesteryear generation, I mean those who are now in the mid 60’s and above. This includes both mamas and mamis!

Somehow, the current generation to which I belong (Doordarshan generation ’nnu sollalaam), the Gen X (SW/IT/Computer generation nnu vechukongo) and the Gen Y (Mobile /WhatsApp generation) just cannot match the skill of the previous generation in recalling and placing people so accurately.

In marriages and get-togethers, these kind of conversations and the ensuing embarrassments are so very common:

Mama: Onnoda face familiar’a irukke. But pidi kadaikka mattengarathu! Ennatheriyumo?

You: Theriyaleye mama!

Mama: (Disappointedly) Theriyalaya! Intha kaalathu youngsters’s naale ippadi than! Onnum takkunnu nyabagathukku varathu illai!

You: (Happy that you have been called a youngster and at the same time irritated with the diatribe on youngsters) Neenga thaane sonnel, pidi kadaikka mattengarathunnu??

Mama: Nee entha ooru? Where are you basically from? Adha chollu.

You: Naan, Mankombu, mama!

Mama: (Gets a flash) Nee Mankombu Kichanoda paiyyan thaane?

You: Aamaamaam. Eppadi kandu pidichel?

Mama: Mankombu nnu chonna udaneye ennakku pidi kadachuduthu! Onga Thatha Mani Iyeroda moga chayalum, colourum appadiye irukke! Enna theriyaratho?

You: Illa mama.

Mama: Nammal ellam dayaathigal aakkum! Dayaathigal nna theriyumo? Namma appa side family la ethavathu saavu nadanthuthunna namakellam pelai undu.

You: Athu ippo ethukku mama? Enna relationnnu sollungo.

Mama: Ungappa kitta kelu. Kathai kathaiya cholluvaar. Naanga Mankombu vella pokkam samayathula boatula eppidi kalichundu iruppomnu!

You: Oh appidiya. Kekkaren. Neenga yaarunnu chollaliye.

Mama: Naan Sivan. Unga Kollu paataavoda, annavoda renda matha pullaiyoda paiyanakkum.

You: O.k, O.k puriyarathu.

Mama: Purinjutha? Appo chollu paakalaam. Naan yaaru?

You: Enga Kollu thaathovoda….. er…. er…

Mama: Innamum theriyalaiya? Unga appovoda cousinaakkum.

You: (mind voice) – Ippadi first’e simple’aa cholli irukalaame? 

Nice meeting mama. Appa kitta cholren.

Mama: Naan unnoda Chittappa vaakkum. Mama illai.

You: Sorry, Chittappa, appo paakalaam (Escape)

What is amazing is the way the entire family tree is entrenched in the brains of these mamas and mamis complete with name, place, father’s name, mother’s name, gothram, nakshatram,…,… Only Aadhaar number is missing apparently!

Mami: (To her daughter in a function) Antha brown colour varayan (checked) shirt yarunnu therinjutha?

Daughter:  Athu ippo recent’a kalyanam aache. Namma Thangam mami yoda, ponnoda maaplai.

Mami: Oh Avanaa?  Avaa familikkum namakkum neraya connection undu! Theriyumo?

Daughter: Theriyaathe!

Mami:  Thotta edathula ellam namakku connection thaan. Engaathu side leyum connection. Appa side leyum.

Daughter: Naan just family friendunnu thaane ninaichen!

Mami: Appa voda moonaamatha athai yoda pullai namma LIC Raman. Avaroda Chittappavoda ponnu thaan intha maapilaiyoda amma.

Atha thavira, en side la enga thathovoda anna Barrister Ratnam Iyeroda pulla thaan maapilaiyoda appa.

Daughter: Thalaya sutharathu.

Mami: Simple’aa solren.

Daughter: Ippo Vendamma, ela pottachu. Chaapda polaam!  (Escape)

While the average Tambrahm mama and mamis in that generation have this kind of recall capability, there are a few who outshine all of them simply by their brilliance of connecting the dots. These people will pull out connections from nowhere.  With their astounding memory and exceptionally sharp brains, they are most sought after in the family while stitching up marriage alliances.

Mama: Ponnukku Koduvayur lenthu varan vanthirukku. Avaa originally Koduvayur. Ippo Del-hi la irukka. Paiyyan Florida la Doctor. Nalla family madiri theriyara. Unakku theriyumo ivalai?

Sharp Mama: Koduvayur veettu perenna?

Mama: Mecheri Madam nnu chonna.

Sharp Mama: Mecheri madama? Theriyume. Paiyanoda appa Del-hi la Income Tax la retired Secretary thaane? Gopalakrishnan Iyer thaane peru?

Mama: Correct. Athe thaan. Unakku theriyuma?

Sharp Mama: Ennakku nanna theriyum avaalai. Gopalakrishnanoda wife ennoda wifekku relationaakkum. Ennoda wife oda periamma pon Seethalakshmi irukkaale, Bombayle? Avaloda naathanar aakkum intha Gopalakrishnanoda wife!

We (as Onlooker Mind voice): Eppadi ithu? Mama voda pere sollaleye? Just oor per thaane chollitthu? Palakkad, Koduvayur, Mecheri madam, Delhi nnu sonna udaneye, pattunnu family history, kulam, Gothram,…,…ellathayum eduthu vidaraare?

In my opinion, as an onlooker, the best shock and awe are reserved when two equally sharp yesteryear mamas or mamis meet and converse regarding placing someone:

Mama 1: Namma Simpson Shankaranarayananoda paiyannukku kalyaanam fix aayrirukku.

Mama 2: Oh, Very good. Aaaru ponnu?

Mama 1: Unakku therinjurukkum. Namma Palliparam Naanu irukkaane. Avanoda shaddaganoda thambiyoda ponnaam.

Mama 1: Antha Reliance’ la work panra shaddagannaa? Bala thaane?

Mama 2: Aamaamaam.

Mama 1: Bala voda thambi ennoda Brother in law kku sontham.

Mama 2: Appidiyaa? Enna relation?

Mama 1: Avan thambi  – Ramanathan vanthu ennoda Brother in law Sureshoda cousin.

Mama 2: Theriyume. Sureshoda mama Krishna Iyeroda pulla thaane. Ammanji nnu chollu.

Mama 1: Metal Box Krishna Iyer, ippo enga irukkaar?

Mama 2: Ippo Metal Box lenthu retire aayi, Nana Nani la vanthu settle aayaachu.

Mama 1: Nana Naniya? Entha phase?

Mama 2: Phase 2

Mama 1: Phase 2 vaa? Anga ennoda sister in law oda Anna ippo thaan veedu eduthirukaan., Peru Santhanam.

Mama 2: Namma Paatti Santhanam thaane? Intha Drama la ellam Paatti vesham poduvaare? Avarai nanna theriyum. Paatti Santhanathoda wife Sudha ennoda daughter in law kku doorathu sontham!

Now, this is how the conversation branches out from one family branch to another and goes either deep into the roots or goes upwards from branch to stem to leaves!

In fact, it is reliably learnt that the social network platform Geni, which works based on Family tree, hired few mamas and mamis for few months as consultants when they were in the US as part of their annual visits way back in the late 90’s. With that expertise they have been able to roll out a perfect family tree platform!

Also because of this ‘Connecting the Dots’ skill only, most of the mamis are able to put perfect kolams during margazhi and festival days nnu vera kelvi!! (Don’t kill me now)

There is a Tamil proverb – “Aachanukku peechan madhanikku udanbirandan” the meaning of which I have never understood it fully.  But have come to understand that it refers to some really distant relation! But for the yesteryear Tambrahms, even if it is Aachanukku peechan and madanikku udanbirandan, they will know exactly where and how to put it in the family tree and explain as well.

Neenga eppidi? Connecting the dots’ la?

With’ aa? Without’ aa??

In any Tambrahm function whether it is a simple Aandu Niravu or a grand Kalyanam, one question you are most likely no, no…. you will definitely encounter just as you enter the hall is – Kaapi kudichela?  Not just once. First time paakaravaa ellam athe thirumba thirumba keppa!

Kaapi aayacha?

Nere kaapi kazhichuttu vanthurungo!

Luggage ellam apparam vechukalaam. Kaapi mudichuttu vanthurungo!

And so on.

Here Kaapi refers not just the Coffee drink but actually the breakfast.

If you arrive into a function in the evening, the above sequence repeats itself – and there the Kaapi refers to probably Coffee and evening snacks!

That Coffee occupies a very exalted position in the life of Tambrahms need not be elaborated at all.  In this Thanks giving week, if Kaapi has to extend its vote of thanks, it should first Kovil katti kumbudu pottu thank Tambrahms and then it should thank Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl and Gordon Bowker (Starbucks founders pa) for its continued reign in the world!

While in the subject of Kaapi and Tambrahm functions, the next most familiar question one will encounter throughout the span of the function is – With’ aa? Without’ aa?

I don’t even have to explain this because, in Tambrahm circles, this is a very, very familiar and common question. Many Tambrahms – mamas and mamis alike, mainly due to family history and or dietary pattern and or rather deskbound lifestyle are afflicted with Diabetes. And hence after a particular age, many of them shun sugar in all forms.  So, they give up on sweets and even in functions resist temptations to taste that odd Jaangiri and paayasam! Or just oru tastukkunnu mattum nnu arai glass kudikarathu! However, in the case of Kaapi, there is no giving up there. So, in Tambrahm functions you will always have the option of Coffee “with” sugar and Coffee “without” sugar!

Nowadays in most Tambrahm functions Coffee is served in a separate “live” Coffee counter instead of serving along with breakfast or tiffin itself. This I think is mainly to manage the logistics of “with/without” options apart from of course being able to prepare fresh Kaapi and serve.  But, there is a flip side to this as I heard in one of the functions recently. ‘Enna anaalum, antha dosai/idli and molaga podi taste naakula irukaratheye chuda, chuda kaapi kudichaa, athu vera feeling. Once, intha vaaya alumbittu, apparama kaapi kudicha, athu vera taste aayidarathu!’

Around the “live” coffee counter, around the topic of “with” and “without” one can hear a combination of requests going to the poor Coffee mama!  Like:

Coffee Mama: With’ aa? Without’ aa??

Mama 1: With, With thaan!

Mama 2: Enakku oru Without!

Mami 1: Naan usually Without thaan. Aanaa innikki low sugar. Athanaale With’ e irukattum!

Mama 3: Chakkarai pottu oru nalla coffee chaapttu romba naalaachu! Mami pakkathula illiye? With’ e kudungo!

Mami 2: Enakku Without’ e kuduthurungo. Konjama naane chakkarai pottukaren!

Mama 4: Enakku sugar irukku. Aanaa coffee mattum sugar illaama kudikka mudiyaathu! With’ e kalanthudungo!

Mama 5: ‘With’ thaan. Aanaa chakkarai konjama podungo. Rendu moonu spoon pottuttu enna naalaikku ‘Without’ aa aakidaathengo!

Mami 3: Chaaya nna ‘Without’ kudikka mudiyaathu! Kaapi ‘Without’ kudikalaam! ‘Without’ ‘e kuduthurungo!

Mama 6: Enakku With’ um, Without ayaum mix panni kuduthudungo!  Appo thaan sugar correctaa irukkum! 

Mama 7: ‘With’ thaan! Aanaa chakkarai vendaam. Naatu chakkarai irukka??? Iruntha atha pottu kudungo!

Coffee Mama: Mama, Naatu chakkarai ellaam illa. Neenga ‘Without’ aa ve kudingo!

And so on!

And you can hear more conversations around this very important ‘With’ aa? Without’ aa?? topic:

Mama 1: Neenga With’ aa?  Without’ aa?
Mama 2: Enakku ithu varai ‘Without’ nilamai vanthathu illa! ‘With’ thaan! Ennikku ‘Without’ aagaratho, annikku logathhu lenthe pack up panna vendiyathu thaan!

Mama 1: Ennakku ellam 40 vayasulenthe ‘Without’ thaan! Athukku enna solrel? Ithellam appadiye manage panna vendiyathu thaan!

 ——————————————————————————————————–

Mama 1: Enna mama, neenga ‘Without’ aa? Nethikku paayasam rendu moonu glass vaangi kudichindu irunthele?

Mama 2: Chatthama pesaantheengo! Wife kaadula vizha porathu! Apparam oru vaarathukku aathula sahasranaama archanai thaan!

 ———————————————————————————————————

Mama 1: Enna mama? Neenga ‘Without’ aache? Innikku enna sugaroda kaapi kudikarel?

Mama 2: Naan 15 varushama ‘Without’. Ippo 6 maasama intha Patanjali diabatic tablet maathiraiyum, Yoga vum pannindu irukken. Ippo ‘With’ aayitten!

———————————————————————————————————–

Mama 1: Oru 6 Kaapi kudungoppa, vadhyaarmargalukku. Athula 2 “With’, 3 ‘Without’, 1 konjama ‘With’!!!

——————————————————————————————————-

Mami 1: Neenga With’ aa? Without’ aa??

Mami 2: Without thaan. Aana pona vasa America porache, anga ‘Stevia’ nnu oru natural chakkarai substitute en paiyan vaangi kuduthaan. Athu thaan use panren ippo. Oru 6 masathula oru thadavai vanthurum.

 ————————————————————————————————————

Mama 1: Neenga ‘With’ aa? Without’ aa??

Mama 2: Veetula ‘Without’! Veliyila ‘With’!

Mama 1: Athu yen appadi?

Mama 2: Veliyile ‘Without’ nna – konjam vayasu koodaraapla irukku.

Mama 1: Athanaala enna ippo? Health thane mukkiyam?

Mama 2: Health’ aa ? Neenga etha chollarel? Naan ‘pal set’ a patthi pesindu irukken!

Mama 1: Naasamaa pochu? Naan Kaapiya pathi ketten!!!!!

Aamaam, neenga With’ aa? Without’ aa???

What’s in a Tambrahm name? – Part 2

In my earlier piece “What’s in a Tambrahm name?” I had talked about how Tambrahms have a unique way of compressing long names and coming up with typical aathula koopadara pergal like – Vengidi for Venkatachalam, Naanu for Narayanan and so on. If you had missed that article, please read here.

This kind of naming and calling is usually aathukulla or within the extended family. But there is another unique way of naming and calling outside of the family as well.  This is what I am trying to explore here.

In the 50s to 70’s, most Tambrahms from Palakkad boarded the Jayanti Janata express and headed towards Mumbai or Kerala Express to Delhi for some Joli.  And when they arrived, they came equipped not with Engineering degrees as it is today, but with skills like typing, stenography, Accounting and above all English proficiency.  So, invariably most of the Indian companies those days had Tambrahms as typists, Stenographers, Secretaries, Executive assistants and Accountants. In fact, the domination of Tambrahms in this domain was so much that, it provoked the then Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray to start a tirade against all mundu or as per him lungiwallah Madraasis!

It is usually said, “You are known by the company you keep!” In Tambrahm scheme of things, this is in fact literally true! That is, many times individuals are known and called by the company (organisation) they worked for. As we all know, in our previous generations, kids were always named after some UmaachiKrishnan, Ganapathy, Raman, Sivan and so on. Since this naming convention was extensively used, in the Tambrahm circle there was always a surfeit of Krishnans, Ganapathys and the like. So, one way to differentiate each of them was to prefix the name with the name of the company they worked for.

So a Krishnan working in Batliboi will be Batliboi Krishnan!

One may think that Cadbury Sivan is a Sivan who loved Cadbury chocolates or a Raymonds Dorai loved wearing Raymond suits. Athu thaan kidayaathu!  Sivan working in Cadbury became Cadbury Sivan and a Dorai employed in Raymonds was known by Raymonds Dorai!

And then you had Godrej Mani, Kirloskar Parameswaran, Indian Oil Gopalakrishnan, Voltas Hari, Burmah Shell Janardhanan, Glaxo Balan, LIC Rajan, Remington Murthy, Brooke Bond Raghu, Metal Box Suri, Tata Ravi, Birla Krishnamurthy, Times of India Natarajan, Britannia Chandru, State Bank Padmanabhan, IOC Radhakrishnan, L&T Ramaswamy, Saibol Venu, IOB Kannan and so on! Even in address books, names will be written as TVS Vasudevan, Simpson Rajagopal, Bajaj Venkatraman and so on.

In functions, if someone had to be introduced it will invariably be with the company name suffix. So in a kalyanam one mama (IPCL Raghavan) was introducing another mama. “Ivar thaan Colgate Subbaraman!” For which Subbaraman quipped – “Naan ippo pension aayaachu. Athanaala verum Subbaraman nnu sollungo!” For which IPCL Raghavan responded, “Retired aana enna. Engalukku neenga ennikume Colgate Subbaraman thaan!”

This prefixing by company name became so ubiquitous that many mamas while talking on the phone had to introduce themselves such without which nobody could recognise them. Something like this in this telephone conversation:

Mama 1: Hello…..

Mama 2: Hello… aaru pesarathu?

Mama 1: Naan thaan Krishnaswamy pesaren.

Mama 2: Krishnaswamya? Entha Krishnaswamy?

Mama 1: Adhaan, FIAT Krishnaswamy!

Mama 2: FIAT Krishnaswamya? Chollungo. Chollungo, Sowkiyama?

Most ushaar mamas will introduce themselves with the company name in the 1st place!

“Hello!

Naan Subbu!

 Enfield Subbu!”

In fact, I heard that Rajnikant’s dialogue of “Mala da, Anna Mala” in the film Annamalai was inspired by this Tambrahm naming scheme! The film’s Director Suresh Krishna is a Tambrahm brought up in Bombay, aache!

Solla pona, “My name is Bond. James Bond!” dialogue was exported by Tambrahms only😀

At times, the company connection to the name of the mamas extended to mamis also. As per that, I know of some mamis who were called as Saibol Sarojam and Kirloskar Kamala etc.

Apart from easy identification, there is one another periya advantage of linking the name with company. Antha company product ethavathu vaangum pothu, discount venumna correcta concerned mama va contact pannalaam! I recall one Godrej mama was everyone’s go to person for getting Godrej fridge and cupboard at whole sale prices!

While in Mumbai, most of the Tambrahms worked in private companies, in Delhi, it was mostly Central government departments. There was a time till 80’s when the entire Delhi bureaucracy was ruled by Tambrahms all the way up to the level of Secretary in ministries. Fortunately this naming convention was not adopted there, I think. Otherwise, we would have had Finance Ramachandran, Education Ramamurthy and so on!!! Health Balachandran and Agriculture Raman… would have been hilarious! But in Delhi, Tambrahms working in Public Sector Undertakings were promptly called by the company they worked for. SAIL Krishnamurthy is well known!

In Delhi, many mamas were also working with Newspapers . Hindu la work pannindu iruntha Vaithi  used to be known as Hindu Vaithi. When he got married and soon put on some weight, Hindu Vaithi soon became Gundu Vaithi 😀

I may be wrong here but, I didn’t notice this naming convention being adopted by other communities like Maharashtrians or Telugu. I have never come across a Bombay Dyeing Milind or a BARC Yashwant or for that matter a CEAT Balakrishna!

This tradition of prefixing with company names died a natural death post 90’s. Blame it on liberalisation and reforms for this also! Unlike that generation, sticking to one company throughout their career became passe for the post 90’s generation and this naming convention also died.  However, I am just wondering if the same had continued now also, some of the names will make us roll in the floor and laugh!

Makemytrip Rohit

Amazon Ashwin

Future Shashank

Ola Vinod

And so on!

Postscript: The spark for this piece germinated from a conversation I had with my friend Prognosys Sudharshan – so duly thanking him here.

My Close encounters with Mamas – Part 2

Some time back, I wrote a piece on different types of Tambrahm Mamas we encounter in our lives. This piece is in continuation of the same. To get the right context, I suggest you to read Part 1 (link here) in case you haven’t before. Even if you have read that before, please read now to get a recap!

So, in continuation to the mama types described in that piece, here are some more!

Detail oriented Mamas: I would say most Tambrahm mamas fall in this category. In general, as a tribe we like to give a lot of details even when it is not called for. For example:

Person 1: Enna Saar, Walking innikku evalavu rounds?

Anybody else would just probably give an answer like – “10 rounds” or “5 rounds Saar” and end the matter. But a Tambrahm mama would most probably answer like this:

Mama: Intha Garden la, outside circle is 1 Km and I usually do 5 rounds of that. Inside circle is 500m. And I do 10 rounds of that. So if you go by outside circle it is 5+5= 10 rounds. And if you go by inside circle, it is 10+10 =20 rounds!! Purinjutha kanakku?

Person 1 (Mind voice): Summa oru pechukku ketta, maths classe edukaraare, intha mama?

Dimension Mamas: There are mamas who simply like to talk based on dimensions. Sample this:

A mama is going to see a house for renting along with a broker.

Mama: Veedu enna area?

Broker: 900 Sq ft Saar

Mama: Carpet area va, Built up pa?

Broker: Built up Saar

Mama: Built up a, Super built up a?  Carpet area evalavu –600 aavathu irukuma?

Broker: Athu theriyaathu Saar, owner kitta thaan kekkanum

Mama: Bed room enna size? 10*12 aa?

Broker: Exacta theriyala Saar.

Mama: 10*12 thaan. Paathale theriyarathe!

Broker: Mind voice (Theriyuthu la, appo yen saar kekkareenga?)

Mama: Ceiling evalavu height irukkum? 8 ft aa?

Broker: Irukkum Saar oru 8 feet. Next time naan oru tape oda varren Saar!

Mama:  Water supply eppadi?

Broker: 24 hours Saar!

Mama: Bore Well thanniya illa, Drinking watera?

Broker: Rendum varum Saar! Correcta Owner kitta thaan kekkanum.

Mama: Currentu?

Broker: Athuvum 24 hours Saar.

Mama: 24 Hours sari, single phase supplya illa double phasea??

Broker: Saar enna aala vidunga. Naan ownera vara solren. Avar kittaye neenga pesikunga!

Mama: Broker na ithellam therinju vechukka vendaama? Product oda ella detailsum tipsla irukkanum pa! Naan antha kaalathula Kirloskar company la generator marketing departmentla steno va irunthen. Generatoroda specifications ellam enakku innaikkum athuppadi theriyumo?

Cynical/Suspicious Mamas: These mamas are 24*7 paranoid about something or other.  They smell conspiracy theory in anything and everything out of obsessive suspicion and mistrust. Like this:

EVM romba safe appadi ippadi nnu solraale, appo yen intha Japan, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Germany la ellam EVM mma discontinue panni ippo paper ballots thaan use panraalaame?

Or

Aammaam, nethikku intha Afghanistan kooda thokka vendiya match la kadasila India Jeyichuthe? Match fixing aa irukumo? Enna anaalum, Afghanistan payalgalukku IPL contract venume?

Time oriented Mamas: These mamas are always particular about time in whatever they do.  When they speak, it is usually like this:

Naan 7.25 kku dinnera mudichuduven. Apparam oru 5 mins rest eduppen. Apparam oru 25 mins garden la nadanthuttu varuven. 8.00 lenthu 10 varaikum serial! 10.05 kku taannu thoongiduven…  I maintain my daily routine perfectly.

Or

Naan every day – 12 mins walking poven. 15 mins pranaayam pannuven….

 WhatsApp Mama: For this mama, WhatsApp is everything.  Mostly retired, his most part of the day goes in checking messages and forwards in WhatsApp! His worldview and opinions are formed based on what is seen on WhatsApp that morning!

Ungalukku theriyumo theriyaatho, Taj Mahal iruntha edathula oru sivan kovil irunthuthaam. Innikku WhatsApp la vanthurukku. Pinnu pinnu nu pinni eduthirukkaan!

Or

Intha kaalathula video conferencing patthi perisaa pesindu irukka! Mahabharatam time leye, video conferencing irunthurukku! WhatsApp la proof oda potturukkaan. Naan forward panren. Paarungo!

Nit picking/Fault finding Mamas: These mamas get some kind of pleasure in finding fault with everything around them. It could be in their own house, apartment complex, town, city, country and so on.

Swachh Bharat ellam photovoda sari! Road ellam kuppaiya thaan irukku!

Uppuma nkarathugaaga ivalavu uppu poduvaalo?

Enna violinist “Thodiya” ippadi thottum thodaamalum vaasikaraar?

Attention seeking/Jovial mamas: These mamas are usually the centre of attraction in any gathering. They usually regale people around them with stories, jokes and quotable quotes.  Something like this:

Antha kaalathula ellam boys graduate a iruntha porum- IIM assuredu – “Indian Institute of Marriage” a sonnen! Ippo ellam namma community la pasanga jaasthi. Girls kammi. Athanaala paiyan IIT  aana kooda – IIM la admission kashtam! Enna naan cholrathu?

Naan china vayasula violin kathunden. Ippo nalla use aagarathu. Ippo wifeukku aathula second fiddle vaasichundu irukken!

Do you know what the definition of a good diplomat is? – One who has learnt to remain silent in six languages!!!

And so on!

There could be more. Please do add to the list in the comments section with anecdotes of the mama type!