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?
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?