In continuing with the series of phrases which irritate the hell out of Tambrahm mamis (after “Thottukka enna?” and “Innikku menu enna?”) here comes the next – “Paper vandhaacha?” For a Tambrahm mama, drinking filter kaapi in the morning and reading the day’s newspaper – in all likely hood “The Hindu” have to go in tandem. (For those who live outside of Tamil Nadu – the respective leading English Newspapers apply). So his first lookout as soon as he gets up in the morning is “Paper vandhaacha?” “Enna ketta???? Mani 5.30 thaane aagarathu! Itthara cheekiram paper eppadi varum?” – This is mami’s usual retort! Though mama knows very well that the paper usually comes around 6.30 AM only, he is restless to the core till it arrives. Eliciting this mami’s jibe – “Ethukku intha kutti potta poona madiri nadanthindu irukkel?” So finally when it indeed comes, mama dives deep into the newspaper while having his second cup of steaming Kaapi made from 2nd decoction!!
Even though as per every mama in the world, “English paper minna madiri illa, niraya spelling mistakes!”, a day in the life of a Tambrahm mama is never complete without reading the paper from top to bottom including the Obituary column. “Yei, inga paathayaa??? Namma Vaikom Vaidyanatha Iyer poi chenthuttaar!. Kuduthu vechavar. Romba paduthukaama, mathavaala kashta paduthaama kaalaa kaalathula poyittaar!” This is a Tambrahm mama’s way of saying RIP!!! Tambrahm mamas read newspaper “pareekshaikku padikkara madiri!” “Office la boss naattu nadapu patthi ketta answer cholliyaganume”! If Nehru was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, it can be safely said that all Tambrahm men are born with a newspaper bit in their mouths!!!
This Kaapi + Newspaper combination is an everyday fix for many a mama’s smooth functioning of their digestive system. So they believe that the Kaapi is a must for inducing the every morning belly cleansing. “Kaalan kaarthala intha kaapi vayathula ponna thaan ellame sariya varum!” And then for the next hour or so, the mama is gone with the newspaper in tow. With western style commodes, there is no dearth for convenience for newspaper reading in the toilet! Invariably in Tambrahm households there is always an extra toilet. When it was a single toilet situation, this habit of mamas spending too much time in toilets with newspaper was a matter of “Toilet Ek Pranana katha!!!” “Aachu, newspapera eduthundu ulla poi okanthachu intha brahmanan. Veetula mathavaa ellam pogave vendaamo”??? But all these fall in sevittu ears for a mama equipped with the newspaper in hand!
On Sundays, the paper reading extends to the supplements and the magazine section and goes on for hours sparking the mami’s usual taunt, “Appadi enna thaan intha paper la irukko?? Nethikku vera TV la news kotta kotta paathaachu! Paper vanthachuna suthu vattaarathula idi vizhuntha kooda theriyaathu intha manushanukku!” And on Sundays for most mamas, along with The Hindu, Indian Express also is a must!
For mamas, the toughest days in a year are those coming next to National holidays. Like Aug 16th, Jan 27th… where there is no paper in the morning. The usual question “Paper vandhaacha?” those days is met with a chirpy answer from the cheerful mamis. Mamis are the happiest those days.
Mami: “Innikku paper illai… saambarukku kashnam narukki thaango”!!!
And Mama is at his irritable best those mornings.
Mama: “Newspaper is like an essential commodity. Athukku eppadi leave ellam kudukalaam?? Useless fellows!! Parliamentla law kondu varanum!”
Mami: “Oru naalaikku newspaper padikalaina onnum agaporathu illai. Antha karigaiya narukki tharela?”
And there are mamas after doing one round of reading in the morning, do the 2nd revision reading in the night after returning from office. And if it’s a retired mama just like medicines, one round of paper after every meal apart from the one with coffee early in the morning.
Mami: “Kaalangaarthala paper padichathu poraatha??”
Mama: “Office pora avasarathula enga poora padikka mudiyarathu? Editorial column ellam innum padikalai!”
Mami: “Aamaam, athulenthu thaan naalaikku question kekka pora, pareekshaila!!”
Mami: “Unakku ithellam manaslaagaathu!”
And there are some expat/NRI/Tech savvy mamas who have switched from the quaint newspaper to an IPad or equivalent. But everything else as above are still applicable including the toilet escapades with the IPad in the morning.
For the google generation though, paper reading is not such a sanctimonious thing. But even then, mamas don’t leave them.
Mama: “Newspaper padikkanum. Appo thaan upto date-a irukka mudiyum!”
Ambi: “Ennappa! Adhaan mukkiyamaana news ellam WhatsApp leye vanthudarathe! Illa Twitter la pathukalaam”
Mama: “Yei,…. WhatsApp la newsoda naraya kuppaiyum varathu. Ethu news, ethu fake nne puriya maatengarathu!”
Ambi: “Illappa, like,…athellam oru probleme illai! Like,… we can filter fake news, like,.. with tools”
Mama: “Whatever you say, Newspaper is Newspaper. English improve aagum! Ongalukku ellam ippo puriyaathu! Varikku vari like,… like,… – ithellam Englishaaa?? Ozhunga Hindu paper chinna vayasulenthu engala madiri padichirunthaa English thaanave varum. You will be a master of Queen’s English, I say!”
Ambi: “Appa, paper vadhachu, indhaango!!!”
The best escape route to get away from a menacing mama is to hand over a Newspaper and disappear!!!
“Aamaaam, innikku ungaathula paper vandhaacha???”