Tag Archives: Tambrahm mamas

Innikku aaru Kacheri?

Come Margazhi, it’s ‘Season’ time in Chennai. Typically Chennai is known to have 2 seasons namely summer and “Music” season! So when it is “Music Season” time, can Tambrahms be far away? Irrespective of where they are physically, during the “Season”, most Tambrahms will be in one sabha or other mentally! Given the very close connection between Carnatic sangeetham and Tambrahms, conversations of these kind in Tambrahm households during the season are not so uncommon:

Mama: Yei Sarada, Innikku aaru kacheri?
Mami: Papera neenga thaane kaalambara lenthu karachu kudichindu irunthel, paakalaya? Innikku Jaya TV la Sikkil Gurucharan, Vijay TV la O.S. Arun. (This is by the way mamipedia in action)
Mama: Oh, O.S. Arun aa? Bhajans nanna paadaraan, konjam seshta thaan jaasthi!
Mami: Paatta kaadhala thaane kekkarel?

Mama: Suppudu antha kaalathula Seshagopalana “Seshtagopalan” nnu solluvaar! Athu madiri, Arun ippo Seshta Arun!!!

 

Mama: Yei, Suresh, Innikku aaru Kacheri? Music Academy la 6 manikku?
Suresh: Appa, naan thaan nethikke sonnene. Antha Kacheri Season App a download panni vechukongo. Thiruppi, thiruppi innikku aaru kacheri nnu athaye daily kettundu irukathengo!

Mami 1: Mami, nethikku Krishna Gana Sabha la Abhishek Raghuram kacheri ponnen, Ongala kaanalaye?
Mami 2: Abhishek Raghuram, naan naraya ketturukken. Pone vase, naanga US la 6 maasam irunthom illiya. Appo kooda Cleveland la Abhishek kacherikku ponom!
(Mamis have to insert an anecdote about their visit to US in every conversation)

Mama 1: Intha varusham season la seniors ellam konjam missing!

Mama 2: Illiye, ellarum irukaale!

Mama 1: Illa saar, Whatsup la paakalaya? Intha varusham Mountbatten Mani, Pattappa ellam kidayaatham!

Mama 2: Oh, neenga canteen pathi solrela????

Mama: Visalam, naan kacherikku poyuitttu varen.

Mami : Entha sabha?

Mama : “Parthsarthswamsabha” thaan!

Mami: Bajji, Bonda, thavala vada nnu vayatha nirapikaantheengo. Cholesterol erkanave jaasthi!

Daughter: Appa, Fine Arts la nethikku fushion kacheriya miss pannitel neenga!
Mama: Its o.k. I’m not a big fan of this fushion. Onakku thaan theriyume!
Daughter: Illa Appa, it was really nice. The way they mixed our Carnatic and Western. Too good.
Mama: Enna too good? Ippadi thaan oru fusion video WhatsApp la poyindu irunthuthu. Oru Nalla Nagumo keertanaiya pottu kola panni irunthaa!
Daughter: No Appa, that “Nagumo – Shape of you” fusion was awesome!
Mama: Awesome? Awesome? Abheri ragam kanravi aayiduthu! Athula nadula oovan oovaan vera!
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Mama 1: Nethikku entha kacheri?
Mama 2: Krishna Gana sabha la – Sriram Parasuram.
Mama 1: Very Good. Very Good. Avan thaan B Tech, IIM MBA aache! Nanna Violin vaasippaan, Nanna paadavum seivaan!
Mama 1: Namma Sanjay Subramanyam also? CA Rank holder!
(While on this, even in Cricket, the most favourite cricketer of the Tambrahm mamas is Ashwin Ravichandran. Because he is a B Tech Engineer)

Mami 1: Innikku ennamo theriyala, Sudha Raghunathan konjam dull!
Mami 2: Aamaam, aamaam. Antha light blue kku light green border serave illa. Romba ve dulla irunthuthu!
Mami 1: Normalaa Sudha Raghunathan nalla pallicchunnu colour combination la thaan varuvaa. Innikku ennamo theriyala!
Mama: (Mind voice) Neenga Kacheri kekka ponellaa, illa pattu sari ya paakka ponellaa?

Mama: (While watching Vishaka Hari’s programme on Jaya TV) Ennamaa Paadara?
Mami: Porum, porum romba uruga vendaam! Konjam azhagaa iruntha porume?
Mama: (mind voice) Antha Hari kuduthu vechavan!
Mami: Enna solrel? Etha solrathu aanaalum satthama chollungo!
Mama: Onnum,….. illa! Kacheriya konjam kekka vidu!

Mama 1: Season la namma T.M.Krishna paadarathu illiyaame?
Mama 2: T.M. Krishna nalla talented, aanaa he should let his music do the talking.
Mama 1: Sabhava vittuttu bus, beach nnu paadindu irukaan! But he has a point. Carnatic music has to spread illiyaa?
Mama 2: Carnatic music ivalavu varushama spread aayindu thaane irukku. Neenga US la poi paarungo. Carnatic music kathukkaatha nammavaa pasanga illa.

————————————————————————————————————-

Mama 1: Nethikku veena kacheri etho ponaye, eppadi irunthuthu?
Mama 2: Avan veenaiya vaasichaan? Veenaa pochu!
Mama 1: Yen, sari illiya?
Mama 2: Ellaam Management quota la donation kuduthu vaangina kacheri nnu ninaikiren!
Mama 1: Evening kacheri la thani aavarthanam eppadi irunthuthu?
Mama 2: Hall la paavam thaniyaa vaasichindu irunthaa. Ellarum canteen pakkam escape!

Mama: Antha mufflera kudu!
Mami: Enga kaalangaarthala kelambittel?
Mama: Academyla Ravi Kiran oda lecture demonstration irukku. Poyittu varen.
Mami: Muffler ellam ethukku? Enna periya kuliru? Pona Varusham Denver la paakatha kuliraa?
Mama: Ippo kudukaraya? Udambukku vanthuduthu nna season miss aayidum.
Mami: Aathula Milagu kandamthippili rasatha kudichindu okkanthundu Jaya TV la paarungo!! Ennoda friends ellarum ippo appadi thaan panraa.

Mama: Innikku kacherila Sikkil Gurucharan RTP pinnittaan. Asaathyama irunthathu.
Nephew: Athenna mama RTP?
Mama: Raga Thanam Pallavi da. Ithu kooda theriyaamaya nee sangeetham kathukara?
Nephew: Enakku therinjathu violin saarukku panra RTGS mattum thaan!

Mama1: Lalgudi yoda daughter Viji yoda kacheri irukku innikku, varella? Ennoda pethiyoda guruvakkum aval.
Mama2: Ungaloda paiyan New Zealand na irukkaan? Appo eppadi inga Guru?
Mama1: Ellaam Skype leye thaan. 5 varushama ippadi thaan kathukara!
Mama2: Besh Besh. India la irukkara internet connectionukku ethu swaram, ethu abaswaram nnu differentiate panna mudiyaratho??

Mama1: Athu antha kaalam. Ippo thaan Jio irukke!

I can go on and on. Let me stop here. Yenna, kacherikku kalamba time aayiduthu.
Aamaam, innikku neenga aaru kacherikku porel?

Paper Vandhaacha?

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???”

Deepavali vanthaachu!

Much has been written about how Deepavali was observed and celebrated in Tambrahm households a few decades ago. For Mamas and Mamis in their 40’s and above, nostalgia overflows when any discussion happens around this topic. “Antha Kaalathila naanga eppadi Deepavali ellaruma chernthu kondaaduvom theriyumo?” nnu Mamas break into Ragam, Thanam, Pallavi etc, etc on this very popular topic!

Like

– how 1 month before, the entire family will go for buying pudhu thuni for Deepavali

– how Kaadar master will paduthufy by not giving the stitched clothes till the Deepavali eve

– how the Mami at home will systematically start preparing the Deepavali batchanams 3 / 4 days before

– how the Mama and sons will go shopping for Deepavali pattaasu in the last night before Deepavali to get a good bargain

– how the entire family will get up as early as 3’0 clock on Deepavali day

– how there would be a fierce competition between neighbourhood kids on who fired the 1st pattaasu and who fires more pattaasu and whose house has got more pattaasu kuppai!

– on the entire family taking oil bath with hot water from an appliance called “boiler” one by one!

– how the Mama will hand over the new clothes after bath to the kids one by one from Swamy ullu

– on how one avoids batchanam from some Mamis houses and gorge on few others based on reputation of quality and taste from previous years

– On ordering the ‘Ananda Vikatan – Deepavali Malar’ and reading the same till the next DeepavalI! and so on!

So let me dwell into the Deepavali (or is it Diwali these days?) at the house holds of young Tambrahm Mamas and Mamis who are in their 30’s and 40’s empowered and liberated by the IT revolution in the last 2 decades!

Diwali fever these days sets in just about 3 or 4 days before the D-Day! And conversations in households go something like this:

Mami: “Innum 3 / 4 naal thaan irukku, Diwali kku! Shopping ellam panna vendaama??”

Mama: “Independence Day sale la vaangina oru pudhu shirt onnu, rendu irukku. Namma Bala kalyanathukku kadacha veshti irukku, poraatha? Ennoda Diwali shopping aachu!”

Mami: “Ungalakku enna! Pudhu thuni ellam pooti, pooti venchundu iruppel. Anyway I will order today in Myntra. 2 days la vanthurum! Rohitukku mattum oru dress innikki poi vaangidalaam. What about batchanam?”

Mama: “Pona varusham, intha Rajamani caterer kitta order panninathu onnum sariye illa! So this year, let us look at other options. Ramani mama kitta order pannidalaama? Enna Sweet order pannattum?

Mami: “You decide!”

Mama: “Baadusha?”

Mami: “Eppa paaru oru Baadusha! Itha vitta vera sweete kadayaatha? Naanum namma marriage aanathu lenthu paakaren!”

Mama: “Baadusha engaathu aasthana sweetu! Athu illaama Diwaliye kadayaathu engathula!”

Mami: “Lets order Jaangiri and Laddu. Apparam naan aathula sasthirathukku Thengai barfi pannaren!”

Mama: “Intha varushamum Thenga Barfiyaa???”

Mami: “Last 4 / 5 years atha panni oru madiri perfect aayuiduthu! So I will make the same!”

Mama: (Manasukkulla) “I thought you asked me to decide???” “O.K, athu kooda murukku and kaara sev order pannidaren!”

Mami: “No, no, order mixture and ribbon pakoda. Engaathula athu must for Diwali!!”

Mama: (Manasukulla) “Ithu mattum ellaa varshamum o.k vaa??? Intha ulagathula ellaa wivesum book ezhuthinaa, they can all use the same title as Raghuram Rajan’s book – I do What I do!!!”

Mami: “You said something?”

Mama: “Illiye!” (Manasukkulla) “Eppadi thaan manasukkulla sollikarathu kooda intha ladies kku kekaratho???”

And the Diwali day comes.

After getting up earlier than usual at 6.30 AM, the first half an hour or so goes in selecting some new GIF for Diwali greeting and broadcasting among the myriad WhatsApp groups, the Mama is part of.

Mami: “Diwali athuvuma kaalankaarthala oru phonoda okkanthaacha?? Why don’t you wake up Rohit, get him ready and you also take bath?”

Mama: “Itho vanthutten! Elllarum WA la wish pannindu irukka. Nee kulichuttaya?

Mami: “I am going for bath now. Enga antha nethikku vaangindu vantha arappu podi? Engamma specifica sonna atha thalaila pottu kulikka!”

Mama: “Athu Arappu podi illa. Seeyakkai podi!” Arappu podi paathirathukku podarathu!”

Mami: “Yetho oru podi! By the time I come back from bath, just get Rohit ready! Papera vechundu okaandhudaathel!”

Mama: “You first take bath and come! Diwaliye mudinjudum polarukku!”

After some time, the Mama, Mami and the kid all take bath and get ready.

Mami: “Did you taste my Thengai Barfi yesterday? Antha table mela vechuirunthene? You didn’t say anything?”

Mama: “No. Naan taste pannala!”

Mami: “Ungamma panni vechuruntha, intha samayathukku oru 5 piece ulla poyirukkum!”

Mama: “O.K, O.K. Let me taste this.”

Mami: “Wait, wait. Don’t take this full piece. Taste this odanja piece. Nalla shapela vantha piece ellam vachu, I have to take a pic and post it on FB and on WhatsApp. You also post in your friends groups. Your friends should not think that you have got an “Obi” wife! Make sure you mention ‘Home made” o.k??”

For a Mama if there are 2 questions which he would like to avoid at all costs in life, they are

1. “Naan intha dress la eppadi irukken? Do I look fat?”

2. “Eppadi irukku taste? Nanna vanthurukka?”

So usually for both these questions, Mamas give standard replies and you know what they are!!! Mama: “Thenga barfi super!” (Manasukkulla) “Thenga Barfi nna konjam sweet thookala irukkanum.

Ippadi blanda panninaa yaaru saapiduvaa? Engamma pannuvaa paaru. Thenga Barfikku ISI Standard athu thaan!

Mami: “Aanaalum ungamma panra madiri irukaathe???”

Mama: “No, No. This time it is really come out well! O.K, Let us get ready and go to your parents’ house. Anga thaane saapadu?

Mami: We will leave exactly at 12.00. That Myntra fellow said he will deliver the dress at 11.00. Intha meantime, take Rohit down and sasthrathukku oru mathaappu koluthittu vanthudungo!

Mama: “I bought some pattaasu yesterday. Athayum koluthittu varom!”

Mami: “Why did you buy pattaasu and all? Already there is so much pollution in the air. Chumma Sasthrathukku kambi mathaappu mattum porum. Rohit school la kooda stricta cholli irukka. No crackers nnu. Antha vediyellathaiyum, security kitta kuduthudungo!”

Mama: (Manasukkulla) “Security vedicha pollution aagaatha?” And finally as they got ready to leave,

Mami: “Eppadi irukku intha dress? Am I looking fat???”

Mama follows the SOP prescribed for the situation and mouths the right lines!

Mami: Oru photo edungo paakalaam. And send to me. DP update pannanum!

And as they stepped out of the flat, Pakkathu flat Mama:

“Enna Saar, Ganga Snanam ellam aacha? Happy Diwali!” Mama: “Tanker water Snanam thaan aachu!

Happy Deepavali!”

Engaathu Golu!

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?

Innikku Menu Enna?

If there is one question which pisses off a normally calm and cool Tambrahm Mami particularly in a weekend, that is “Innikku menu enna?” (Of course I am referring to households where the Mami still holds the fort in the kitchen and not where the kitchen duties have been outsourced). Because she knows that whatever be the answer to that question, it will be met with one standard response from the rest of the family – the Mama and the kids. Which is – Innikum athevaaa??? In Tambrahm households, apart from Narayana, Guruvayurappa the other phrase which kids are most exposed to is Innikkum athevaaa???

Mamikku thaan theriyum how difficult it is to give a satisfactory answer to the Innikku menu enna question. The answer to the question regarding the day’s menu usually comes from the Mami after solving a complex algorithmic problem in her mind which involves many variables like:

 Availability of vegetables at home that day

 Availability of other raw material/provisions,..

 Time available that day (considering it’s a weekend and any outing plan)

 Weather (Hotter the outside temperature, simpler will be the menu)

 Veetula annikku ethaavathu guests undaa?

 Repetitive quotient. (Menu y’day, day before y’day, same day last week,..)

 What Panjangam says for that day – Any Ammavasai, Ekadasi, Pradosham,…

 Any new cooking program seen on TV/Recipe video viewed on Facebook/YouTube/fwd of some new recipe received thro WhatsApp

 Any recent taunts from kids. Usually the conversation will go something like this.

o Kid: “Amma, nethikku Ravi aathukku ponnenliya. Anga Aunty oru side dish kudutha paaru, romba tastyaa irunthuthu.

o Mami: Enna periya side dish panni kudutha?

o Kid: Yetho Saagu appadi yetho per sonna, aunty

o Mami: Dei, Pona vaaram Rava idlikku naan panni kuduthene unakku Saagu??? Nyabagam illiyaa???

 Any recent pollappu from Mama.

o Mama: Intha aathula oru Vatha Kozhambu chaaptu romba naalachu. Naal illa, maasangal aachu!

o Mami: Enna neenga, rendu vaaram minnadi, dabba la kuduthu anupichene? Maranthaacha??

o Mama: Oh, athu Vatha Kozhambaa?? Kaara Kozhambunnu nenaichen. Enga amma Vatha Kuzhambu appadi panna maatta.

(Here imagine Background music of a Steel sombu falling in the floor and noise of thunder in the background)

(Now Mama is pushing his luck and treading dangerous territory with this comment. The scene in the house in the after math of this comment – I leave it to your imagination. Mostly Mama would be depending upon Sangeetha/Saravana Bhavan types for rest of the day)
o Mami: Unga ammavaye samachu poda chollungo!

 And finally mood of the Mami that day when she woke up!!!

So it’s but natural that Mamis get irritated when having decided the menu after solving such a complex equation are faced with the usual Innikkum Atheva comment!!!

Intelligent Mamis get around this by different ways. For Example,

1. By making the Mama cut vegetables on the weekend. Neenga enna narukki tharelo, athukku ethha madiri thaan menu irukkum. So the ball or rather menu is lobbed to Mama’s court.

2. Apply Nanu mama’s 5th law of cooking. Which is ‘When in a dilemma on menu, do what the British taught us – “Divide and Rule”. Ask the family members themselves to suggest the menu. Usually no two person’s choice of menu matches within the family. You can then decide on your own menu based on your above complex algorithm and move on.

I am talking all this in the context of our previous and probably current generation. In the GenNext Tambrahm households empowered and emboldened by the IT revolution the situation is different. On weekends before answering the Innikku Enna Menu question, there is a more fundamental question and issue to address. Which is what to do for food that day!! In the morning while having the morning cuppa of filter coffee, the couple have to decide based on the following choices regarding their food:

1. Outside – Outside: This means go out and have food in a restaurant

2. Outside – Inside: Order food from outside and have at home

3. Inside – Outside: Make food at home and eat out (Picnic/Potluck party,…)

4. Inside – Inside: Make at home and eat at home

While and 1 and 2 are the most common these days, 3rd is getting popular particularly with NRIs and “Expat Returns” and 4th is rare and resorted to if either of the couple or both or the kid is not keeping well!!!

So in the above framework, if the husband asks the question – Innikku menu enna??? the answer from the wife usually is
Time 8 thaane aagarathu. 10 mani aagattum. Saravana Bhavan open pannina odane kettu solren!!
Or
Why are you asking me? Antha “Menus folder” a paathu neeye decide pannikko!!
Or
Whatever you want, tell the bhai. She will make it for you!!!
Or
Adhaan Appa, Amma veettu pakkathile veedu vaangindu okkanthindu irukkele. Appadiye Anga poi chaptukongo! Amma payyanukku ketta thellam panni tharuva!!!
Or
Innikku weekend aache! For a change why don’t you cook??? (Husbandukku endaappa kelviya kettomnu irukkum!!!)
So the next time Innikku Menu Enna question comes to your mind, manasileye vechukongo!!!

The Rasam Conflict!

Akin to many unresolved conflicts in the world if there is one among Tambrahms – it is the Rasam Conflict! I.e if Rasam has to be consumed “theliva” or “elakki / kalakki.” And as far as I know the Tambrahm race is split down in the middle on this one! In every family there are those who prefer Rasam only as “thelivu” and others who want it “elakki”! It is almost difficult to fathom what drives this choice.

In a family with 2 kids – it is not surprising to have one preferring “thelivu” and the other “elakina” rasam. Thereby giving opportunity for some cheeky mamas to quip – “Oh ivan Appa Ramendran mela poyirukkaan. Rendamathavan, Amma Paarukutty mela poyirukaan – Ava madiriye elakki thaan Rasam kudikaraan!! – So it may appear that this Rasam preference is something conveyed through the DNA strands or so I thought until I saw a family where both the parents preferred their ‘Thelivu” Rasam while the kids wanted Rasam the other way.

In those days mamas who wanted their Rasam thelivaa would get hyper if served with nalla elakina Rasam! “Enakku rasam thelivaa thaan venam. Intha Kuppai yoda rasathai kottathe!” By the way what he referred as “kuppai” are actually part of the ingredients that transform hot “puli thanni” into Rasam – Paruppu, karuveppalai, and the works!! “Enna mama, Kuppainnu solrel. Paruppu vikkara velaila???” normally falls in deaf ears.

Ushaaraana mamis (by the way most Tambrahm mamis are) when having guests at home, make it a point to ask each guest their preference 1st. “Rasam ungalukku thelivaa vidava illa elakki vidava”?? So that the dining table doesn’t become a Kurukshetramshortly. The problem comes when the choice alternates between elakki and thelivu from one guest to another. Because once the Rasam is elakufied then you have to give it some time to settle down before serving to the next person who wants it thelivaa!!!

The problem usually is amplified when the Rasam made for lunch in the morning is carried forward to the evening for dinner. Because by that time the qty of Rasam is diminished to the extent that it becomes difficult to separate the Thelivu!!! Of course in which case the time tested formula for dilution and thinning of the Rasam by adding hot water and garnishing with some Rasam powder comes into play!!!
In the households of young couples, this conflict is less I believe. Because if the husband insists on one type of Rasam,.. the answer usually is, “Dei, naan inga Rasam panrathe perisu. Onaku thelivu kekkaratha??? If you want then call up Saravana Bhavan and order the Rasam by your specification and drink!” And the husband usually surrenders with,”Ammadi, nee enna Rasam venna pannu. Panninaa sari!
And then there are those Rasam drinking connoisseurs who say, “Mami, Rasatha thelivaa oru tumblerla kuduthudungo. Apparam elaila nanna kalakki vidungo!”

Our Nanu mama has a very practical solution to address this problem. Which is to take out Thelivu Rasam in a separate paathiram as soon as the Rasam is prepared. Which is his 4th law of cooking. For every bowl of thelivu Rasam, you should have an equal bowl of elakkina Rasam!!! So that you can serve easily as per choice of people!!! The only flip side is if both the Rasams minjufy and have to be carried forward, one has to find space for 2 vessels instead of one inside the fridge!!!

Kaineettam Collection Time!

“Konthey, onnu ezhunthuko! Innaiku Vishu aakkum! Appidiye kanna moodindu, paathu vaa!” The moment the wife utters these lines today morning even as early as 5’0 clock, I am certain that our 10 year old daughter will wake up like a robot instantly and start walking. This is unlike the other days where virtually we have to cook up different stories like “Konthey, innaiku schoola film kaatara, get up and get ready quickly or cheekiram ezhunthiru – picnickku late aayidum or dance period irukke innaikku, ezhunthuko,…,… Basically all stories not related to studies! Athe samayam, leavu naalna oorukku minnnaadiye ezhunthuduva. But today as she wakes up and we guide her to the Swami ullu with her eyes closed, she is all full of excitement and enthusiasm. For soon, she will get a few currency notes as Vishu Kaineetam from her Appa and Amma. After the Kani Kaanal is over as I hand over a crisp 500 rupee note to her with blessings, the immediate response is “Ennappa, only 500 Rupees this year also??”

(Now here imagine some cloud kind of thing swirling over my head as I flash back to the Vishu day of my childhood – somewhere in the 70’s)

In Tamil Nadu where I was brought up, Vishu was observed only by Tambrahms of the Palakkad/Kerala Iyer origin. So it’s a day of one-upmanship among friends who didn’t observe Vishu. “Enakku engappa/amma naalaikku naraya kaasu tharuvaale!!!” – kinda stuff. The previous day while we go to sleep, Amma/Appa would set up the Vishu Kani in the night. We can hear murmurs of “Onnoda necklace vei, Ongaloda modhiratha first kazhatungo,..,…” emanating from the Pooja muri. In the early morning usually around 5, Amma would wake us up – “Konthey, onnu ezhunthuko! Innaiku Vishu aakkum! Appidiye kanna moodindu, paathu vaa!” Though we did this year after year, there used to be a sense of palpable excitement as we slowly walked with eyes closed towards the Pooja room and opened the eyes in front of the Vishu Kani! In half sleep mode, generally we went thro the motions of what we were asked to do like worshipping and smelling the Mambazham, Apple,… At the end of it Appa would remove a new crisp 5 rupee note from the silver thaambaalam kept in the Kani and hand over the same to each of us as Vishu Kaineetam. The only day we get to receive money as Kaineetam from Appa. The other days usually Appa’s kai neelum with kuchi. For some silly mistake in the Maths paper or grammar mistake in English paper,… Once we get that in hand, we used to do a shastaanga namaskaaram usually without the abhivadaye in that thookapichu mode!!! And then it’s the turn of the Amma to give a shining 2 rupee coin as her kaineetam. Again a namaskaram ensued. Between the 3 siblings there used to be a competition to olichu vechufy the money from one another. That 7 rupees was equivalent to probably 700 Rs of today enough to float in Cloud 9 for few weeks!!!

Usually Vishu day is a day where we as kids used to have collection targets!! Among kuttigal – “onakku etharai kedachuthu?? Enakku 55 Rs kedachuthu” types. Vishu day or even a few days in the vicinity, if you meet some elderly mama he is supposed to give you some Vishu Kaineetam. So that day even Nanu athimber whom we generally avoid to escape his serial questions, is a welcome entity! Naangale poi avar kaala vizhunthu avar kekara kelvikellam badhil cholliduvom. Just to get the Vishu Kaineetam of 1 Rupee! Similarly we never used to spare the neighbourhood mamas who were from Palakkad. Remember vividly one mama who used to go on a nostalgic trip every year when we went to meet him on Vishu. – “Noorani la Vishu annaikku enna pramadama irukkum theriyumo??” He used to ignore our “Theriyume mama. Pona Varusham thaan chonnele” and continue to labour his Noorani stories. For us it was a small price to pay to maximize our kaineetam collections!!

We usually pray in advance to have some relatives at home during Vishu. And since Vishu is usually in April during summer vacations, some mama, chittappa, athai,.. used to be there. And after Vishu when we used to visit our “Native place” – Kerala for summer vacation every year, the Kaineetam collection obsession continued. Whenever we used to visit our relatives place, before even anybody says something we used to do a namaskaram of the Thatha/mama/chittappa/periappa/Athimber,.. That was the cue for them to open their purses. Some wouldn’t resist the urge to take a dig at us – “Ennada, enna paathale oduvaai. Innaikku vizhunthu vizhunthu namaskaram panraai?? But happily would hand us over our due. So by the time we return to our base after vacation we all became flush with cash. While these are etched in memory can’t remember what we did with that money or where the money vanished???

The nearby Ayyappa temple which was managed in Kerala style with Namboodiris,.. used to distribute Kaineetam on Vishu day to all for which there used to be a long line. After 2 years, they introduced a special line for senior citizens supposedly to give some relief to elders. It so happened the normal line got shorter and the special senior citizen line continued to be long!!! So as children we used to get on to the normal line and collect our Kaineetam quickly!!!

As we celebrate yet another Vishu today, it’s great that we are able to maintain the Vishu and the associated Kani Kaanal and Kaineetam tradition even to this day! But just wondering with all this drive towards reducing cash transactions and increasing digital payments post demonetization,.. kaineetamum thro some App – digital aayidumo?

On that note, wish you all a very happy Vishu!!! “Kaineetathai online la anupichudungo!!!”

Thottukka Enna?

“Konthey, Dosai vaathu vechurikken, chooda irukku, vandu eduthukko!” – A loving and caring Tambrahm mother’s very usual call to her son at the time of food. The teenage son who is immersed in solving a model question paper (what else) for some entrance exam responds, “Dho vanthutten Amma! Thottukka Enna?” More than the dosai, the “thottukkara item” or the side dish remains the cornerstone of Tambrahm eating and living habits even to this day! Many will go happily hungry rather than eat without the proper side dish. “Pattiniya kedapene thavira, intha dosaiya ketchup kooda ellam thottundu chappida maatten, aamam, cholutten” – familiar line isn’t it??? This is one more aspect of Tambrahm household which has come vamsaa vazhiyaa!!!

In the rigid annals of any Tambrahm family, the “combination” matrix is another knowhow which is passed from one generation to another generation. As per our Nanu Mama’s 3rd law of cooking, “For every item there are many equal and opposite thottukara items in terms of taste.” And there is a matrix with main dishes and side dishes which establishes the hierarchy of preference. So for every main dish you have a “thottukara item” which has been established in terms of the 1st choice, 2nd choice, third choice and then vera ethuvume illaati, what is the last option and so on.

For example, for the most common Idli – the first choice for thottukka is Chutney. And then Saambaar. And when both are not there – you settle for Molagai Podi. If you think it was as simple as that, sorry, Conditions apply. On Sundays there is a mandatory twist. The one and only option for Idli is Chinna Vengaya Saambaar!!! This I am talking of at home on normal days for morning tiffin or night palahaaram. At marriages and functions, it has to be Chutney and Saambaar and Molagai Podi. For children, Idlis with Molagai Podi mixed with Sugar or Idlis with Curd and Sugar (probiotic aache, vayathukku nallathu!!!) As I mentioned, the days when there is no Chutney or Saambaar, hell hath no fury than this. The usually smart ambi that day makes a lot of silly mistakes in Maths. And God save the mama’s colleagues that day at the office. “Ennappa ivalavu carelessa credit/debit entry podare? How can you be so careless I say??” Ore Archanai mazhai thaan! Nowadays, I am told that smart office colleagues call up the mami and ensure that the menu on appraisal days are done with the right combination!

More than the main items, to bring in some variety day in and day out in the thottukara item is one aspect on which our mamis get bugged about. “Ennamma daily Chutneye pannindu irukkiye?” Is a very usual refrain from kids who don’t care about the nuances of a Tomato Chutney Vs Coconut Chutney Vs Green Chutney. And on a Sunday for morning tiffin, if the Idli is not accompanied by Chinna Vengaya Saambaar one can expect the mamas to go ballistic – “Vengaya Saambaar illama oru Idliya?? Ennathu ithu?? Naan Mani’s café la poi chaaptukkaren!” (“Pongolen, enga vena pongo, naana vendangaren. Intha veyyalla samayal panrathukku naan padara kashtam enakku thane theriyum. Ithula Chinna Vengaya Saambaar illena idli erangaatho???” – may be the mami’s answer. But will keep the Tambrahm Mama-Mami repartee for another blog)

One of the important aspects for newlywed couples to reconcile is the “thotukka enna” matrix from both sides. In the first few months, the main reason for fights among the husband and wife is the mismatch and disagreements on the combination. “Engaathula sevaikku mor koottan thaan pannuvom” as per the wife. “Sevaikku mor kootaana?? Sahikaathu. Engamma Chutney thaan pannuva!!” as per the husband. “Engaathula Adai na avial than combination” – Husband. “Engaathula Adaikku vellam thaan thottuppom” – Wife. And like this for all dishes.

Since as a Tambrahm one can be from Tamil Nadu or Kerala or partly here – partly there, the ideal combination is very closely linked to geography of Poranthaam for mamis. This is a classic case of Geography coming in the way of ensuring chemistry between the couple! This disconnect remains a contentious issue in some families for the life time. In fact a known couple ended up in divorce within a few months as the wife due to her lineage forgot to serve Upma with Pazham repeatedly. The husband took to domestic violence every time Upma was made for morning tiffin eventually leading to divorce!

So I feel that during marriage match making, after matching the horoscopes, families should exchange the “thottukka enna matrix” as well to avoid marital tension later. Bharatmatrimony.com and its ilk are well advised to include these very important fields in their data base.
During friendly get-togethers involving Tambrahms during dinner, I have witnessed families engaging in heated discussion about food in general and the combination in food in particular. Which goes something like, “Engathula thayir sadathukku uppilitathukku oorugaai thaan pradaanam.” “Yei, thayir sadathukku pulinji thaan best.” “Ennakku Thayir Sadathukku oru mor molaga iruntha porum.”

As I mentioned earlier, depending upon the history and geography, the combination preferences of Tambrahms keep changing. While there is near unanimity in some combinations, as per me there is one combination for which the jury is still out. That is whether to eat Paal payasam with Pappadum or not. Ungalodu ennavaakum choice???

Ela Pottachu!

For any Tambrahm worth his or her uppu, the phrase “Ela Pottachu” must immediately ring a bell or rather Getti melam!!! For, in any function one attends these days from Kalyanam to Poonal to Shastiaptapurthi to Sadhabhishegam or even Sasthapreethi the otherwise sober mamas and mamis, take a different avatar moment the phrase “Ela Pottachu” spreads in the hall! Enthusiastic mamas and mamis who are in the midst of “avaloda Jathakam eduthacha?” and “New Jerseyla ore thanuppu theriyumo??? conversations quietly wriggle to “Vantha 1st velaya paarupom” (Read as Handing over the cover/gift to the concerned). Once that is done, it’s time for Vantha 2nd velai – read as Saapaadu. The action shifts from the main hall to the dining hall!

There was a time in TamBrahm functions, literally you will have to beg people to eat in the 1st pandhi. Most of them – youth and old alike would settle for Velambing for the 1st few pandhis and then only would eat in the last. “Nadaswaram, melam ellam vechu koopittaathaan chaapida varuvela??” “Illa Bombay Sistersoda Bojanam Seiyya vaarungo paattu podatuma??? These used to be the type of lighter vein banter to get people to come and eat. Not anymore. With caterers taking over the serving, once the Muhurtham is over, many people settle to “Vantha mukkiyamaana velaya mudichudarom”!!! At heart there are 2 insecurities. First, if the count goes haywire the nice viscous saambaar may become close to flowing rasam by the 4/5th pandhi. Second, the initial enthusiasm of those serving gradually may wane and they start ozhapping. Having counted the days eagerly for a nice saddhi saapaadu, both could be extremely disappointing! So the game plan is to keep guilt pangs like 1st pandhileye saapidarome aside and try to hit the elai as early as possible. You will agree with me that it’s easier said than done – if you look at some of the following real life experiences at the dining hall these days:

• As you settle down to start eating and just as you move from paruppu/nei to saambaar, you will start feeling a whiff of warm air in your neck and shoulders. As you turn around to check, you will realise that a line is forming for the next pandhi right behind you even as you just started! “Breathing down one’s neck” can be literally felt here!

• As you dig in to relish the items one by one, you can hear whispers from behind like, “intha manushan enna ippadi izhu izhu izhukaraare! Sadhiye chapattathillai polarikku!!”

• Even as YOU try to get the attention of those you serve, you will get ample help from behind – “Saarukku inga thayir!!!”Pochu, your desire of going for one more round of ada pradaman payasam goes in vain as the person behind you has already made you move on to thayir!!!

• The other day, while a person was eating he got a call. Just as he was making an attempt to retrieve his mobile which was tucked somewhere between his pot belly and veshti, he got a sermon from a waiting mami. “Mama, phone ellam apparum pesikkalaam. Seekiram mudingo!!!”

“Gappa adichathu porum, naanga romba nerama waiting inga” – One mami was heard telling 2 ambis who were discussing pros and cons of Modi’s Demonetisation!

• In another case, paavam one young lady was sitting and having food with her 5 year old daughter and trying to make her eat. That’s all. Barbs started. “Kuzhanthaikku thaniyaa saapaadu eduthundu poi kuduka padaatho??? Inga ippadi paduthindu irukaale???”

“Mamaakku sugar! Irunthaalum ippadi 2 payasathayum maathi maathi vaangi kudichindu irukaar!!” Another barb at a mama who was enjoying his payasam with a vengeance (his wife was not around) without realizing that he is now sitting like a Nandi before the next Pandhi!!
• Just as you attempt to move your now swollen tummy and get up, the person in the line behind has already occupied the chair like “Minnal”!!!
• For the in between rows which don’t have sufficient space for people to line up behind – people use innovative ploys to reserve their seats. Like:
o In some temples in Tamil Nadu just as you alight from your vehicle, you will see ladies who sell offerings reserving their customers from at a distance by saying, “antha sevappu sari ennuthu, Antha periya pottu mami ennuthu,… Like that, in pandhis also you can hear– from at a distance – “antha yellow kurta en seat, that ponchampalli mami’s seat is mine,..!!!”
o The time tested technique of throwing kerchief from a distance to reserve the seat as soon as a person gets up!!!
o Before itself, befriending the boys who serve and asking them to reserve the seat when you come!!!
o If those who are sitting and eating are your friend/relatives asking them not to let anybody else sit other than you!!
o So on and so forth!!!

So one can see, it is becoming a brahmaprayathanam to eat properly in a function now without getting embarrassed or being shameless!!!
So here are some suggestions (some serious, some satirical) to get over this:

• Have both options of buffet and Ela potta saapaadu. So people can choose and decide.
• If only Ela potta pandhi – have 2 separate rows for Senior citizens.
• Like they have row wise boarding in airlines, have alphabetical order wise calling. (That my name starts with A has nothing to do with this suggestion!!!)
• Have eating sequence as per arriving sequence in the hall. So earlier you come, earlier you can eat! As you enter, you will be issued a dining pass with a sequence number. Accordingly to the sequence you will be admitted in the respective pandhis. (When you keep track of the attendees you can also ensure adequate quantity of food and you can avoid extending the saambaar after the 3rd pandhi!!!
• Introduce a “Saapaadu sequencing app” wherein you will get a notification when your seat is ready in the pandhi. You can just go exactly at that time!!!
• Of course you can also tie a tag with a RFID chip to all guests as you enter which will record the time as you enter and give a beep when your seat is ready in the dining hall!!!

Hopefully by adopting some ideas like this, one can enjoy the function fully without training your ears all the time to hear the important phrase – “Ela pottachu!!!”

Kalyanama? En conditions Apply!

These days, in many TamBrahm households, with girls of marriageable age, the parents are gripped with tension – “Ivalukku kaala kaalathula kalyanam aaguma”??? On the other side, in households with boys of marriageable age, the parents are also gripped with tension in fact more tension – “Ivanukku intha jenmathula kalyanam aaguma”???Girls’ side – because of the many conditions the daughter is listing and boys’ side wondering if their son can ever fulfill the conditions of today’s girls. Whichever side it is – prachanai konjam gambeeram thaan!

Most of us must would remember the film ‘Manal Kayiru’ in which playwright and stage veteran Visu made his debut as a director. The film has the male protagonist played by comedian S.Ve.Shekhar laying out an elaborate list of 8 conditions which a girl must satisfy to become his wife. The director himself playing the role of a marriage broker in the pre – Tamilmatrimony/ Srutivani era lines up a girl and cons the hero into accepting her by proving that all his conditions were met. In these times of sequels, if one thinks of making Manal Kayiru – 2, one important change is called for in the script. Or rather a role reversal. Today, it has to be the female protagonist who has to dish out the conditions to be met by her potential suitor.

There was a time (Pre 2000) in the TamBrahm community when it was very fashionable for the prospective grooms in those days to have a Specification sheet for his future wife. The specs used to range from looks to education to upbringing to skills sets…  Nanna Samaika theriyanum, Kudumba Paanga irukkanum, Kalyanam aana velayai vittudanum, Nanna paada theriyanum, Bharatnatyam kathindu irukkanum

But post the IT revolution which swarmed India in general but Tambrahm community in particular, the whole situation is different. india’s IT rise has stopped the party the boys were having, on its tracks. Today, it’s the girl who call the shots.  The result is there for all of us to see nowadays.

Once the digital match happens via some matrimony.com, the parents slowly broach the subject with their daughter. “Ennadi intha payyana pidichiruka”?? And the responses start coming usually like this:

“Avan mogathila oru kalla lakshanam. Venda

“Paaka sumaara irukkaan, aana Non-IT background. Enakku sari pattu varaathu”

“Seemingly o.k, but avan companyla en friends irukka. Avaal ta check panninen. He has never got an On site so far. So….”

“He is o.k.. but kalyanam aagatha akka oruthi irukka pola irukku veetula, sari padave padathu”

He seems fine, but total CTC thaan potirukkaan. Enna Take home nnu theriyanum.

Naan avan profilea FB la check panninen… Thathu bithu nu post pannindirukkaan!! Cannot stand his sense of humour!

Sonthama Veedu innum book pannala polarukku!!

So on and so forth..

In this vadi katting, most of the cases get into the Recycle bin! (Digital cases aache)

After this microscopic scrutiny, if some case survives comes the next step of “getting to know each other” meeting.  In this meeting the girls usually come prepared with a set of conditions and questions while the boys just show up without much preparation.

The girls usually start with – “I would like to make things very clear now itself. Don’t expect me to be a wife like your Amma or Paatti”!!!

Avalavu thaanAppave the boy konjam backfoot la!!!  But still, konjam sudharichundu, “No, no absolutely no. Go ahead”.

O.k Ennoda conditions are:

  • “We cannot be in Joint family after marriage. Even if we are in the same city, we will live separately. When we have a kid, they can stay with us so that they can have the joy of spending time with their grandchild”
  • Naan, en parentsukku ore ponnu. So I will have to take care of my parents even after marriage monetarily and emotionally. Pinnaala, no questions must be asked on this.
  • “I don’t know to cook so much. In fact I can’t cook to save my life. Will try to learn as soon as possible. In fact, I turn on the GPS as soon as I enter the house, so that I can locate the kitchen

I hope you know cooking. So that we can manage”

  • “Enna dress venna pottuppen – Modern, traditional, whatever. Decent dressing thaan”.
  • “Apparaum, will not give up my job under any circumstances after marriage. And for me my career is very important. So Onsite kadacha, I will go”
  • “Then most important, I will decide when and how many children to have”

“If these are acceptable and o.k, namma further proceed pannalaam!

The boy now having gone thro few similar routines in the past and backed out hearing the conditions, doesn’t want to miss this time.

Boy: “Yes, yes. I agree. These are very normal conditions. I support them.”

Girl: “I have a few questions for you. Kekalaama?”

“Do you smoke? I don’t like smoking and smokers”

“Do you drink?  Intha social drinker appadi, ippadinnu kathai ellam vendaam. If we get married, you will have to give up smoking, drinking…”

“And I hope there is no other excess baggage in your family. Means – apart from your Appa, Amma and your sister – there is no old athaipaatiKollu Paati… living with you, no???”

The meeting gets over.

The boy is still in a daze. “Enna pannalaam? O.k sollalaama, Vendaama? Adutha case itha vida innum pathu conditionsoda vantha enna panrathu??”

The Girl is also in a daze. “Enna ithu, oru conditionume podala?? Maha reject caseaaa irukkumo???”

Back at the girls house – “Ennama un conditionsukellam o.k sollitaana???”

And back at the boy’s house – “Ennada, nee onnum conditions ethuvum podaliye??? O.k sollittaala??”

P.S: I read that S.Ve.Shekhar is in fact planning the sequel – Manal Kayiru – 2 with his son in the lead. I am sure that in this the conditions will be on his son!!!