Tag Archives: Tambrahm

America poyirunthappo….!

These days on a flight from any of the South Indian city to the US, you cannot miss the ubiquitous Tambrahm mamas and mamis on their way to their sons’/daughters abodes in the US. For some it could be the 1st trip to the US. For others, it could be the 2nd /3rd /nth visit!

Usually I have noticed that Tambrahms follow a hate-love-hate cycle with the US. Let me explain. Before they usually get a chance to visit the States (their kids must be still in school/ or in Engineering), their general attitude towards United States is coated in hate and distrust of the US and goes something like this:

“Aaru Americakku ellaam povaa? It’s a capitalist country and everything is about money there. Oru culture undaa? Or Kaarthigai undaa? Namma manusha ellaam America, America nnu odindu irukka! Anga enna thaan irukko appadi!

Inga namma manusha kooda irunthundu kovil, kolam, bajanai, Sasthapreeti, Saapaadu nnu irukara maadiri irukumaa anga? 

Ethaavathu onnu kidakka aayiduthunna inga thane vanthu aaganum?

Aaru 16 mani neram flightla okkanthundu porathu? Enakku inga 2 manikooru flightla pogarathukulla praanam poyidarathu!”

And so on!

Then in a few years, invariably their son/daughter who finished Engineering manage to get MS admission and then in a few years also get a job in the US. Marriage follows. And the mama/mami get a chance to visit the US. During their stay their hate turns into love for America! On their return after few months of stay, when they meet their counterpart mamas and mamis in some kalyanam-kacheri, invariably they regale a lot about their US trip! Something like this:

“16 mani neram ponathe theriyalai! Paiyyan business class la ticket pottu kuduthuttaan! Sleeper berth la pora maadiri sugama irunthuthu!

The other mama who was not fortunate to travel in Biz class joins – “Naan economy la ponnen. Time ponathe theriyalai aana. Pazhaya tamil, malayala padamellam paathu mudichutten!”

And more:

“Evalo neatta irukku theriyumo? Park la walking porache porava ellam ethara bavyama Good Morning uncle/ Good Morning aunty nnu cholra theriyumo? Naanga rendu perume thaniya parkukku walking poyittu varuvom. Bayapadathukku onnum kidayathu! Inga, 6 mani aachunna thaaliya moodindu poga vendi irukku! Ippadi car varum, appadi motor cycle varum nnu paarukave vendaam. Namma baatukku theme nnu walking pannikalaam! 4 maasathila oru 10 kilo weight koranjuthu! Mama oru 6 kilo korachaar. Just walking panni!

Super markettukku pona, ellam kidaikkum.  Vegetables, Fruits ellam ethara fresha irukku theriyumo? Ellam organic vera! Marunthu Kirunthu adichiruppa nnu kavalaye pada vendaam!

Anga iruntha 4 maasathila, naan diabetes patthi kavalaye padalaiye! Mama kkum pressure ellam koranju fitness koodiduthu! Ippo inga vanthapuram rendu perukkum thiruppi thodangi yaachu irumalum, thummalum! Enna pollution inga!

Inga kadaikaratha vida namma items ellam ethara nalla quality theriyumo? Nilgiris nnu oru kadai irukku. Anga pona, kadaikatha namma saadanam kidaiyaathu!

Namma filter Kaapi maadiriye – Starbucks la pona – Café Mishto appadinnu kadaikarathu! Pinna enna venam?

Ivalavu varushama Palakkadla irukkom. Kacheri ellam TV la paathathoda seri! Anga Cleveland festivalla Sanjay Subramaniathilenthu Sanjay Narayan varaikum oru kacheri vidalai!

Ade maadiri Crazy Mohan drama paathuttu, back stage la poi avan kitta pesi, selfie ellam eduthundom! Neenga paathirupele! Mama FB la pottaare! Illane chollungo, Whatsup la anuparen!

A guy in the US usually would have visited the Niagara Falls a minimum of 4 times.

1st – when he goes with his friends for the 1st time as a bachelor!

2nd when he gets married and takes his wife who has joined from India!

3rd when his parents come to visit him usually during his wife’s 1st delivery (Athu ennamo theriyala, US la delivery na, paiyyannoda appa/amma normala US pova – to support the daughter in law during delivery!)

4th when his in laws come to visit – probably during his wife’s 2nd delivery!

So, the thing is usually the visit of the parents to the US in the first few times coincide with the “Delivery” cycles of the sons/daughters.

After this 2/3 visits to the US, for the mama/mami – the love for the US slowly starts morphing into hate again!

“Naanga paiyyan kitta cleara cholliyaachu. Inime ellam anga vanthu 3 maasam, 4 maasam nnu vanthu irukka mudiyaathu engalaala. Neenga venna engala paaka inga varushathukku oru vaatti vanthu poyindu irungo.

16 mani naram flightla aaru okkandundu porathu! Kai kaal ellam kodaiya aaramchudarathu! Appo appo toilettukkum poga vendi irukku! Thirumbi vanthapparam oru vaarathukku thookame varathu illa.

Anga engalakuu time pass aagarathu illai. Paiyyanum Maatu ponnum velaikku poyidara. Peran/Pethi schoolnnu avaa busy. Sani/Nyayar vanthaachunna paatu class, dance class, Costco shopping nnu busya avaalukku poyidarathu! Namakku time passe aaga maatengarathu! Ethara neram thaan intha TV kku minnadi okkaanthundu irukarathu? Inga yaana aaravathu manusha vanthundum poyindum iruppa.

Anga poi namma paduthundutomna avaalukku thaan problem.

Enna aanaalum namma naadu maadiri varaathu! Intha Trump etho kirukkan maadiri vela pannindu irukkaan.

Visa vera expire aayiduthu. Siva Siva nnu irukka vendiya kaalathula, aaru Visa Visa pinnala pogarathu?

Naanum paiyyan kitta chollitten. Inga vanthu ethavathu Wipro leyo, TCS leyo velaya paathundu vanthudunnu! Of course we don’t want to compel them. It is their decision!”

So the hate-love-hate cycle continues. Neenga intha cycle la enga irukkel?

Enga Ponaalum Idli, Dosai!

First a disclaimer. This post may not resonate so well with the current generation or those who were born and brought up in the Post liberalisation India (post 1991). But those in the pre-lib era can relate well to this. Or so I hope.

It is a known fact that for Tambrahms, food is an important ingredient of life. But that doesn’t mean that we as Tambrahms are fine and excited about all types of food. We are biased towards namma type chaapaadu for sure. Any day, we will prefer our Saambaar, Molagoottal, Idli, Dosai,.. over any other exotic regional or international menu. If one does a microscopic research of our DNA strands, mostly instead of X chromosomes and Y chromosomes, there will be I chromosomes or D Chromosomes and so on I think, where I stands for Idli and D for Dosai respectively!

At home, 7 days of the week, 52 weeks of the year or in short every day, we are fine with eating our type of food. For breakfast, evening tiffin and night palahaaram we are O.K. with having Idli and Dosai alternatively. What is important though, (as I outlined in one of my earlier posts –Thottukka Enna? ) is we are more concerned about what goes with it. As long as there is variety in thottukarathu, nambalukku double O.K.!

While this characteristic can be classified as normal (i.e. eating their own type food while at home) even for non Tambrahms, what is special for Tambrahms is that we prefer eating our type even when we go out!

Unlike these days where eating out is very common, those days when we were growing up, eating out was very rare! At Tambrahm households eating out was when the mami at home was veliyila that too when mama couldn’t cook for some reason (usually as we know, most Tambrahm mamas are adept at cooking and therefore walk the talk). Even here, mostly it is “one dozen idly or few dosais parcel” instead of eating in the restaurant!  Another opportunity to eat out was when we were on some temple visit like – Kumbakonam, Guruvayur and so on!  In those places anyway you wouldn’t get anything apart from Idli, Dosai and meals! If not for these opportunities, then it will be when we were travelling to our “native place” in Kerala during summer vacation or for some aathu visesham usually in trains! As the train reached Olavakot junction (these days Palakkad junction), it was time for morning coffee and breakfast which again will be usually Idli and probably Vadai. “Dosai chooda illaatti nenja pidikkum, Idliye adikalaam! would be the elder’s advice!  Some of the co-passengers can be seen buying Vellaappam which usually entices you as kids as well. “Yei,… antha vellaappathila Kallu (alcohol) pottaakkum ferment pannuva, Athellam vendaam. Nee intha Idli thinna porayaa illaya?” used to be the usual refrain!

These days of course the opportunities for eating out are far too many. Any day, any time we eat out! But even today, Tambrahms are very comfortable eating our type of food by and large!

When we go out to eat say during weekends, while this generation kids break their heads to order what they want, for us it just takes a few seconds. Because our order will invariably be – First oru plate Idli Sambar, pinnaala Rava Dosai (or some variant of the same) and then Filter coffee!

Even in marriages and functions where it is common to have a buffet with all varieties of food like Chinese, Chaat counter, Punjabi items and so on, in a Tambrahm visesham, most Tambrahms can be seen crowding the “Dosa counter” and later filling up the plate with Thayir saadam, pickle and mor molaga if available. You can often hear lines like “Namakku intha chaattum bootum ellam sari pattu varaathu. Namma intha dosaiya thingarom! Thayirum Chaadam, ooruga irukko illiyo? Athu porum!”

We all know that these days, mamas and mamis travel abroad frequently and widely. Even when in Bay area in the weekend it will be like – “Namma intha Tirupati Bheemas intha vaaram try pannalaam. Pona vaaram Saravana Bhavan try panniyache!” and for what – eating Idli, Dosai!

Even within India when we go on holidays say to North India, after one day of Naan, Roti, Aloo gobi,.. our stomachs start craving for South Indian food! “Inga pakathula engayavathu Uduppi restaurant ethavathu irukka paaru” will be the refrain, even if food is part of the package! And if that’s not to be found, the conversation on return will go like this:

You: “Enna Mama, Mussorie holiday ellam eppidi irunthathu?”

Mama: “It was o.k. Oru South Indian hotelum illai! 4 naalaiku eppadi intha Naan, roti, paneer chaaptundu kazhikarathu?”

And I know of those who take up foreign vacations only after confirming presence of Saravana Bhavan or Woodlands in the city on the internet!

Mama: “Namakku intha roti, masalaave othukaathu. Ithula Breadayum, cheesaiyum nambi eppidi holidaykku porathu. Malaysiakku poi thindaadinathu ennakku thaane theriyum!”

You: “Malaysia la thamizhaa naraya irukkaale? Namma food kadaikalaya?”

Mama: “Nee vere! Ore Non Veg. Thedi thedi oru Annalakshmi hotela kandu pidichappo thaan Aaswasam vanthuthu!”

If it’s a remote city in China or Japan,.. where Google Guru doesn’t help with a South Indian restaurant, you can be sure that a Tambrahm will equip himself or herself with packets of MTR Upma mix lenthu Puliyodarai mix and what not! Though, here I must add that this is a major compromise because while at home he will not touch a MTR readymade mix with a barge pole! As per our Nanu mama’s 6th law of cooking, “Vayithu samaachaarathula, rigidda irukapadathu. For every genuine chaapadu item, there is a close equivalent item in terms of taste!”

For Tambrahms who are tech friendly these days, even on Apps like Swiggy,.. the most searched food type will be “South Indian food” and most ordered will “Idli. Dosai,…”

For Tambrahm mothers, feeding their sons/daughters isn’t a big problem. Because “Avanukku oru Dosaiya nanna ennai ya vittu murugala vaathu kuduthuttaana, avan baatukku chapatuduvaan!”

 “Avana? – Avan Veetula Raman, Veliyile Krishnan” is a popular line used to explain the character of a man. But as far as eating habits are concerned, for Tambrahms it is always “Veetileyum Idli/Dosai, Veliyileyum Idli/Dosai!”