Tag Archives: We Are Tambrahms

Smart Phones and Tambrahm Mamas!

When it comes to mobile phones and in particular the smart phones, Tambrahms (mamas and mamis in equal measure) have mixed feelings. On the one hand, they understand and appreciate that some of the aspects of the mobile phones have made their life lives easier and without it, it would be very difficult. On the other hand, they also feel that there is too much of mobile phone usage these days among youngsters which is not good.

And when it comes to adopting the use of the mobile phone, Mamas can be classified into 3 types:

  1. Digital Savvy Mamas: These mamas are those who show a lot of interest in adopting new technology or anything new in general. From the normal phone to Smart phone to use of computer/laptop to Tablets, these mamas are adept in learning quickly and using them extensively. These mamas in their prime would have transitioned from the Manual typewriter to Electronic typewriter and then to a Computer easily and smoothly because of their innate interest. Less than 10% of mamas fall in this category.

You can easily spot these mamas. They will be mostly on the phone all the time. At home if not on the phone, they will be reading “The Hindu” or other newspapers these days in digital version on their Tablets.  They most likely watch IPL matches on the phone or their Tablets on Hotstar.  They will be accessing YouTube for the all the Carnatic music content they want to listen/watch and are up-to-date with the online schedules of artists.  For example, these mamas would have invariably subscribed to Sanjay Sabha channel and would be listening to Sanjay Subramanyam’s kutcheris online that too as soon as the content is uploaded. Even they do “Amavaasai tharpanam” themselves by referring to YouTube! They would have downloaded some health App and would be monitoring their vitals through the same. They attend Bhagavathy Sevai with their tablets and read Lalitha Sahasranamam from that.

  1. Analog Mamas: These mamas are exactly opposite to the Digital Savvy Mamas and have an allergy for technology or for that matter anything new. They are happy without technology or with very minimum use of technology. Mostly when typewriters were replaced by Computers, they would have opted for VRS. Usually 10-20% mamas fall in this category. They normally lament as follows:

“Enakku intha Smart phone ellam seri pattu varaathu…  Aaru smart’aa illiyo, avaalukku thaan Smart phone venam”!

“Ippo yaara paathalum, eppovum oru phone’a nondeendu okkanthundu irukka!”

“Intha kaalathu kozhanthagal – Sivanoda kazhuthula paambu chutthindu irukume, athu maadiri eppa paaru oru ear phone’a maatitundu okanthindu irukkaa…  Namma kitteyum pechu kidayaathu… namma pesarathayum kekkarathu kidayaathu…”  Sivanennu irukarathu’nna ithu thaan ippo…!”

Paiyyan romba insist panninaan – athanaala oru Nokia phone vechundu irukken. Call receive panrathoda seri!

“Aathula irukkara pothu land line’la thaan pesuven. Maasa maasam bill kattindu irukkom. Athula free STD calls irukke. Athayum consume pannina maadiri irukkum.

Even if they carry a Smart phone, if you ask something, “Enakku athellam theriyaathu. Neeye pannueden” nnu they will readily hand over the phone to you.

  1. Hybrid Mamas: Most of the remaining mamas fall in this category. They are neither obsessed with technology like Digital Savvy Mamas nor allergic to technology like Analog Mamas. Aathula oru kaal, Sethula oru kaal So these mamas use a smart phone wherever it helps. Athe samayathula phone’a appo appo karichu kotarathum undu.

Whenever they get a new phone, oru maasathukku doubt kette pakkathula irukaravaalla padithi eduthupuduvaa.  So their sons and daughters usually direct them to their perans and pethis for clarifying their doubts with patience.  Like we saw in the Malayalam film – At Home, these mamas also maintain a note book to write and keep the steps for using different features of the phone.  The other thing they do is to of course change the ringtone to Ambujam Krishna’s Enna Solli Azhaithaal varuvaayo…  or Alaipaayuthe… in flute and the caller tune to M.S.’ Kurai ondrum illai… or similar. And then change the phone wall paper with kula theivam picture.

Being Hybrid mamas, they don’t use the smart phone for everything. In the sense, they still continue to watch their favourite serials or IPL matches or kutcheris on TV, read the newspaper for news and so on. So much so, with the phone in one hand, Tata Sky remote in the other hand and TV remote in the shirt pocket and newspaper in the lap, these mamas at times resemble “Sankhu Chakra Gadha pani…”!

In their prime, they used to remember telephone numbers by heart. Now they know Tata Sky channel numbers by heart!  These mamas first read the newspaper every morning and update themselves with all the “Actual” News. Then they “open” WhatsApp and go to the different groups like Friends group, Own Family group, Wife family group, Immediate family group,  Walkers group, Music group, Tamil Group, Carnatic music group, Palakkad group, Ex-Office group, Temple group, Society/Colony group etc. etc. and get updated with all the “Fake” news that gets forwarded day in and day out.

Though they can download the App of the bank and check the balance in their accounts, these mamas prefer to visit the bank at least once a week to update their passbooks.

“Intha App, antha App’nnu ethara App’a vechukarathu phone la? Appo appo bank poyittu vanthaa walking aana maadiriyum irukkum, konjam time pass aana maadiriyum irukkum… Intha private bank ellam pass book tharathayum niruthiyutta.  Athanaala naan SBI’la thaan account vechundu irukken. Aana nammallaa appoppo poi anga passbook update pannikanum. Regular’aa update pannaatta, romba neram aagum ella page’ayum print pannathu kulla!”  And strictly they will not use the phone for making payments or purchases etc.… Yerkanave rate of interest Senior citizens’ukku romba kammi aayaachu… Account ’la irukara micha meedhi savings’ayum adichundu poyittaana?

These mamas now have subscribed to various OTT platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix etc. and catch up with the new releases. Sitting in their base in Mumbai/Chennai/Bangalore/Houston/SFO these mamas make it a point to watch Trichur Pooram or their temple ulsavams live on YouTube or Facebook. And one of the important time pass activities for these mamas is to participate in Modi Vs Anti Modi debates on WhatsApp groups that get triggered when someone shares a pro or Anti Modi post!

Not just mamas, mamis can also be categorised in the above types except that for mamis one of the main use of the smart phones is to do Facetime or WhatsApp video calls with their perans and pethis in the US after they finish talking to their daughters on an everyday basis.  So, whenever they get a new phone, the 1st thing they would like to know is how to make a video call.

Neenga entha type?

Yaaru Caterer?

Typically in Tambrahm households, there was a time when you will be faced with a barrage of questions on your return from a function like kalyanam from those who couldn’t or didn’t attend the same. The questions were like:

Yarellam vanthiruntha?

Mandapam sowriyama irunthutha?

Kalayanathukku naduvila mazhai onnum peyyalaiye?

Payyan side manusha eppadi?

Kalyana arrangements ellam eppadi irunthuthu?

Evalavu peru vanthiruppa?

Saapaadu ellam eppadi irunthuthu?

Receptionukkku flute kacherinnu potturunthuthe… eppadi irunthuthu?

Mask ellam potturunthaallo? Social distancing ellam eppadi? (Ithu of course oru varushama thaan Corona kaingaryam)

Nowadays there is only one pertinent question being asked. That is:

Yaaru Caterer?

It seems everything else don’t matter.

So much so, the decision whether to attend the kalyanam or not depends on who the caterer is. In fact, when the kalyana pathirigai comes, people do not shy away from asking – “Yaaru Caterer?” and on hearing the answer – “Oh Nirmalyam’a? Kandippa varuven!”

More so, after Corona it’s been a long while since people attended family weddings and other functions. So accordingly the opportunities to eat a proper kalyana saapaadu have also dwindled drastically.

Mama: “Intha Corona naala vaaikku rujiya oru nalla saapaadu saaptu romba naalaachu….

Mami: Yen, naanga samaikarathu ellaam vaaikku rujiya illiyo???

Mama: Illa illa Kalyana saapaadunnu solla vanthen…

Mami: Manasukulla irukarathu thaan velila varum…

Mama: (Mind voice) Aamaamaam.

So now that Corona situation is getting better with double vaccination and all… all are very eager to attend weddings and functions.

Nowadays even Tambrahm kalyanams have become almost like Punjabi shaadis replete with Mehendi function, Sangeet, Baraat, Bidaai and what not…  Slowly, like Punjabi weddings, the arrangement for the wedding is handed over to a wedding/event planner. But in Tambrahm weddings, the caterer doubles up as the wedding planner or the caterer handles all the saapaadu/bakshanam/seeru etc. while the wedding planner takes care of the other extracurricular activities.  In both these cases, what matters to most is “Yaaru Caterer?”

In order to address this most pertinent question, many have started including the name of the caterer in the invitation card itself.

If in those days, kalyana invitation cards included names of Nadaswaram party and details of kutcheris for the Reception, these days it is the turn to put out the name of the caterer boldly. Of course this is a double edged sword. If the caterer is of high repute, you can expect 25% more crowd for the function. And if the caterer is not known so well, you can expect the attendance to be less.

In different cities, there are caterers who are ranked among the Tambrahm community for their delivery and execution. So the moment the caterer’s name is told, mamas and mamis can make up in their mind how the food and other related arrangements would be.  This is very much like the database which comes in a scene in the Tamil film “Boys”.  In that scene Senthil will list the day wise/ session wise Prasadam schedule in the various temples in and around Chennai and claim that it is an important database he manages and continues to update regularly. Likewise, some mamas maintain a database of City wise caterers ranked from the top. Not just that, the database also includes which caterer is good for which type of food and even which particular item.  I know of a friend mama who has all this info in his tips or rather tongue.

Bombay Ramanioda laddoo nanna irukkum

Previous day breakfastukku elai adai – ithu namma Mumbai Nirmalyam caterers’oda speciality.

Chennai’la Chellappa oda kalyana main saapaadu romba joraa irukkum. Paavam Corona vila poyitaar.

Antha kaalathula Kochi Manioda chakka pradaman’a adichukka mudiyaathu.

Tiffinla variety’nna Rajasekhar.  Aanaa ippo Bombaya vida Chennai thaan concentration…

Coimbatore’la ella catererskume ore all thaan palahaaram ellam supply. Oru factory madiri nadathindu irukka.

Since the next gen Tambrahm weddings are beginning to happen in the US, you will find the data base being updated with caterers from there also like

Antha kaalathula writer Chaavi Washingtonil thirumanam’nnu joke’a ezhuthinaar. Ippo athuve sarva saadaranam aayidithu…

Chembur Jayaramanoda payyan Sydney’la branch aarambichirukaan. Romba nanna panraannu kelvi.

Bay Area la Mylapore Express nanna irukku.

And for those who don’t get to attend the function, the point of interest is the menu. Nowadays, most caterers also put out the session wise menu. And enthusiastic mamas while clicking pictures of the function, also click pictures of the menu cards and keep posting in family groups to verupethufy their mamis  who couldn’t attend.

Mami: Inga enna avaroda vayasaana ammava paathukka chollittu avar anga ennadaanna vellaa vellaikku menuva photo eduthu pottundu irukaar. Breakfastukku Kasi Halwavum and Night la dinnerukku Chola Batura’vuma thingarathu… Apparum Cholesterol control’e aaga mattengarathu’nnu solla vendiyathu…

Not just for Kalyanams, knowing well in advance who the caterer is, is important for music Kutcheris also. During the Music season in Chennai, the decision to attend whose Kutcheri in which Sabha also depends on who the Sabha’s aasthaana caterer is, that year.

Mama 1: “Almost 2 years’kku apparam, Sanjay Subramanyathoda live kutcheri nethikku Narada Gana Sabha’la…

Mama 2: Athaan paathene. Avare, thannoda kutcheri Song list’oda “Canteen by Arusuvai team” nnum pottutaare!

Ongaathu adutha functionukku Yaaru Caterer? Enna athu thaan romba mukkiyam. Because that is what is most important 🙂

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