Tag Archives: Tambrahm

Iyer and Iyer we went…


The objective was quite simple. Find the nearest mall, buy a pair of shorts, and head to the NH7 Weekender. But, what ensued was a series of incidents that could potentially lead to a marathon of ‘What happens when three Iyers walk into a bar’ jokes.

Scene One: Outside the apartment

We rent out an apartment in Hebbal, or as we fondly call it, almost Andhra. And, this is what we see; a scene out a movie set in Texas where land is barren, there are plastic covers flying in the breeze and there is not a single soul as far as the eye can see. We contemplate booking an Uber, but from nowhere Iyer No. 3 spots an auto at a distance and convinces us that that’s a cheaper alternative.

As the auto heads closer, we notice that the autokaran is finding it quite overwhelming to drive in a straight line. But, a large hearted clan that we are (at the most avoidable times), we pity the old, shrunken man driving it and decide to join in.

10 minutes later, we’re three metres away from the apartment gates, still waiting for the auto to start. We remain large hearted.

20 minutes later, we’ve moved 300 metres. Just as we begin to demand God to add this gesture to our good Karma, speed-breaker happens and the auto stalls, half on each side of the speed-breaker. We get down to help push the auto but well, our man, our funny, funny old man starts the auto at ease and moves forward, as though trying to show us that the problem is not with the auto but with our collective weights.

We remain large-hearted and enduring.

30 minutes later, we’ve covered 2 kms and stop to ask a few pedestrians where ‘Esteem shopping mall’ is. A fellow autokaran pops out of nowhere and says, “Madam Helmet shopping mall?” And, Iyer No.2 goes into intellectual mode.

Iyer No. 2: No sir, E ’lement’ shopping mall. We don’t want helmets.

Autokaran: Madam, there is only Helmet mall. Which area you want?

Iyer No. 2: (trying hard not to read too much into his words): I want to go to Esteem Shopping Mall near Hebbal.

 Autokaran (relentlessly): Take right, straight and Helmet mall. New mall. Shopping only no?

Iyer No.1 to Iyer No.2 (encouragingly): Let’s check what’s there. You can also wear a helmet to the concert. You’ll still get noticed.

And so we take a right, go straight and land up in front of what was, in reality, ‘Elements Mall’.

Scene Two: Inside the mall

What’s common between Puma, Domino’s Pizza, Derby and Levis? They’re all opening shortly.

But, we don’t give up. We spot Lifestyle and head into the western wear section.

Iyer No. 2 to the sales lady: Where can I find shorts?

Sales lady (with a straight face): We don’t sell shorts here.

Iyer No.2 (having slight Amma flashback): Err do you have three-fourths?

Sales lady: Yes, we have animal prints and cargos right there (Points straight ahead).

So, we gleefully go and search the whole rack to find one cream coloured three-fourths, naturally, in a size that one can only dream of fitting in.

Location two, Spar (yes yes, the hypermarket only). When Big Bazaar has a clothing section, why can’t Spar? What we found (or didn’t find) there is a different question altogether.   The closest we could get to shorts was a komanam designed like pregnancy pants (you know, like the one Phoebe lends to Rachel when she’s pregnant?)

Disappointed and rather shaken, we head to the food section (which is actually what the place is meant for) and buy lays.

Iyer No.3: I know how to steal this pack of Lays out of the hypermarket without getting noticed.

And so, all three Iyers huddle up in curiosity.

Iyer No. 3 (continues): When you walk out, just stretch your hands up and hold the food packet in your hands. The detector won’t recognize it as you walk out!

Enough said.

Scene three: Outside the mall

Iyer No.3: What do we do now? 

Iyer No.1 (points out to a T-Nagar style fashion boutique): Maybe we should try there; the mannequin has short clothes on it. 

Iyer No.2 (bewildered): Or, there’s an Adyar Ananda Bhavan right down this road. Let’s head there.

And so, we do. After a round of masala dosai, oothappam, steaming hot sambaar and chutneys, we decide to head back to the apartment.

Did we find shorts? No. Did we find our way back? Yes, in a brand new auto with a smart young man who chose not to strike a conversation with us (even to check for directions).

The end.


Tamil New Years – the day that was, is, and will be…


Source: www.walkthroughindia.com

“Do you know what they do on Tamil New Years day?” asked my mother, as she held a mirror in her hand and looked at me questioningly.

After several minutes of desperately trying to recall the connection between the mirror and what she did with it the previous year, I meekly said, “Offer our prayers to God…?” just to regret it immediately.

With a disenchanted look on her face, she placed the mirror on the kitchen slab, walked over to me, yanked the book out of my hand and said, “This time, you will take over the festivities, including the cooking and preparation.”

What ensued was a long-drawn discourse about how a to-be-married girl should be well-aware of what ritual needs to be followed for what festival, what suthu kaaryam (miscellaneous work in the kitchen) needs to be done and how otherwise, the future mother-in-law would venomise not the girl, but her mother, for not raising a well-cultured daughter.

Having learnt over the years that reasoning would yield no result, I silently took the mirror in my hand, and upon her instructions, placed it on a palahai (a wooden slab), adorned it with a gold and pearl chain, and placed a Taambulam tray (which usually consists of bananas, beetle leaves,  areca nuts, coins, and turmeric) in front of it.

“Even Kanchi Maha Periyava used to wake up to a mirror on Tamil New Years,” she added, reassuringly.

As the next day dawned, instead of slipping into a comfortable pair of tracks and an over-sized t-shirt, I dressed up in a red and green pattu (silk) salwar suit (a must have in every Tambrahm wardrobe, I must say), adorned a string of malli poo, and, contented with my attire, stepped into the kitchen, just to be asked, “Why is there no kungumam on your forehead?”

As time passed, under the watchful eye of my mother, I stood near the gas stove, lost in the sweet aroma of raw mangoes mixed with paagu vellam ( a jaggery that’s used for preparing sweets). It was the last dish to be prepared, before I could indulge in the festive meal I took utmost pride in preparing.

As the last of the dishes found a place in front of God (for the first offering), my phone rang.

“Did your mother remember what she has to do for the festival?” asked my grandmother, after we exchanged festive greetings.

Laughing, I glanced in her direction and thought, maybe I’m a reflection of what she was, a long, long time ago.  For now, I would save that story for another day.



Brace yourselves for TamBrahm Arranged Marriage Version Gen-Y


Though enough’s been said and read about the idea of Tambrahm arranged marriages, you just can’t fill the funny, funny void that it has created. I tell you, there’s something fundamentally un-Tambrahmish about arranged marriages today…

1. You meet ‘prospective life partners’ in an ultra cool matrimony networking site. Don’t laugh. It’s cool ok. I have facts to back up my justification.

No hacker can NEVER download your lakshanamaana photo and misuse it! I wonder why they would take it from a matrimony site, but still, let’s give you the benefit of doubt.

2. Oh and every boy or girl is a non-smoker, non-drinker, religious, earns well, will swear to love the future partner until death do them apart and is ‘funny, smart and handsome’. Now, now, I understand if you feel intimidated and loserly.

3. I swear, women spend more time deciding which profile is ‘suitable’ more than they spend time shopping.

4. Go on a normal day and try telling your parents you’d like to date someone…

You tell first. I’ll pray for you.

BUT, in an arranged marriage, you have the freedom to talk to as many, go on multiple dates, talk day-in and day-out, bring home heart-holding teddy bears and show it to smiling parents and, still say ‘No’ and escape pannify at any point of time. No questions asked.

5. God forbid your parents get involved in your ‘first date.’ They’d say, “Paaru andha payyan blazer pottundu smart ah vara poran, Edhavadhu fashionable ah dress podu di”.

This is exactly when you have those flashback moments.

No sleeveless to work, kannu padum.

No ‘midi-skirt’ to meet friends, road la kannu padum.

No dresses to parties. Kalyanamaana pasanga ellam irupa. Kudumbathula kozhapam undaagum! (??!!)

No shorts at home. Vayasu pasanga flat la iruka!

6. Anyway, moving on…today the girl’s/ boy’s parents don’t vijarichufy with pakathu aathu and yethaathu about you. They surusuruppa ‘check you out’ on Facebook. That’s why naa appove sonen,’Keep calm and pray to Umachi’ profile photo vaa maathu nu. Nee ketiya? Ippo anubavi.

7. There are kaadhu ku inimaiyaana moments in your life when a maami suddenly comes and tells your mom, indha kaalathu ponnunga ellam 26 la thane kalyaanam panra. Enna avasaram unaku? Konjam freeeya iruka viden? Now don’t ask me if they were being sarcastic or genuinely meant it. I’m clueless. Anything’s possible. Anything.

8. This is heights of hypocrisy. Before wedding you just HAVE TO wake up early morning, vaasal thelichu kolam potufy, know how to cook Tambrahm saapadu and get home by 9 PM. Why? Because andha imaginary maamiyar and payyan ku seri varaadhu! Post wedding: You get sloshed and end up in a zoo, turn into a hippie, go bald, live under a bridge, pierce your eyebrows, they don’t care. Because adhu ‘un kudumba prachana”.

9. Oh and top it all off, “En ponnu nalla paaduva. Cinema paatu kuda paaduva!”

Thus, the hilarity ensues. To my fellow Tambrahms, Keep calm and really, pray to Umachi.