Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Tiffin Saptela Mama?? (Uncle, Did you have tiffin?)

After a hiatus, I decided I should fill this space with something from the crap-pacura bore-o-database of mine. The last weekend was spent at Chennai as I had gone to grace the occasion of my cousin's Upanayanam (for the uninitiated, this is a very important part of a Tambram (Hip term for Tamil Brahmin) boy's career.) with my presence. It is better known as the Sacred Thread Ceremony. In even more simpler terms, it is the juncture where Tambram IT employees( a majority of the tambram population under the age group of 22-35 can be categorized here) get to meet slightly aged Mamas(Maternal/Paternal Uncles) and Mamis(Maternal/Paternal Aunties) from the family, (near, far and very far) and discuss important subjects such as the weather, democracy, politics, US Mapillais (Bridegrooms), Carnatic music etc.

It is traditionally believed that the ceremony is performed to mark the point at which boys begin their formal education. So, in IT terms, one can say this get together is prone to involve a number of Knowledge Transfer sessions from the aged to the youth. Talking of KT sessions, one such Mama asked me one such question as to why I am working in a very less known company like CA Inc after graduating from BITS Pilani, while many other cousins from colleges in Chennai have made it to big software giants like TCS, CTS,Wipro, Infosys etc. It was a googly. I knew it would be futile to explain that the company is a big one in the US  and not so in India etc. So i let it go. Like in most crime thrillers and detective stories where one thing leads to the other etc and then the criminal is brought to light by a series of incidents, my conversation with Mamas took dangerous leaps. After having enquired about my inability to land a job in a company whose name is well known in the Tambram circles of South India, the aged relative decided to take a stab at my eating habits. This demands an explanation.
Scene: Dining hall, second floor.
Situation: Lunch.
Menu: Paruppu Usili(Beans with Lentils), Moar Kozhambu(Curd based Sambar), Urlakazhangu masiyal(Potato Smash), Paruppu(Lentils), Sambar, Rasam, Payasam, Vada, Appalam etc.

Immediately after the Samayal Mama(Chief Cook) served nei(ghee), i put my fingers on the vazha elai (Banana Leaf) and started licking the ghee. That act of mine is considered as 'Abacharam'(Wrong Doings) in South Indian Tambram circles and the act is punishable in the court of Tambram laws of Madi(Cleanliness) and Acharam(Neatness). Out of the many mamas and mamis sitting around me in the dining hall, atleast 23 of them noticed that criminal act of mine and exchanged disgusting looks. Their representative in the closest proximity to me called for an investigation into the disastrous habits (such as the one detailed above) which I have inculcated since leaving home post 12th standard. One thing lead to another and that sort of a thing ensued and the consortium decided that colleges these days are lacking in inculcating good habits to young fellas. As a result of which abyssmal young ch(e)aps like me are growing like weeds in the otherwise impeccable society.

Apart from the few of these untoward incidents that are very common for youths at Tambram functions, other routines were less intimidating. Four course meals, Enna da Ambi Sowkiyama?(What's up you eligible bachelor,How are you?) conversations,Iyer aathu jinglees(Spinsters from Tamil Iyer families), Hey-Long-Time-How-Have-You-Been's........ It was a wonderful get together and after a long time i met a few of my distant relatives who i thought were in Antarctica or Scandinavia. Contrastingly, they were right there in Chennai and this function gave me a good summary of the who-is-where-and-doing-what syllabus (a mandatory course in most south indian families). Besides these revelries, the usual seettu kacheri (Rummy) was in the agenda and the usual fun games like Identify that Mama in White, Name that Mami in Blue Madisaar etc were also played. A lively get together after a long long time.


Raring Roadster said...

u copied ur bio from krish ashok's blog eh..?? looks very similar..

KauP said...

Segar! Neeye dhaane Tiffin saaptelaa nu laam pechu koduthu vaangikattindrukka...Idukkudhaan apdiye sidaaa mami ya laam mattum sight adishtu poite irukkanum da...Unless you had this possibility of a hilarious post in your mind. Nice one da.

Raj said...

nice da... I feel reminiscent of good old days in Chennai mandabams having items like parupu usili and more kozhambu...too bad tambrams are not business minded enuf to start a restaurant in Palo Alto.:P

Pradeep Sekhar said...

Bio from 2-3 blogs. One is Krish Ashok, Another is Farting Pen.

Pradeep Sekhar said...

Thanks!! According to protocol, i cannot get away if i try and avoid Mamas in such gatherings. So i talk the talk and after it's done, walk the walk. Simpler u see.

Pradeep Sekhar said...

Raj From Paulo Alto: Can you give a brief intro? I am not able to spot you as an acquaintance. Sorry for that though. And yea, that's a good business idea. If somebody can fund me, Thou shall execute!!

Pradeep Sekhar said...

Sorry Raj:

Me not being the net savvy/computer savvy individual, i missed out the possibility of clicking the profile link to check out who Raj was.

But wiser instincts prevailed later on and I see it is the one and only Rajagopal Sathyamurthi!!! The next Vinton Cerf from Stan!!!

Sorry for the disttuurrrbbaanccceee. No intros please. My Bad!!!

murali said...

lol max!!! he he he he.. @ raj.. cant you just make a simple comment without mentioning the fact that u are US maapilai!! Mudiyala!

Pradeep Sekhar said...

Machi Raj a kalaikadha....Raj from Palo Alto is a soon to be celebrity. And his lifetime dream has been to capture some Iyer Aaathu Jinglee by achieving the post of "America Mappillai". Wish him best of luck in those endeavors. No Kalaiching Raj!! I will not allow that!!! Lol MegaMax

Madan Chander said...

(controlling my words for respect of public)
Enda koduma paduthura... especially with the LITERAL translations in brackets !!!
"...Whats up YOU ELIGIBLE BACHELOR..."????? WTF ????

Pradeep Sekhar said...

One has to respect the Non Tamil Speaking group of people who visit this space. It would have been totally unfair to have written this post with Brahminical Tamil, thereby putting those above mentioned poor souls in an awkward position

Raj said...

@sekar and terror: Doesn't Palo Alto sound like a place in Mexico? In fact there IS a place in Mexico by the same name. I should thank you guys for helping me achieve my original intent. :)

Pradeep Sekhar said...

Machi....engaluku therinjadhu ellam tenkasi, thanjavur, salem, chengalpattu, thoothukudi....Minji pona Madurai....nee edho dassu bussu nu oor paeru elam solitu..engala kalaikara pathiya...America Mapillai Symptoms!!!