NRI Upanayanam

Hi hi hi hi hiiii…. After a long time la? Found time today only to write paa…. Exams are going on and I am raking up my brain to get some pass marks atleast 😛 . Deepawali nanna kondadirupel pola, Pattas laam vechecla , sweet , khaara , super digestive legyam ellam chaptu gummunu ukandrukel pola…. Now, get yourself a plate full of mixture/ribbon pakoda and some sweets , kannadi potundu,inga vandhu padeengo…. Let us travel to Hyderabad….. This happened a few years ago… One of my cousin from Yooyess performed his son’s Upanayanam function here…. Brace up , arey andha mixture ah keezha thalli podadel excitement la…. jagradhai… 😛 ….

Welcome to Skandagiri Murugan koil – Padmarao Nagar Secunderabad (Hyderabad city)…. You must have read the vishesham of this place… It is a hub of Tambrahms coz of the Kanchi Mutt, Murugan koil, Giri traders and above all yummy prasadam 😀 .

My 13 yr old nephew Aditya from YooYess of Yea was super excited about the function….He got a super new style hair cut done from the salon at New Jersey, got himself a nice pair of spectacles and when he came to India, he chose a white coloured crisp cotton Kurta-Pyjama, to wear it on his upanayanam. He got everything customised for the function and as I had told earlier, he was super duper excited… It seems all through the journey, he was monkeying around the flight , till he reached India (Kids you see 😀 ) .

Naandhi function was held at a function hall in Ameerpet, which was a private affair only for a few relatives… There was no much fun on that day coz, you know, ellam serious serious function daane… The next day was not so far…. Along with Aditya (Dithu as we call him 😀 ) , we were also super excited…. For some of us close to Dithu, we know he was already well versed with our customs, poojai and all..Not many knew that….especially our relatives from Palakkad , Chennai and Bangalore. The D-day arrived… Dithu was given a mangala snanam… Poor little boy was shying all through the bath… He sat bare chested wearing a small towel around his extremely olli waist…. Mamis and mamas poured water mixed with manjal on this little boy, who sat with his hands folded… Mamis teased his Dad  remembering his upanayanam, way back 35 yrs ago, in Tanglish, thinking Dithu understood little Tamil…. Dithu out of shyness dared not looking at anyone… He did not even smile paavam 😛   .Dithu walked swiftly , managing his little thundu that was falling down now and then…. He ran into the changing room of the mandapam , took out his favorite kurta pyjama… Someone snatched the Kurta from his hand… It was Race Ramu Sastrigal’s assistant Kalyana Sastrigal…. Dei Kanna, you no wear this Kurta pant and all…. you should not wear anything during poonal…do make up and come out fast…all waiting to see you…come come ok? 
Dithu got the shock of his life – wear nothing for poonal, make up? aiyo….  He sat in the room for around 20 min till Shiva, my partner in crime from Mumbai came to call him…. He then explained things clearly, called Dithu’s maternal thatha to tie the Pattu veshti.
Dithu was called for Kumara bhojanam, the “bachelor’s breakfast” 😛 … My partner in crime , Shiva got the shock of his life, when he was asked to remove his shirt and change to veshti, to accompany Dithu for Kumara bhojanam…. The teen Mumbai Pahilwan ( for his bony look) , walked shyly seeing here and there whether being noticed or not (he was putting kadalai to a few pavadai-dawani girls who came from Chennai)  tripped twice or thrice from his over flowing crisp off-white veshti and finally sat beside Dithu , who was enjoying Shiva’s embarrassment….. I swear, you should have seen the show….  The Mumbai teen and the young teen from NJ were seated on the stage, on a plantain leaf, they were served payasam, some manjal saadham (i guess pongal) , vathal kozhambu and karuvadam (rice vathal)… Chief Chef Chandru mama, put 3-4 more servings for both the boys who made faces, more than at the yellow and brown dishes, at Chandru mama who wore a white-turned grey vest , sambar stained veshti and sweat odor emanating now and then from the kai-pidi cloth that fell on dithu’s and shiva’s face every time Chandru mama bent to serve the dishes 😀 😀 😀 .  I clicked a few pictures of both my nephew’s faces, just to tag them on FB and pull their legs 😛 .

While Kumara bhojanam was happening on the stage, there was Sarva-Alpa aharam going on at the other end of the hall…. Guests fought for Pongal and Vadai… It seems one mami snatched her mama’s vadai making his health as the reason and ate it …  People from NJ, Dithu’s friends and their families tasted the breakfast and also the curses from our Palakkad relatives coz Nick ( A mexican) , Dithu’s friend ate 4 vadais and his father Jack drank sambar like soup coz he was reminded of some Mexican dish…. Breakfast was in sufficient, Chandru mama got nice dose from my athai for making such less quantities of the dish…He then ordered his assistant to make upma… The breakfast was a buffet and once upma was ready, mamis, mamas and everyone fought for their turn and in the process, I saw one American mami’s daughter stood there with tears and one American mami in saree, tripped, slipped on the sambar and  straight away landed on Chachu pati’s lap…. Chachu pati sat there wide eyed, massaging her hand , making a scene that the Gundu American fell on her lap. The second round of breakfast also got over and some of our Palakkad relatives got very angry…
It was time for the “raa” ceremony…. Dithu’s mamas lifted him to the gate and seated on a palagai(wooden plank) with maakolam on it…. Sastrigal called for the “Ambattan” to come… Dithu thought Ambattan must be someone bringing him goodies…. The man of goodies came with scissors and comb…. Mudi vettungo – Raa adi da said Race Ramu Sastrigal…. Ambattan with his Imported scissors cut the stylish spike Dithu had kept at NJ for the function… We saw tears rolling down his cheeks when Ambattan shaved the front portion of hair on his head giving him a half-bald look….
Kozhandai odu mama vandhu mangala snanam panna veiyungo…. Mamiyum Athaiyum vandhu Gowri Kalyanam paadungo….Baaki ellarum ninnu vedikkai paarungo….  Dithu’s mamas poured water from the kalasam , while his athai’s and mamis sang Gowri kalyanam…. Appa I hope I am not getting married, endhuku kalyanam nu padara.Child marriages are banned in India no pa?…. Dithu asked worriedly..all of us laughed our hearts off, while one of our relatives from Chennai squeezed him and kissed him on the cheek, embarrassing him even more..following it was Yenna thavam song, which was in a tone filled with anger and more of hunger … Trust me, they had a deafening voice…
“Shiva, tere shadi mei bhi isi team ko bulaenge re gaane ke liye…Keerthana’s mom will anyway lead the team… your mamiyar da..”   My akka and I pulled Shiva’s legs with Keerthana the most angriest mami’s daughter… That mami eyed Keerthana every time she talked to Shiva…. 😛

Dithu was ushered into the mandapam to change into his Pattu veshti that was given to him from his maternal uncle…. He put the Tripundra on his forehead neatly, surprising Ramu Sastrigal… It was time for the main ceremony to take place…. One of our relatives, Manju, rushed to the stage to pour the bhikshai arisi … Adiyei Manju, enna di nee, ooruku minnadi Bhikshai arisi poda porei… Maramandae Manjuve… Shouted Chachu Pati on the top of her voice… From then on, we named her Zero Manju… Don’t know why, “Zero” sounded awesome before her name 😀

Dithu’s mom and dad put the sacred thread around him along with a thread of gold and silver each….This was followed by Brahmopadesam and aseerwadam…. It was time for Bhikshadanam…. Dei America brahmachari, you have to beg daa…tell Bhavathi Bhiksham dehi..all the mami put rice and money and gifts in the bowl which you begs them…. then, you bend down and pull their feet ok va?  Dithu got another shock.. He never expected this function would let him beg 😛 😀 … It was his Anand periappa, who explained that it wasn’t really begging…. Zero Manju stood first to pour Bhikshai Arisi and gave him a nice pen set…. The function went on with performing homams and other rituals….  Then finally it was to see Arundhathi nakshatram… Adei aditya, mela you see star ah da? even you no see also, say you can see… that star is maha pativratai… great mother…take her blessings ok va? Dithu struggled to get it right to put his hand and see Arundhathi through it…. After that, they took out drishti of him , his mom and dad, again singing Gowri Kalyanam… Dithu , no more feared of getting married while they sang Gowri kalyanam 😀

Finally for the photo session, Dithu got to wear his Kurta Pyjama…

It is 4 years after his upanayanam, I am proud that my nephew does trikaala sandhyavandanam, has a shikai and learns Vedam on weekends…. 🙂 🙂 🙂

I hope you liked this… I wanted to write more about the event but due to exams I don’t think I can entertain you more…. Will do my best next time….

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Meenu a.k.a Aarya 😀 ❤


Not much of a Love Story.

It was on the day my Rakhi brother, Nitish, told about his friend Cheenu who guided him spiritually to get off the depression from his breakup… As usual, I asked Nitish bhai to show his friend Cheenu’s pic and he gave me Cheenu’s FB profile link. I saw it and playfully told bhai that Cheenu indeed looks nice…. Bhai started teasing me and I took it on a lighter note….

The next day,I saw his profile again, the same cover pic in which he is leading his bhajan team…. I kept looking at his pic and I actually fell for his eyes – so calm, naive but very sharp and observant….. I did not notice bhai playing tabla behind Cheenu, till bhai actually asked me if I did….. Bhai and I only had Cheenu as our main topic of discussion everyday…. The more Bhai told about Cheenu, his bhajans, his voice, the more I started feeling for him….

Bhai, give me Cheenu’s intro please
Arey haan sure re behna…. I will… but how?
Simple, create a group on whatsapp of us 3 – you, Cheenu & myself…. We 3 will talk…as simple as that….
Behna- Done….

Radhe Krishna – This was the group’s name bhai created…. He gave Cheenu’s intro to me and mine to him…. We started messaging in the group, ofcourse in Bhai’s presence as we were just acquaintances then…. He wasn’t an aquaintence to me though 😉 ….  As days passed, we discussed a lot on spiritual things, Bhajans, Radha Kalyanam, Seetha Kalyanam,Divyanamam, Namasankeertanam , Bhagavathars, Radha-Krishna , Gita Govindam, etc – gained and imparted knowledge to each other….. We also spoke about many a things including my project, for which he lent his help in discussion and preparing me for Group Discussions…. I started developing feelings for him, did not know if it was just attraction or what exactly it was….
Like any Tambrahm would do, the first thing I asked him was his Gothram,  Sutram & Nakshatram… He recited the “Abhivadaye” through Whatsapp text and I was like ; Yaay, he is not from my gothram and the nakshatram is also a good match with mine…. I had a million laddoos bursting in my heart…..  I did forget to ask him about something – his height….

A week later, I asked bhai about Cheenu’s height and to my sheer disappointment, bhai said ; Behna, he is just 5.6′ tall…. 2 inches shorter than you…. This was something very saddening to me…. But ok, everything is ok, it’s just height…. No problem… I  sent a voice text to bhai…. Chaaa…Bhai…just 2 inches of height… Just missed….Why the hell am I not short or why didn’t he grow up? 

My great bhai played this voice text to Cheenu that evening and told it to me…. My heart filled with embarrassment, shame and guilt…. I messaged Cheenu that it was all for fun and I was just joking… I did not get any reply till the next morning from Cheenu…. I was extremely worried and it was when I saw my phone vibrate..It was his message.. A row full of LOL smileys / emojis…. I felt relieved….. Guilt vanished….

Few days went by and I had to take expert advice from my friends Kuchu and Sammy…. I told them about my feelings for Cheenu…. While Kuchu suggested me to go for it by asking him to wear a 3 inch heel foot wear, Sammy blankly said ; “If you like him, just say it ” I had several thoughts revolving around my mind…. I wasn’t sure if he’d accept a girl taller and heftier than him..coz, the last time he texted me, he asked me to reduce my weight looking at my DP on WA. I wondered if he’d actually like my talkative and jovial nature… He was a calm and composed person, unlike me…. Several such things ruined my day….. I thought , thought and only thought about this….  Finally, an idea struck my mind… I decided not to talk much to him or think about him for as many days as I can….

2 months passed….
It was in the month of July… Monsoon had just set… It was on a Saturday noon… It rained mildly… I sat by my room’s window…enjoying the weather, the smell of the white Parijatam (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) flowers that had fallen off due to mild winds, mixed with that of earth intoxicated my senses…. cool breeze blew on my face…. My phone suddenly beeped with a little vibration… I bent down to pick up my phone and to my surprise, it was Cheenu’s message… He pinged me with a formal “Radhe Krishna”… Our  conversation started slowly…. It went on and on about several topics…. Every time he messaged, I felt butterflies in my stomach…. A few jokes of his made me feel like running my hands through his curly hair and pull them gently…. as we exchanged messages, there was this song “Thuli thuliyai” from the film Ramanujam playing in the background… As a matter of co-incidence, that day, we had the same menu for lunch… He at Mumbai and me at Hyderabad….  We exchanged several hi-5’s over messages…. Our messaging continued till mid night…. I felt so much for him…
The next day, our messages continued… I don’t know if it was the weather or the music or his messages or what ever that kindled my senses to try my hand at sending him this message ” Dear Cheenu, Radhe Krishna…. Cheenu, I don’t really know why I have butterflies in my stomach every time you message me…. I feel  everything nice around me when we text each other… Cheenu, the answer lies with you… Say something Cheenu…Awaiting your reply”

“Radhe Krishna, I don’t know what to tell re…. I hope you are not joking”  came his reply…
“I don’t know too Cheenu…. I don’t know what to call it… My heart is playing games Cheenu”
“Let time decide everything re… Let us be good friends… I think this is not the right time for all these…Radhe Krishna”
Reading this text of his, I sat dumbstruck…. I did not know what to tell.. I switched off my phone , went into the bathroom and sat under the shower for 15-20 min and cried as much as I could…. My sis banged the bathroom’s door asking me to get ready soon for the movie… The prev. day my friend and I made movie plans…My friend had called my landline asking me to come fast as the show was starting in about 45 min… I rushed out, got ready and left home as fast as I could….

The theater was the best place for me to sit and pour my feelings out…. My friend teased me for crying in a zero emotional movie which had no story at all…. I didn’t really care about what she thought… After the movie I switched on the mobile to find several messages from Cheenu telling me sorry…. But one thing that pierced through was ” I am sorry re, but we still have to remain friends…that is destined… I will be your best friend..It is  a promise”… I fought back my tears… I did not know the reason behind this… Why did he not accept my proposal… Was it my heart that took his friendship for granted… I just wanted reasons….

I cried to my Nitish bhai about this and that was when he said Cheenu wasn’t settled in career, he has different expectations and never plans much about future…. He had several responsibilities to be taken up… He had to take care of his widowed mother…Above all, he had to stand as an example for several youngsters of our age.. I did feel bad about it for many days….

As days passed, I respected Cheenu more for the simple and wonderful person he is… My feelings for him did change… I promised to be his friend for life… I would always be there if he ever wanted a friend… We did speak normally after this and we still do…. Our friendship has grown to great heights now… Cheenu even promised that he would pray and help my parents find a good, perfect partner for me and also, he would surely make Biryani for me, when I visited his place at Mumbai….

Well friends, this is the first and last stupid thing that happened to me…
I am very sure that one day, that right person would come to me, and our’s will be a nice love story, which will surely be on this blog some day, initiated and accepted by our parents and families (arranged marriage I mean 😛 ) .. We’d never separate and if we do, probably that would be through death….

P.S. : This is a true story of one of my close people- Name with held due to confidentiality reasons 🙂 🙂 🙂