The Maatram

It was after a busy day, after a tiring training session for soft skills, I had logged in to Facebook Iyer Tips page, where , I received a message..thinking it to be some page membervaal’s kumural, I thought I’ll ignore it and check it later… But then, seri nu I checked and for my surprise, it was a message from Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook…. Aiyo! Enna da idhu, namba page la namba edha edakodama potutomo, ivan nambala edha vambuku izhukarano nu thonichu… It was like thooki vaari podal moment for me…. As I opened the message, I read that Mark was impressed with the page and he wanted to know more about Tambrahms…. I thought it was some prank..but no! It was indeed Mark himself…. I replied back to him explaining the basic things about us… A week later, I got a reply stating that he was even more impressed and wanted to know more… Lifting my kurti’s collar up, I replied back to him to arrange a video call and that I’d make my Paati-Thatha talk to him that weekend… He agreed to it….

My paati wore her best chungudi Madisar and thatha in his best Panjagajam, with a Tripundra on his fore head…. It was time to receive Mark’s video call… I made sure that the lighting and all were good and rest all were perfect… I tried talking my best in a proper Indian Accent (neku andha Amerikka bhaashai laam varaadhu ma) .
Toying toying my lappy buzzed and I took the call… It was Mark on the other side…. My heart filled with joy…I found it hard to put my words into a sentence, but managed to talk well…. Mark asked for my Paati and Thatha, I moved aside and sat beside Paati…
Paati looked at me and smiled with her pokkai vaai ” Ivan daana di andha Maarku”
Mark : ” Nah Mash Ttthei ”
Paati : “Nanna iru”
Thatha just showed both his hands like he was blessing Mark and smiled .
Me : “So , Mark, she is my grandmom, Saraswathy ammal and he is my grand dad Krishna Iyer”.
Mark smiled ” Glad to see them… So, can we just go a li’ll ahead with the conversation.. I am excited to know more about Tcham-brahms (Tambrahms ah apdi sonaan avan 😛 ) ”
I turned towards paati and thatha and signalled them to talk

Thatha : “Idho see da pa Marku, I know that you are the see yee vo aaf Facebooku, why you making aal these things pa, my grand daughter never studies or worksu… aal the time on facebook seeing faces and fotos aaf peepul… Ok, but nice yoo aar doing some guddu aalso… Now that you have personally toldu to her to know about Tamizh brahmana, listen carefully seriya? ”
Mark smiles and folds his hands like a sishyan..
Paati : ” Paaru pa Marku, we are brahmins, means the brahmana, means the direct great crand children or heirs of God Brahma… We talk in tamil so the name tamil brahmins… We ladies wear madisar saree after marriage, like I am wearing now see… ask your aambadaiyaal Prichila also to wear once ok va… It is for women’s safety da ambi…. It has some scientific reasons also seriya? Very protective against things like bad people’s bad eyeing on women and all…
Adhellam vidu, we are all smarthas like.. We pray to Shiva God and Vishnu God equally….
Mark asks ” Vishnu as in Krishna?”
Thatha : ” Yaa….Krishnar is one Avadaaram aaf Vishnu… like Vishnu did fancy dress into 10 different avadaarams, to teach good to the world… Krishna is the 9th avadaaram and is the boy friend aaf many women….”
Mark : “What are those grey lines on your forehead and what is that yellow round in between? Why are you wearing ear rings, sir?”
Thatha: ” Abhishtoo! adhu grey lines illai.. they are Vibhuti powder I wore like 3 lines with my 3 fingers and the yellow is chandanam or sandal wood paste…. It is called as Tripundra…. Vibhuti is made of burnt cow dung….in these days people aar telling no, cow dung cures brain cancers and all… our great grand fothers aal told it that day only and we aar following it…. Sandal wood paste keeps mind cool…. you aalso keep once… My appa and thatha put Kadukan in my kaadhu for my upanayanam (shows his poonool)…. Kadukan means gold ear rings with stone studded… It is like accupuncture and this, my poonool is having 9 strings, where first 3 stirngs they put initially..then 3 more are added on marriage day and 3 more when appa passes away… these strings show responsibility and taking the duty of running the family goodly..
Mark raises his eyebrows in wonder… “Wow”!
We tell Abhivadaye also… I will teach you… “Abhivadaye……… Now Marku you also repeat it… ” Mark repeated every word thatha told…

Mark was very impressed…. He wanted to know more but due to some important work, he had to cut the conversation short… “Thank you thaw thaw and Pphaw tchee for giving me your time… It is time for me to leave now, Next time I visit India, I will meet you and we can discuss a lot”
Paati : “Come for my grand daughter’s wedding with your aambadaiyal , she will send the card ok? ”
Mark: ” Sure Phaw tchee” 🙂
The conversation ended…
A week later, I got a message from some one called “Markandeya Sastrigal” on Iyer Tips… message open pannina I saw “Abhivadhaye, Angeerasa….. Aham Markandeya Sastri, Asmi boohoo” Namaskaram to Phawtchee and Thaw Thaw”…. And then I saw a picture of Mark wearing a thripundra, chandanam, in a panjagajam and he wore kadukan in kaadhu…. 😛 😛 😛

Seriyaana transformation daan pongo!

P.S. This is just for fun purpose and is solely a work of imagination… This is not to hurt anyone’s sentiments or anything of such sort, but to share some laughs among the stressed people of a small community in India called Tambrahms. Mark, I am sure you’ll love this, if you have a translator who can translate Tamil into English. 🙂 😀

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A sneak peak into Iyers Life

Makkale.. Namaskaram… Periyavaal ellarum aseerwadam pannungo… I have turned a year older, it is my Happy Birthday today  😀 . Ok, birthday ellam pakkathula veikalaam… Iniki namba padikapora kadhai will make you tell ” happa, engaathula ipdi daan aagum”, no, not the regular filter kaapi-Hindu paper romance or suprabhatam  stuff…. go on and read….

Margazhi maasam, kaalangaarthala 5:00 mani… ” Hari Narayana Hari Nayarana” nu paatu, lappy lerndhu en pillow kullaerndhu en porvai lerndhu toinn nu escape aagi en kaadhula joiiinnnnn nu olikkaa, amma vandhu kai la rendu addi potu “Ezhundru diii meenaa, margazhi maasam adhuvuma yen di ipdi thoongarai, kovil ku poitu office ku poganumolyo” nu ezhupi vittuta…. Office aah nu naan ttabhakku nu ezhundu ukanduten.. aproma calendar paatha thaan terinjudhu, aiye, ineki Shani kizhamai, amma ku kaarthala early ah kovil ku azhachindu ponum nu enna plan panni ezhupitaa…. Seri konja neram aadhu thoongalame nu paatha, enga appa, Mishter Prem Shankar Sharma, “Om boohu, om bhuvaha” nu thanniya thelichu thelichu Sandhyavandhanam pannindruka, vara nalla oru thookamum pochu….
Korttavi vittunde , heavy steps oda, kutty yaanai madri mollama nadandhu poi dining table kitta irukara chair la ddhabakku nu ukandhu thalai ya table mela potu padutheno illiyo, en loosu thambi Kicha vandhu kaadhula avanoda sony headphones la Eminem oda paatu full volume vechu ezhupitaan…. My mind voice was telling “Ada paavigala, dei, enna daa idhu, oru paavam kozhandeiya nimmadhiya thoonga vidamatela?” 😥

“Kaarthalezhundu masamasa nu enna thookam vendi kadaku di, adhuvum table mela school bench la thoongara madri… poi pall thechutu vaa…Paati kaapi tharuva, adhu kudichutu ozhunga podavai kattindu,poo vechundu kovil ku vaa enga kooda” nu amma sonna…. Pinnadi en thambi Kicha oru vellai thundu, avan shorts ku mela kattindu tappanguthu dance aadinan enna  kalaaichunde… Idho varen da vella palli fellow nu lightning speed la nadandhu poi avanoda shikaiya izhuthutu kitchen kulla poi paati ya hug panninen… “Meenaa, andha azhuku t-shirt ah potundu, kulikaame enna yen di vandhu thodarai… kovil ku ponum naan madi ah irukenolyo” with Irritation “peh! loosu paati” nu sollitu I moved away snatching my kaapi tumbler..
Kaapi geepi laam kudichu mudichutu, Kulichutu, moonji ah ashta konal aa vechundu, amma oda andha yellow Gadwal podavai kattinden…. Kannadi ya paathu mayyi ittundu, pottu vechundu, poo vechundu , inoruka seriya iruka nu paathutu valila vandhen….  My paati in cotton Chungudi madisar saw me , folded her hand and crackled the fingers on her head telling “En pethiya paathiya di evalo azhaga iruka enna madriye, nee ennamo solluviye unna madri iruka nu, paaru, enna madri lakshanama iruka…enna nna sollarel” nu ammavum thathavayum paathu sirichunde sonna…. Idha ketu amma oda moonji konjam surungithu, anyway naan kandukalai… kandunda anga oru world war ey aagum nu I know 😛
“Ennadhu dee Subbu sollarai, Lakshmanan vandirukaana” nu thatha kaadhula hearing aid vechunde keta paati ta…
“Aahn, sorakai la uppu illiyam…podarela” nu paati solla
“Ennadhu, saroja vaa…yaaru di Subbu adhu” nu thatha keta… Kicha vum naanum anga ninnundu semaiya rasichundrundom thatha-paati oda conversation ah….
Indha scene ellam aagarthukulla sunrise aayiduthu… Koil ku late aayiduthu….
“Dei Kichaaa vandiya start pannu daa.. anga koil la ivalodu Jadagamum un Resume` um anga Swami Charanathula vechu aseerwadam vangikanum daa…Seekrom vaa, rush vandha kashtam” nu amma kizherndhu mela enga balcony ah paathu kathindrunda (ivalukellam loud speaker aavishyame illai)…. Kicha padigal la gadabada nu odi vandhu car ah start pannaran pannaran, bike lerndhu “kluck kluck” nu sound vardhu… Aiyo bike keys nu thalai la oru adi adichundaan… mean time, amma ku beepee konjam lightaa erindrunduthu…Avana modhugu la rendu addi potu poda nu solli, lightaa en moonji ah paatha… I knew it amma thitta pora en kitta nu… I felt a hand softly on my cheek… “En kanne pattudum pola iruku di kondhei..romba azhaga irukai di nee un paati madriye” nu amma sonna.. “naan enna 70 vayasu madriya ma teriyaren noku? 😦 ”  “Illai di kannama, I am being honest, check out for Paati;s old pictures…you resemble her a lot ”  ” edhu, actress saroja devi madriya”…. Amma bakubakubaku nu sirika arambichuta…. “habaada, amma thitta maata” nu i winked to Kicha, who started the car and took a reverse…..
“Dei mokkai paiya, ozhunga otu da..un GTA madri car ah otade..Paatikum ammakum vayasagardhu….normal speed la otu daa…aneki enna office la drop pannina madri 200 speed la otade…konjam ozhunga otu”
“Amma ta potu kudukariya di paavi” nu pallu kaduchunde enna paathu Kicha whisper panninan I had an evil grin on my face….
30min la Kovil ku vandhuttom…. Car kulliye serupu azhichutom, coz rush la tholanju poga pdadhu iliya seruppu 😛
En podavaiya seri aakinde kizha eranginen…. Paati ayum Amma vayum car lerndhu eranga help pannitu, Kicha vandiya park panna poitaan…
Kicha vandhutu, naanga thengai, poo pazham laam vaangi kovil kulla ponom… Ulla ponomolyo, anga irukara Sastrigal vandhu enna paathu “enna ma Meenakshi, epdi poindruku velai ellam, enna, appa noku maplai paaka arambichutana” nu keta… sirichunde “unga perana daan pannikardha plan mama, enna sollarel” nu sonnen… Sastrigal oda  peran romba cute, paarka kutty Krishnan madri irupan… 3 yr old kid avan, romba laam yosikaadel 😀 ….
Amma avar kitta en jadagamum Kicha oda resume um kuduthu archanai panna veichu prasadam vaangindu aatuhku varache, oru mami , azhuku,light orange color cotton salwar dola dola nu potundu en kitta vandhu ” hey, meenu, how are you… I am Keerthi’s amma, you remember me” nu keta “Well, yes aunty… aval epdi iruka? ” nu keten … adhuku aunty oru mani neram en thalaiya thinna…. “Keerthi this, keerthi’s kid that” adhu idhu  nu literally usure vangitaa… adhuku nadula amma appapo enna morachu paathunde irundha…. ellam aachu, aathuku kelambitom…. Kicha vandi eduthundu vandhaan… Vandi la erina udane, Amma arambichutaa ” paathiya di, un friends ah, kalyanam aayitu aval ku oru kozhandei kooda iruku, neeyum irukiye…aathukarar ku tiffin careeyar panni kudukara vayasula, career career nu alanjundu…”
“Amma aval odi poi kalyanam panninda maa… idhellam noku endhuku maa…vendaatha velai…shettha summa iren maa”
“Aval odi poi daan kalyanam pannindalo enna paninalo, neku teriyadhu, aval nanna settled ah iruka, oru kozhandaiyum aayachu paaru…”
“Aamam amam amma, Akka ku seekrame kalyanam panni vittudalam maa” nu Kicha chorus la potu kuduthundrundaan…
“Neengalaam thirunda ve maatel, edho onnu panni tholayungo” nu I said irritated…

Aathuku vandhu, kaal alambi, verandah la Appa kitta poi kovama okandutten…. Appa mollama en thalai la thadavi thandu enna aachu nu keta… Naan kadhai ellam sonnen… “Ennadhu, en kozhandeiya ipdi torture pannaraala, paravallai da pa, unaku seekram kalyanam panni vitudaren..mamiyar aathula yaarum ipdi tholla pannamaata unna”  En Beepee rombave jaasti aayitu kovama poi thatha shoulder la thalai vechu paduthunden sofa la….
Thatha kaadhu lerndhu hearing aid eduthu en kadharal ellam kadhariten… Neku padikanum, P.hd mudikanum nu en puraanam paadindrundhen…
Idhu ellam appa vum Kichavum ketum kekaadha madri poitaa chess aada….
Naan madhyanam seriya sapdame en room ku poiten… Amma vum Kicha vum vandhu en room kadhavu thattina, naan venum ne valila vara maten nu vetti scene potundrunden…. Aproma Appa kadhavu kizherndhu rendu 5 star chocolates um oru kutty gems pack um sneak pannina… Convinced, sirichunde valila vandhu appa thol la kai potu kizha vandhen….
Amma Appa enna ukaara vechu “Paaru da kanna, we are ageing, we are behind you to get married because we have to retire and then settle Kicha also, thatha paati ku romba vayasu aagardhu, neeyo avaalodu ore pethi…un kalyanam paakarthuku thatha evalo aavala iruka  teriyuma…Kicha va paaru, evalo excited ah irukano…”
“But appa, I want to do a p.hd next..what about that? Kalyanam aayitu epdi irukum situations nu teiryadhu appa…I want to finish it off…unga dream iliya appa, enna oru Doctorate vanga veikardhu…neengle ipdi object yen pannarel paa”
“Meenu, it is not like that, yaaru unna p.hd pannardhu lerndhu thadukara? you study and write thesis…meanwhile we will find a suitable match for you who will let you pursue your career…. Unna padika veikara paiyana daan naanga parpom..you leave the headache to us”
“Adhu laam seri paa… namba aathula unga ellarodu affection ellam vittu poga neku manasu vardhillai pa… Kalyanam aayitu, naan kova pattu room kulla irundha yaaru pa neku 5 star chocolate um gems um thandu enna samaadhanam pannuva? Enaku yaaroda shoulder la thalai vechu polamba mudiyum? Yaarodu shikaiya naan izhuthu kaila rendu addi poduven?Kaarthala yaaru pa enna ezhupuva daily? Yaara pa naan loosu paati nu koopda mudiyum? Neku ungla laam vittu piriya manase illai pa…” Nu kanneer thodachunde naan sollratha Kicha kum kannula thanni vandhruthu…
“Meenu ma, enga ellaroda mixture ah irukara paiyana daan naanga paarpom da unaku…some one who loves you more than all of us do, will only marry my princess” nu appa solli enna samadaana paduthinaar….
“Meenu aah kaatu da kanna” nu amma kai la chooda pappu mammum and appalam potu en vaay la ooti vitta… next vaayi Kicha ku ooti vitta….

“Aaha indha madri namba aathulayum aagume” nu neenga laam nenekarel nu nanna ve teriyardhu… Yes, these are some touchy things, which we often ignore…. After you read this, I am sure, you will cherish every moment spent with your family…. Week fully work panni weekends appo family kooda spend pannungo… Illena life nambalavaalukaaga live pannina madriye irukaadhu….

Happy Family Fun filled Weekend…

😀 😀 😀

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Love,

Meenu Iyer A.k.a Aarya ❤ 😀

A(p)acharam 2.0

Makkale, Neyoo Yeyar Nanna jammunu kondaadiruppel pola(Not to those who celebrated Vaikunttha Ekadasi , like I did 😛 ), Nalla cakeu geeku vetti saptu geeptu kondandinela? Aahn, indha kaalathila ellam apdi daane aayuduthu, yaaru ekadasi dwadasi laam kandukara, yebbaa nambaluku enjoyment daan mukhyam nu ulagathukaaga vesham podarale… Effbee la tyutter la laam appapo toink toink tudung tudung nu notification varudhu, adhula “Thayir rice has posted a picture of you” nu onnu varum, adhu open panni paatha your friend, some Thayir Rice Sundaram from some city away from their hometown would post his picture eating a cake, with a bottle of neer beer and tags you by mistake, in the mabbu (Bleddy fellow). with customized settings “only for close friends” ( very smart pa)… Some things these days are so irritating pa….

It was on Sunday, 28th Dec, I was literally pissed with some fellow tambrahms at Sringeri Shankara Mattham for a poojai, I am venting my anger on our own people, so that they atleast try to change their minds and live accordingly…. If you don’t change, it is upto you, yevan kandukaporan pa?

#1 Incident: Sringeri Shankar Mattham- Hyd Dec 28th… It was my janma nakshatram and I had accompanied appa to our Samajam’s Shastha preethi poojai there. I was very excited about the poojai mainly coz it was my birth day and I thought it was surely going to be the best ones ever… After the poojai, it was time for prasadam distribution – A grand lunch with around 11 delicacies on the elai… Bhajans mudinjudo illiyo, thikki thadumari mamis mamas and all rushed towards the lunch hall…. Ozhunga oru system follow pannalamolyo? Adhula avaa enna solra teriyuma ” saapadu mudinjura pordhu dii, seekram vaa, illena you’ll miss the Aravanam and Pal payasam” … yemadi, accepted at times we might face shortage, but why not wait and go slowly, yen idhu varai soru ey paathadilliya, alpam fellows?
Some learned Veda pandithar in the samajam said they are doing poojais for loka kshemam, by collecting funds from our people… While this is what he said, I witnessed people shooing away the poor beggars from eating at the annadanam… Yen nu keta one elder person said ” We are paying in thousands for the poojai, enna naanga sapda pdadha, miccham irundha avaaluku kudupomey…” enga miccham aagum, anga sapdardhu illama, aathuku 4 nerathuku parcel kuda kattindu porale… yen ya unga aathula laam samaikave maatela, why not the unprivileged ones enjoy the privilege to eat some good food just once… Idhellam aayitu people adichufy their self-dalda-dabba on social networking forums that they have been to a poojai, contributed for it, did  poor feeding and all! Damned Loka Kshemam ba! 😦

#2 Incident: One of my cousins, married for 5 years now, had come here for vacations last week…. As we were talking, she suddenly removed her Thaali and placed it in a box… It was on a friday… She then took out a chain with black beads and wore it around her neck…. It had a miniature thali pottu…. Enna di idhu, Thaaliya avuthutu Karigamaniya potukarai nu I asked… Adhuku she said, “Idhu peru mini thaali di, andha periya thaali is too odd to wear and also it isnt safe to wear thaali to work, adhula 4 poun gold irukono, adhaan locker la vechutu idha maatinduten..Hey ellarum ippo ipdi daane potukara…ippo new fashion idhu” I got a culture shock … Yenna pa idhu, mangalyasutram (no more a sutram but a gold chain), aathukarar odu respect elaam kazhuthula thongardhu vida bank locker la ipdi thoongarde cha! Enna di, namba culture ku respect kudukarel neengal? What are you going to loose out of removing your Sacred Mangalya sutra and placing it in the locker, is this why you got married you fools? Do you think a mangalyasutra is just a bloody jewel and nothing more… Did not your mother teach you that a Mangalya sutra is a thread with 2 golden coins, that symbolises your protection from those men who  see you as a mere object of sex, and dare not you call yourself a bloody feminist, without knowing the real significance of a mangalya sutra! Do you even know that a Mangalyasutra increases your dignity and respect in the society? It is more than a licence to your marriage…. Those Veda Mantra Sahitha pooja they do to your mangalya sutra has a great value than just a silly ritual as you think it to be, but for your own safety…  I fear that one day, in the near future, instead of Mangalya sutra, our people would just put a “mini thali” around your neck and consider the beautiful big gold coins tied into a thick yellow / golden thread as a mere jewel…. Please think again before you change our rich customs…

Not only these, but there are many more stuff people think are cool but are actually paving way for the destruction of our rich culture…. Remember, our customs, practices and traditions which we have been,are being followed, have great significance and are not just any random ritual or stuff like that… You should know the truth that Science is just a box full of theories and nothing more than that.. Please don’t play an idiot and boast around telling things like ” Is it proven scientifically, if yes, show me the evidence”… Some things need not be proven by scientists and researchers coz they are practiced and proven stuff, centuries ago by our Vedottamas (Oh yes, you believe only if some ****** NRI half Indian scientist publishes a research article from some random Karvard Kaalaiford university from some random country, to get money from Indian government! )….

Idhellaam aayitu, I have seen our people clamor in the social media and criticizing the media for teasing tambrahms, boasting around proudly about being a tambrahm and living the life of a hypocrite themselves….
Are not the media teasing us and showing us in a bad light because of our own behaviour, because of our own negligence and hypocrisy? Why not we make a change, why not we give it a thought now and protect our customs instead of just talk about it in the online forums? Let us all remember that change comes from within and there is no use to just protest for our people being hypocrites ourselves… And yes, many of you might think I am writing this for publicity or to bring our people in bad light, well, if you think so, I am traditional enough and will remain the same till my last day on this land…. I am not someone who shies away from telling that I lead a traditional life (I am not boasting, I am not an alien or a typical thayir rice girl in Paavadai dhaavani and flowers, I am street smart enough to live in this world, but I just don’t play bad with our traditions like most of you do)… I have people who are following my footsteps… If you wish to, please change, if you don’t it is up to you… It is not going to give you any sort of curse or something, but yes, remember that you are destroying your own culture, in the name of “being cool” .

Shubham!

Meenakshi Iyer a.k.a Aarya

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