Thursday, June 7, 2007

Ameer Can

I spoke to amma sometime back. She is forever concerned about my well-being and the possible major mishaps that might occur during the course of the day. So I must call her at least once from somewhere. This pattern has been established since the time I have started traveling by public transport alone. Or going to places that are, well, public.

Even if I am out in Washermenpet researching a story, I have to call. If I don’t call, amma will make calls to a few important people. Including Warren Road Pattu Maami (for purposes of differentiation, as there are three of them), whose claim to fame is that her husband was the former DIG of police. Of course, he was not really a DIG or anything like that, but he had some uniform involving job and so he became - DIG. DIG Maama is rather nice. Though for all I know, he might have been an Auto Payyan. May be, that is why he is nice.

Whenever I call, amma has broadly four concerns, which are universal amma-dom things, the syntax a little different:
- Did you eat? Enough? Too much? Did the curd get too sour? Did you spill the sambhar on your dress?
- Will you get late? Will you come the ‘usual’ time?
- Do you have change (of money that is)? One rupee coins? Ten rupee notes?
- Don’t fight with anybody today. You know auto payyans, friendly co-travelers, overzealous people one encounters and so on.

To be honest the answers to all those questions don’t matter, they are merely rhetoric. It is mildly claustrophobic. But she derives all her amma-dom pay-offs as a result. And I am very conformist like anyway.

There is also a “highlight” of the day that she must share. Involving something/somebody mad/wicked/both.

Yesterday was little sister’s turn to be the highlight. Apparently she had gone to see a film, Indi Paddam called Chinnikum, amma wailed. Featuring Amitabh Whatizname. With a pony-tail no less.

We are not exactly an anti Hindi household. We all take as much pride in clearing the various levels of the Hindi Prachar Sabha exams as much as the Maths Olympiad. But watching Indi Paddams is not the best of idea.

I have been trying to educate amma and appa that it is a futile battle that they are fighting. Because let us face it, in Madras it is easier and safer for Sixteen Year Old Penns to watch Indi Paddam. Little Sister as an impressionable 13 year old had to go through the ordeal of watching obscure movie called, Vaanam Vasappadum three years ago at the then done up Abirami theatre complex. Not entirely sure why we took S for this movie, but this was just a few months before Poongothai’s (the friend and not the actress) wedding and our renewed efforts to bond. The film was based on a Sujatha novel, was meant to be a brave and progressive look at justice against rape.

The movie was terrible. And may be it was that which put S off Tamizh movies. But she also got bottom pinched by some boy for the first time. Even mild mannered she was most upset. And she decided two things:
a) She will never watch a Tamizh Paddam in a theatre
b) She hated Tamizh Payyans

And so she watches Indi Paddams. Faithfully, religiously and obsessively. In our shared room, she has a poster of that Krissh Payyan with a mask. It is konjam scary. He has better hair and skin than I do. And no facial hair. Not exactly my idea of male beauty.

When she got back home, appa gave her an earful. Like always. By the time I got back home, appa was sulking, Sister was red eyed and amma was busy watching Mekhala the just started show on Sun, featuring Metti Oli Saro.

S has IIT aspirations. She studies for some 23 hours a day. The next two years will determine if she can shatter this male bastion (in our family that is). I explained to appa that, we must not create anymore stress than all the equations and formulae that she anyway needs to master. Appa who had to drop out of college, sees much logic in such an argument.

I heave a sigh of relief and send a little prayer upwards.

In a bid to get into S’s good graces, appa changes the channel to one of those Indi Paddam music channels. Three men with funny hats, longish hair and shiny skin are dancing. One is that Amitabh Whatizname, the other is his son and the third is somebody else. Appa asks most earnestly, Addu Ameer Can daane?

As far as appa is concerned, anything that is male, sings Hindi songs, dances and has good skin is, Ameer Can. And if there are three such people on the screen, probability must be in his favour no?

When I am sleeping during the night and I see S poring over some Physics problems, I am thankful that I never have to go through what she is going through. Ever again. There is infinite joy in being mediocre.


Anonymous said...

Hee hee.
What about movies like Mr and Mrs Iyer?

Prabu said...

That was really funny! I was wondering how you were going to connect director Ameer with the story and now I know!

BTW, a friendly piece of advice from a middle-child, with siblings who always made 1st rank and one who took pride in getting 4th rank without any effort, thumping up one's mediocrity makes up for funny stories when you are young but don't really help you advance when you are 10yrs older than you are now. You seem to have wonderful writing skills and should take pride in this rather than your mediocrity in Math and Physics.

Waiting for your next post.

Anonymous said...


u are just awesome...can relate most of the anti-hindi stuff and writing prachar sabha exams...

-Non Bram Tamil Girl

Toxi said...

But you are both wicked and mad, so should you not be the highlight everyday?

Amitabh Whatizname said...

Tamizh Penn,
You break my heart.
As always.
Warm Regards,


You are superb.. can relate to everything that you have written, including the paatu mami . Mine was on Luz church road :)

anantha said...

Tamizhpenn: Thalaivar padam pakka poga poriya, FDFS?

Anonymous said...

Rajni is a Maharashtrian like Sonia Gandhi a foreigner.
Tamizh people should not stake claim on him.

Tamil Hater said...

All you fucking Tamilians. They should send you all to Sri Lanka and then burn it the way Hanuman did?

Asal Tamil Penn said...

Aiyyyo okay. How long is your tail?

Mr and Mrs Iyer is the most annoying paddam ever. And it essentially reaffirms every idiotic North Indian stereotype about us Tamizh Iyers. And besides Tamizh > Iyer.

Anonymous said...

Mr and Mrs Iyer is not a North Indian movie, it's from the Bengali perspective. Bengalis are not North Indians.
PSBB is that bad eh?

Sriram said...

Your parents' anxiety is well placed. For a girl who aspires to get into IIT, watching Hindi movies is not a nice idea. It will only numb her brain.

avataram said...

I dreamt I was in heaven and was meeting my Thatha, Brahmeboodha Suryanarayana Iyer. He was being fanned by many apsaras and I waited for him to finish his hookah and speak to me. Then I noticed that he was reading a large format graphic novel, that I thought initially was Tintin. To my great surprise,
I noticed that it was “Asal Tamizh Penn in the Okavango Delta”.

So then, what is the point of being another 23 year old reporter in the Hindu, another blogger, when you can be the next Tintin?

Sriram said...

On indhi movies... (Anon must read this)

(I am not blog whoring.. I am not remotely connected to the owners of the above link)

m$q said...

It's pattu mami.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tamizh Penn,

Wonderful blog. I have a suggestion. Please post about the finest thing about being Tamizh - the Tamizh Male Bloggers.

I have a feeling, it would make for an interesting read


Anonymous said...

Tamizh Male Bloggers, eh?!


- Anti Tamizh Boy Blogs

Asal Tamil Penn said...

@Avataram: Your thatha sounds like a cool boy. Pity he is dead. All the cool boys are dead.

Kadambari said...

I am bored. Please post. Why so many Tamizh haters in this world?

oxy_moron said...

Cheennikum?!!! Hahaha!
Funniest shit i have read in a while.
Shall remember to return and check out the archives.

Klutter said...

Give me mediocre any day. She sounds positively delicious.

Nilu Hater said...

Whatever. South Indian shit as always. What is the deal with your lot?
I think given how ugly your movie guys look you shun Hindi movies. Plain insecurity.

anon said...

here's the link again, just incase the friendly anons didn't get it

Amitabh Whatizname said...

Tamizh Penn,
Why do you ignore me?
Warm regards,

Anonymous said...

Hi Asal Tamizh Penn,

I have not lived in Madras and I am getting married to a non tamizh boy *hold onto something quick* he is from Patna too. I work in IT , not a coder though thankfully. I have no strong affiliations when it comes to T Nagar, Mylapore(however i do have a periamma there) etc.

Having grown up in Delhi and later among gults in Hyderabad and now marrying a bihari I try to hang on to the tamizhness that i have been able to preserve all these years. Your blogs are alive with sarcasm and humour and literally take me into Madras when i am so far far away. They have provided me with much needed reprieve from the non tamizhness around me. You see i am in Melbourne. I dont have tamizh friends- i have a tamizh neighbour but since she found out that i lived in Delhi and Hyderabad she avoids me like i were the plague. My fiance' has only learnt to say Yaapdi irke - pronounced that way- and cant understand the magic of curd rice..yet - in all fairness he is great, he took me for Anniyan when it was playing here and sat through the movie without understanding a word and now champions support of Tamizhs during general harmless ridicule of People from 'Chin-i' among his friends.

I am not an asal tamizh penn, i am more neutral really - during my stay in all these different places I couldnt decide where my loyalties should belong. Even my name mirrors this. But since coming to Melbourne I miss the language, the food, the suprabaadam that i awoke annoyed to every morning(getting carried away here..), the tamizh chatter of amma's loud and melodramatic Sun TV serials and Rasam!(sob! I could cry!)

Reading your blogs keep me amused, connected(just enough for a not so Asal Tamizh Penn) and i can relate to them even - you see Iyer Brahmins are the same everywhere whether they are in Madras or in Timbaktoo!

It has been only a week and I am already a fan!

Keep writing

babe with the keyboard! said...

hi there :)
your writing reminds me of r.k. narayanan's novels.

its very realistic, and simply hilarious!

actually, it made me understand my folks a lot better (i always thought they were slightly crazy, but did not know that it was because we are tamizh!) hahahahahhahaha

Keep blogging, your writing is nowhere near mediocre ( i dont think you can be mediocre even if you try it!)
damn good!
ameer can...exactly the way my mom says it too...
any hindi film heroine always looks like madhuri dixit to her