Sunday, July 1, 2007

Dum Dum Dum

I am not an effervescent social butterfly. Since I am not made to be one, I more often than not try and avoid being one. But the last week has seen way too many opportunities to meet people spring up. It seems everyone is getting married. The single population among the Tamizh people must have seen a sharp decline in the last one week.

Everyone is getting married in AC Kalaynam Mandapams. It’s been raining in Madras for the last few days. The A/C had to be switched off on a number of occasions, because we don’t handle cold so well. I wonder if there is a clause that ensures some money back under such circumstances.

The rain notwithstanding, AC Kalyanam Mandapams are very annoying. With the some ten thousands of Kancheepuram Pattu generating immense quantities of heat, the whole exercise is futile. And then the homam anyway needs cross ventilation, so the AC is just to make the payyan veedu people happy, I suppose.

Weddings do serve two purposes though:
1. The Kalayanam Saapaadu
2. The Kutcheri

The first is the key purpose of a wedding, from the point of view of people besides the bride and the groom. It is also the best way to evaluate if a wedding went well and the likely happiness in married life of the couple. The paayasam, rasam and thayir are the most important things that one must evaluate. The paayasam needs to be thickened adequately. The subtle flavour of perungayam and kothamalli in the rasam must give you a high. And the thayir should neither be too sour or too bland. And it should not be that gooey annoying texture or have lumps. Oh and the temperature is critical, even if it can’t be served cold, it should most certainly not be warm.

However, one notices a trend that is slightly alarming. The paal paayasam is getting endangered. All kinds of things besides rice are getting used – like aval, semiya, javvuarassi. If one were to evaluate this from an economic point of view, it makes no sense. A kilo of ponni rice is priced at rupees 22 at the Murugan Stores in T Nagar and is probably even cheaper at Subhiksha. In contrast, javvuarassi costs rupees 35. From a calorific point of view also one makes no savings. And the taste drops down by a few notches. It is just the laziness of the caterer that has resulted in such a thing. The gooeyness of the texture of the javvuarassi creates the illusion that the milk has been thickened.

Of course, one of the weddings that we went to had splendid food. As we walked out eating the beeda, amma made a quick dash to the kitchen and got the card of the contract person.

Thankfully all the kalyanams we went to had the reception after the Muhurtham. I am just too conservative and pessimistic, I suppose. What if the thaali does not get tied and you click many pictures with strange man? So much can happen over one night.
The kutcheris were mostly bearable, barring one that featured something called “Light” music. Light music = Much noise and heavily breathing into a mike. Besides it is hardly exciting to hear a song that has anyway been ruined by Udit Whatizname anyway.

The others did not feature any of the biggies though. No TM Krishna or Sudha Ragunathan sorts, but many young artists performed. Every kalyanam apparently featured an alleged ‘prodigy’. Too many prodigical Tamizh artistes one might derive.

The saddest part is, nobody ever listens to these kutcheris. Ever. People sit in the front row and talk very very loudly. Me and appa always make it a point to at least listen to two songs, no matter how obscure and bad the artist be. Even if it meant that I had to go through the ordeal of listening to one, not a prodigy anymore lady kill one of our family favorite songs, immortalized by the late DK Pattammal, Eppadi Padinaro. The Karnataka Devagandhari went so awry, it probably reached Karnataka or even more North than that.

Of course, the only purpose of a wedding is to show off potential brides and grooms to potential “other” gothram people. During the Oonjal, amma made sure that I was among the crowd that sang, Gauri / Sita Kalyanam. Amma can be such an embarrassment at times.

However, I had my moment of revenge. Many maamis came up to me and asked me, Enna height? It is a little embarrassing to be this Tamizh girl who is taller than most Tamizh boys. I mumbled some outrageously incorrect number. Like the elders always say, a hundred lies are legitimate when it comes to gothram migration. People lie about skin tone, weight, IQ and non existent skills. One might argue that you cannot lie about your height, but if amma says I can, then I can. And I will. And I must. By the time, I got to the fourth wedding, I was bored of lying. And besides I am twenty three, I can’t marry now. All single Tamizh boys are 28 and above. I would rather wait till I am 25, when I will meet the now 26 but then 28 year old boys. So I tell maami at the fourth wedding that I am 5’8”. Of course, I am not. But she believes me. And seemed sufficiently disgusted even. Amma was livid. In her anger, we almost forgot to take the Taambolam Pai and the oddly shaped stainless steel dabba. But some helpful person spotted us walking away empty handed and gave us the same.

Kalyanams are great place to spot trends and understand the mood of the people. After the dull and subtle colours that one saw during the last year wedding season, thanks to slightly posh stores such as Sundari Silks and RMKV, it seems Pothy’s and Nalli’s have stuck back this year. The gaudy and bright colours are back. Tradition is back. Mambazham Yellow, Parrot Green and MS Blue were omnipresent. Weddings are lovely, mostly because T Nagar sparkles, shimmers and dazzles you from every corner.

The loot at the end of the week has been – 14 coconuts, 4 stainless steel dabbas, two blouse pieces, one silver lamp and a number of plastic and paper bags with Vinayagar of all shapes embedded into them.

Amma is still mad at me.

I have learnt to SMS and when I write to T Anna saying that, Amma is fuming, the intelligent dictionary in my mobile phone helpfully suggests that instead of Amma, I should type, Bomb.


Robin said...

Amma - Bomb.. How true...

avataram said...

Thatha´s bootham was very happy today. The letters flew about on the Ouija board. He wants to know what dishes will be made out of all those coconuts. He also wants to know the name of that good samayakkarar. He says all his friends will haunt his weddings from now on.

Anonymous said...

u remind me of the uruvasi character who stole stuff from weddings(michael madhan kama rajan ) . LOL good writing .

Anu said...

Avataram, your thatha bootham kadhai is getting very boring. May be an athai paati bootham kadhai next?

Krish Ashok said...

Well written.I am reminded of a certain Gordon Gecko from the movie "Wall Street" who defines "rich" as "It's not about having enough money to spend, it's about having enough money to waste".

And I was at a wedding this weekend, where they apparently lived by Mr Gecko's philosophy. Their idea of waste on a massive scale was to put Kadri Gopalnath on Saxophone and Kanyakumari on the violin on the stage while 1000s of people were busy comparing jewellery in loud voices.

To add to this, I noticed that the violin's volume was at least 3 times that of the saxophone. I walked over to the mic/mixer guy and told him to fix it. But he gave me a doleful look and said that Kanyakumari madam has ordered him to keep it this way.

Well..I suppose there was at least one saving grace here. The poor kitchen staff didnt need to do manual labour on the coconuts. Kanyakumari madam did all the grating by herself. The volume of her kalyani alapana alone could have bought down a few coconut trees in the neighbourhood.

anantha said...

The saddest part is, nobody ever listens to these kutcheris.

So why do the oldies insist on getting some poor soul come and sing his/her heart out? I think singers/artistes/performers are like bloggers. Just like bloggers are chronic hit counters, I am sure singers/artistes/performers will crave attention and respect. *sigh*

So, I have decided that when it is time for me to do the deed, I shall have someone from THE Thenisai Thendral's family to sing his numbers.

The cutchery shall start with a invocation to the Almighty (i.e. "Kandhan irrukum idam kandha thottam") and end with a number intended to rouse people's appetites (i.e. Whittu lagaan kozhi onnu koovuthu, adhu fast food kadaiya paathu engudhu). Mebbe, Gaana Ulaganathan shall make a guest appearance too and sing his biggest hit. And no one will complain, since (like you said) no one listens anyways! At least I will enjoy without being pseudo. Good idea, no?

Mambazham Yellow, Parrot Green and MS Blue were omnipresent

Why does that remind me of DD news and Shobana Ravi?

And yes, moms are the bombs, ticking time bombs, that is!

Anu: Brahmeboodha Suryanarayana Iyer-a pathi thappa pesina, vootukku auto varum. But I admit that it would be interesting to hear stories about Avataram's aththai paati or even his chiththi paati!

Avataram, please acquiesce without undue delay.

Toxi said...

Heh, that is why I thought that I spotted you at Rani Meyyammai Hall the other day.
The height notwithstanding, don't be too surprised if your are flooded with proposals over the next week. And don't they say, age is just a number?

Anu said...

Anantha, ellam paathachu. Idhu varaikkum Auto anupparen nu sonnadhukkellam nejammave auto anuppine nna, enga Nungambakkam Traffic inspector a vida en kitte neraya auto irukkum.

Nettrikkan thirappinum, bore bore thaan, Mr. Avataram.

Pri said...

i once went to this wedding where they gave lipeestick for the ledis along with tenga, kumkuma dabba and beetle leaf. it was very odd.

Anonymous said...

Weddings are lovely, mostly because T Nagar sparkles, shimmers and dazzles you from every corner.
Heh, nice!

Sriram said...

ten thousands of kancheepuram pattu? I have to agree you are poor in math :). Btw, what sambhar did they serve? murungakka?

Anonymous said...

Till T Anna gets married, I don't think you need to worry very much! :)

avataram said...

We are here because Tamizh penn is entertaining. What can I, a poor commenter do, except put supernatural Jalra?

If this is boring, I would advise you to read "Analytical Conics" written by Thatha in 1942. The British Quit India after reading that book.

Here is a topless photo of Thatha for your kind perusal.

Sriram said...

Avataram, so you havent become GasquestFanFan yet? Btw, Lagavulin was good :)

anantha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anantha said...

*bows his head in respect for the late Prof. Suryanarayana Iyer!

Avataram: I promise to be humble and silent henceforth.

Anu: Avataram kitta sorry sollu!

m$q said...

Long live the late Prof. Suryanarayana Iyer! Death to his critics!

Hail the Brahmebootham!

Anu said...

Avataram, I am without speech. Many apologies.

I said...

dear gothram brother Avataram,

idhellam seriye illa.

shub said...

haha! totally relate to the post. good writing!

Anonymous said...

I am 6'2".
We should marry.

Nilu said...

Is this Anu chick jealous and therefore annoying or just plain annoying?

Those who wish to comment here should get my permission first.

anantha said...

Dho da.. vantaaru siru, permission kuduka!

Vendakkai said...

Please post. I don't like any of these people who comment.

Anonymous said...

Dear ATP,

I like you. Please stay away from Avataram, his thatha and Nilu the idiot. Don't let them hijack this Blog.

Anu is a nice girl. She is nicer than you.


Anonymous said...

Haha, Anu versus ATP now? Fun!!!

Anonymous said...


I really like your Blog. It is a refreshing change from dumbass Tamil Bloggers, always trying to seek attention and start an argument. Please ignore all these people and continue writing.

Asal Tamil Penn said...

To whomsoever it might concern: Freeya vidu.

Anonymous said...

Heehee, how nicely you gloss over everything!! Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

I HATE Nilu.
I wish he will quit commenting on Blogs too. I hate all Blogs that he comments on as well, so just get rid of him.

Anonymous said...

Dei Maanga Maddaya,

Anu is way ahead of this elitist bitch ATP and her bunch of friends. Why would she be jealous?

Return back to your hole.

L N Srinivasakrishnan said...

Madras is stuck in such a time warp. Looks like I may have never left the place - many decades ago. Madras has developed fake traditional culture into such a high art.

ramaa said...

Very good stuff. I'm an ATP too(though Iyengaar), and that must be why I feel like I wrote some of this myself. :-)