Archive for November 2010
Previously on “The Big Fat Tamizh Wedding”
The quintessential tam-brahm wedding has a few key features – nosy aunties adorned in bling weighing a few hundred tons
There are some keywords that are bound to arouse any respectable tamizh woman from a respectable family. IIT, Siligon valley, YummYes, Sun DeeVee, 24-Carat and Palag Pannneeer reci-bee.
IKEA burst out with the noble intention of imparting geography to the simpletons surrounding her, “Roorkee, isnt that the place in Orissa with the steel plant”?
“No, it’s near Haridwar”, mother corrected.
Bad move mom, bad move…
Upper class tamil women are like Soviet Russia: you don’t chide them. They chide you! Clearly miffed at my mom’s audacity and general lack of social manners, the noble lady arrived at the only possible logical conclusion: my mom had raised me up in a terrible manner and that I needed professional help.
“Surely, your son plans on doing an MS abroad? Masters means more dollars.”
“Actually he wants to do a PhD.”
“Surely you must be joking? I bet this is yet another of his silly whims. My son wanted to pursue robotics after watching Rajnikanth in Endhiran.”
“Actually he has decide…”
“Don’t be silly ma, he’s just a child. What does he know? When a kid sees a vendor selling pani-puri on the road, he’ll obviously want it. It is our duty to protect them from their own innocence and stupidity. Besides, a PhD will result in a complete waste of atleast five years and by the time he’s done he’ll be totally bald and no one will want to marry him”. Blood Pressure shooting up, mom just nodded praying that the counselling session would soon come to an end.
“Infact, you remember Savithri’s son, don’t you?” Savithri who? “That young man completed his masters from Univ-of-some-obscure-corner-or-the-other-in-Iowa and immediately secured a $6000-a-month job in Krowgle Inc”. And then she went on, and on, and on. And then a bit more. The rest of her eloquent speech has been snipped in order to preserve of the sanity of the readers, if at all any are left at this juncture.
Deciding my future, it seemed, did not provide this woman enough stock to gloat over her own brilliance and she proceeded to pounce on my sister, who was probably discussing the applications of fantasy in real-life and the genetic feasibility of mythical creatures (read Twilight, Edward Cullen) with her friends. “Surely dear, you want to follow in your brother’s footsteps.”
As much as my sister would have loved to scream “Noooooooooooooo” in her best possible Darth Vader imitation, civil manners dictated that she say “No, I want to become a teacher” instead.
Blank stares. These fine women had enough experiences in life to fill many a megaserial, but nothing and absolutely nothing had prepared them for this. “Teach what dear?”, another woman asked in the most derisive of tones. Now one must take a moment to appreciate the potency of a middle-aged woman’s sarcastic tone. It is said that there are only three sounds in this world more distressing than the same. Namely
b. Wailing Banshees
c. Future Ted Mosby with his “Kids back in the fall of 2009”…
“I want to teach school kids”, came the reply; voice quivering. That was the last straw. The wolves were about to pounce, the lamb about to breakdown and my mom about to violate all known rules of social conduct and swear at these ladies and just then, the gates of the dining hall opened. Voila, the aunty gang ever so eager to not miss the first round of hot food, disappeared before one could even utter thanks-for-all-the-fish. Then, my mom went on to prove that my sagacity was in no way the result of some weird genetic mutation. She and my sister finished dinner (of course!) and quietly exit.
But… this was a Maddu* marriage and the concept of a quiet exit can never appeal to a class which would rather broadcast, “The inception had evolved from a mere fluttering of the human heart. Our beloved protagonist, the quintessential young male knew he had developed strong feelings for the girl. The taxonomy was perhaps not love, but definitely much more than just infatuation” than simply “The boy liked the girl”. A discussion of exit strategies is in order here as the probability of running into either of the bridal couple’s parents is very high and awkward questions then lead to awkward-er answers – no the elder one has JEE class and the younger one has a test tomorrow; no, the grandma has arthritis; no, our dog is grounded because he pooed on the carpet ,and so forth. My own extensive knowledge of such revolutionary tactics owes its existence to years of playing AoE. When your enemy whups your ass even before you build your first barrack and archery, these strategies are a must for survival. The most accepted method of exit is to create a diversion and leave silently while people are looking elsewhere. Three simple ways are:
1) Shout “Bomb, Bomb!”
2) Shout “Namitha, Namitha”. (This method is guaranteed to create a frenzy among all males above age twelve, and drive the rest into puberty.)
3) Hire a Chuck Norris lookalike to hold the bridal couple at gunpoint and run for your life before he finishes off the entire hall and comes for you.
Just as I had predicted, dear old mother was intercepted by random old dude and his nagging wife, and waitforit… waitforit… was gifted a free coconut and betel leaves in a paper cover. Ah! Free coconuts, what any self-respecting maddu family wouldn’t do for one of these.
She later explained over the phone, “The ironic thing about tamizh weddings is that you have a bunch of self-obsessed morons, constituting the so-called intelligentsia of our nation fighting with one another to exhibit age-old cliches”. Every wedding has these aunties (maamis), 99% of whom scale the price of their carefully selected silk sarees by a factor of 3.14, when asked. The remaining 0.98% are adorned in salwars and churidars and generally ignored by the venerable lot as being young and foolish. The final 0.02%, in all probability, US-returned, promenade in T-shirts and jeans. This lot is classified by the rest as being slu belonging to the same class as female canines. There are always these NRIs and their ABCD kids with the fakest of accents which people invariably find cute. These wannabe-firangs’ sole motive is cribbing about the state of affairs in India and comparing it with the united states. The NRIs can generally be found seated next to grey-haired, pan-chewing uncles, receiving advice on how LIC is the best option for financial investment during recession. And then there are the kids. Those annoying little brats – a few running around and knocking us elderly people down, the ones which managed to smuggle a tennis ball playing catch-catch and aiming the ball at various unsavoury parts of passers-by’s bodies and twelve year Casanovas flirting with girls under the umbrella of fraanndsheep. At times like these, one can’t help but subscribe to the juvenile neanderthal’s oxymoronic philosophy that every kid on the face of this planet ought to be chained up and starved for weeks to inculcate discipline.
“Times have changed”, mum lamented in a pensive tone. “A wedding is no longer just a union of hearts but a commercial affair, a show of status.” “Yes, Yes”, I cut her short with every intention of avoiding yet another of those Back-in-the-80s-son-things-were-so-different stories. “I am glad that I’m far away in Roorkee”, I added as an afterthought.
Truth be told, I am not glad. I miss the food. A lot.
*Maddu refers to the people who hail from the most awesome city on this planet. Yes, the one where Rajnikanth resides.