Blog post by Venkatraman Subramaniam
DISCLAIMER: Namma girls are usually chamathu. So, this post is directed only towards TamBrahm pullaiyaandaans!
It’s not kozhandai. It’s not even kuzhandai. It’s kondey! Yup, your Appa could be 60 and your Thatha could be 90… but still for him, your thopanaar will be a ‘kondey’ for life. Paiyyana petta every TamBrahm parent prays to his or her Kuladeivam – actually, there is no ‘her’ kuladeivam, pukkaatukku ponattukku appram aambdayaan odu kula deivam daane ivalukkum… ya, so they pray that their son should be chamatthu. He should not be influenced by other asamanjams… like that Somu Atthan’s paiyyan Rahul (that abhishtu was caught smoking chinna Gold Flake – abachaaram!)… or that Seshu Ammangaar’s pillai Kishore (caught drinking Chivas Regal – Shiva Shiva!)… or that Vicchu, who is Sacchu Athimber’s onnu vitta akka’s son (he did the unthinkable – he was caught along with a Punjabi ponnu Surinder… having a maamsam burger at KFC!!)
These paavamaana jantukkal are all burdened with loads of edhirpaarpu. So here are the expectations from (read: commandments to) the species that is called ‘Chamathu Kondey’. And there are 11 of them (coz auspicious):
- Thou shalt not be ashamed of your TamBrahm name
Whatever be your TamBrahm name, you will neither surukkify it, nor will change it.
Repercussions: “What is this ‘Baddy’? We named you Bharadwaj over our Gothram. Your Annas got their grandfathers’ names – Sivaramakrishnan & Ananthasubramanian. For our third pullaiyaandaan, kashta pattu peyaru veccha, ivalavu good peyara Baddy-nu mattariya, badavaa rascal!”
- Thou shalt do Sandhyavandanam at least twice everyday
No calamity, natural or man-made, should stop you from picking nose for ‘Om Bhuh’ every day. You are obviously wearing the poonal which you remove ONLY on Aavaniavittam… ONLY to wear a new set. But you also have to ’empower’ the poonal by doing the nitya karma.
Repercussions: “Dei, I spent sixty thousand rupees on your poonal. We did not do your upanayanam in the ooru kovil so that you can dimuky kudutiffy the sandhi. Just doing 108 Gayatri won’t help. We are already so understanding that we have excused the maadhyaanam. If you want breakfast, do Pratahsandhya. If you want dinner, do Saayamsandhya.”
- Thou shalt ittufy veebhoothi always.
Even over Jeans. No excuses. The long pattais need to stay even after the Sandhi. Or else…
Repercussions: “Who asked you to wipe the veebhoothi off your netti? Adu irunda drishti padaadu, ok vaa? Azhikka koodaadu! Go to school/college/office like that only!”
- Thou shalt know the difference between a ‘patthu’ and a ‘non-patthu’ item.
If there is something more mysterious than Chidambara Ragasiyam or Bonda Vinci Code, it must be the distinction between ‘Patthu’ and ‘Non-Patthu’. Without referring the ‘Patthu Dictionary For Ashadu Dummies’, a chamathu kondey will know that chaadam, kozhambu, kari, kootu are all ‘patthu’, whereas paal, thayiru, nei, vetta kozhambu, mor kozhambu are all ‘non-patthu’. A chamathu kondey will also know that “aduppu lendu keezha erakki rasam la uppu poatta”, it is non-patthu.
Repercussions: “Ashadu ashadu… ellatukkum tanniya tottukka vendaam. Thayira-a vittundu, mor molagai-ya pottuka, you don’t have to touch water again and again kanna.”
- Thou shalt know to ecchil-ittufy after eating chaapaadu.
If Amma or Paati are kind enough to do it, you are spared. Illaina maatindai!
Repercussions: “Kaiyila vecchindu chaapda koodaadu!” comes the order. So, you are forced to keep the thatthu either on the dining table or good old tharai and eat chappalam muttindu (cross-legged). After you are done eating (and obviously after saying ‘Amruthopithanamasi’), you will echchil-ittify, because Amma will tell Paati, “You stay away. Kondey will do it. (to the target) Paati-kku vayasu aayachu. Amma-kku iduppu valikkardu illaiya kondey.” Checkmate.
- Thou shalt know the maasams, nakshatrams & Rahu Kalam timings ‘by heart’
The chamathu kondey learns the names of all the 12 Tamil months and everyone from Ashwini to Revathi (abhishthu, these are not names of girls, they are the 27 nakshatrams). He can even manually calculate the Rahu Kaalam timings with the help of the ‘THIngal SAndaiyil VEiye PUraputtu VIlaiyaada SElvadu NYAAyanama’ trick.
Repercussions: “Paati, there are 12 months in the Gregorian Calendar also”. “Anda Greg Chappell kadakkaan… you should know the Tamizh months also – from Chittrai to Panguni.” “Yaaru Paati, anda Chitra?” “Adi pada porai, thadiya!”
- Thou shalt study Medicine / Engineering / CA / MBA / All of the above
“Bringing centum in Maths is not enough, abhishtu! You need to do a B.E. (Electronics or Software, that’s your choice) and then apply for a Yem Yes in Yoo Yes.” This is a second alternative only if you can’t do MBBS because you faint at the sight of rattham. If not these 2 options, then with a heavy heart, they will allow you to do a CA & MBA. That’s it! The options end over there. Because if you do anything else, “maasaa maasam six-figure chambalam kaila varaadu, and yaarum ponnu kudukka maatta”.
Repercussions: If you decide to take up Arts or that cundrawvy Mass Media… “aatta vittu veliyile poda”!
- Thou shalt not work anywhere apart from TCS / Infosys / L&T / Reliance / Indian Oil (in that order)
Do any other companies exist?!
Repercussions: Conversation between ‘well-wisher’ Mama & Appa: “Where does your son work” “Oh, he is a CFO in a US-based MNC. It is 93000 employee company which has presence in 72 countries. Their last year’s revenue was € 11 billion. And did I tell you, he is the CFO, teriyuma?” “Company peyaru enna?” <insert any name apart from the ones listed above> “Peyare kettadu illai. (proudly) En pillai TCS la Junior System Architect aakum.”
- Thou shalt celebrate all the visheshams
Varusha pirappu, Navaratri, Deepavali, Pongal… you know the full sampradaayam. You are up and ready along with all the others in the house… EARLY in the morning. You are a part of the entire poojai. In fact, when Appa is showing deepaaraadhanai, you are one mani aattifying.
Repercussions: “Dei, innum neivedyam-e aagalai. Endrukkardu late, idula vanda odane vadai thinganamaam. Kadangaara, po kuluchitu vaa!”
- Thou shalt attend all the Kalyaanams and Functions
“Onakku ottanukkaaga chamakka mudiyaadu. Pesaama vaa.” This is the trigger point for most to attend EVERY SINGLE kalyaanam and function. All the chamathu kondeys are usually appreciated (beaming with pride – “Oru function a kooda vittu kuduttadillai!”). The chamathu kondeys know which Mama or Mami is related to them in which vazhi. They don’t tiru-tiru-nu muzhichify when they see Sacchu Athimber’s onnu vitta akka odu maamanaar.
Repercussions: This trend of attending functions tends to increase as the kondeys reach (or are crossing) the marriagable age. The reactions vary from “Paakka aarambicchaacha?” to “Aduttadu nee daan!” to “Innum onnum amaiyalaiya?” as and when the vayasu increases.
- Thou shalt get into an arranged marriage with a ‘nambalavaa’
Why do TamBrahm kids study and get a ‘good’ job? So that they can marry a nambalavaa and ‘settle down’.
Repercussions: “Chandaalaa! Did I taalaati, toal-la tookki valattufied you for this day? How dare you marry someone who does not know our shaastrams and sampradaayams?… (and the eventual) aatta vittu veliyile poda!”
Only and only if you fulfil all the 11 criteria, will you be considered an Agmark-certified ‘Chamathu Kondey’!
For 11 commandments for Chamathu Ponn Kondeys by the same author, click here
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