Blog Post by Venkatraman Subramaniam
Following the 11 commandments for Chamathu Pullaiyaandaans (click here for the article), I was asked by some to pen down the 11 commandments for a Chamathu Ponn Kondey as well. Well… unfortunately, even today there are too many restrictions on our ponngal. Tonnes of them are archaic and mentality of our seniors and super-seniors need to change to ‘let them live’. But, continuing with the listing tradition, here are my Top 11 (out of a gazillion) commandments to become a Chamathu Ponn Kondey. These won’t do any justice to the kind of rules and regulations that they have to follow (coz ninnaalum kuttam, okkaandalum kuttam).
1. Thou shalt ittufy the pottu always
Repercussions: Your Atthai will come running towards you with the Shilpa Gold sticker pottu packet in hand, which she has safely preserved for such ‘occasions’ in her handbag (which was gifted to her by Yoo Yes la irukkara son Narayanan alias Norry during his last visit) and ittufy the largest possible size pottu available with her. And after pressing it hard on your netti for a minute to ensure it sticks well, “Ippodaan lakshanamaa irukku!”
2. Thou shalt not wear sleeveless or shorts
Repercussions: “Sleeveless poatukkara moonjiya paaru. Modalla come with me to the pakkatta theru tailor. He will have spare tuni of the same colour. Mariyaadaiyaa sleeves tecchukko! Costly dress aache paakkarein… illaata bhogi la ericchirpen!”
3. Thou shalt not have viriccha thalaimudi
Repercussions: Parachute Tengai Ennai. Your Hair. Ottai or Rettai pinnal, depending on Amma/ Atthai/ Chitti/ Paati/ Pakattu-aattu Mami’s ishtam. Padiya padiya vaarardu. If their mood is good, as soon as it is done, you hear this word in a musical tone – “Aachu!” If the comb happens to be in Amma’s hands… and if her mood is bad, avalavu daan! “Evalavu chidukku irukku di!” Pulls hair with the comb ruthlessly! Paavam chamathu ponnu.
4. Thou shalt go to Paattu/ Bharatham/ Veenai/ Violin class
Repercussions: “Varnam finish pannu… simultaneously teacher ta chollarein unakku some tukdas and all the Pancharatna Kritis cholli kudukka…. we will go to Thiruvaiyyaaru next year. Inda chaakkulyaavudu naanum chaagartukku munnaala oru daravai Thyagaraja aradhanai kannaala paappein.” Endharo Emotionalu Blackmailu. Checkmate.
5. Thou shalt learn to cook as soon as you are old enough to hold the Idukki (kitchen tongs).
Repercussions: “Maggi pannardu tavara vera enna di teriyum nokku? Naaliki kalyaanam aachuna, aamdayaanukku verum Maggi daan samacchu poduviya? Naalikiye training aarambam! Ippove paduchukko. Naaliki pukkaatukku poyi kashta paduvai.” Samaiyal 101: How to make Idlis?
6. Thou shalt attend Poojais & go to Vellikizhamai Kovils
Repercussions: “Nothing doing. I have already committed to Kamakshi Mami. You have to go for the Vilakku Poojai. (Kondey is about to leave, disgruntled). Po-naa odane poyida vendiyadaa? Buy the Vilakku Poojai book from Giri Trading on the way. En copy enga vecchu tolacchein teriyalai. Manasodu pray pannu… illaina palan kadaikaadu.”
7. Thou shalt not have a Paiyyan friend
Repercussions: You are talking on the phone, “Akshu, stop it yaa.” Amma walks into the room. “Yaaru di anda Akshu? Pudu friend-aa? Chollave illai! Akshu naa… Akshaya-vaa, Akshara-vaa illai Akshata-vaa?” “Ammaaaaa! Idu Akshay-mmaa!” The trait mastered by Ammas where they will whisper their angst in such a way that the person on the other side can’t hear… but you are shaking seeing Amma’s anger! “YENNADU?! Paiyyan-aa?” Smart move by #almostchamathu ponnu – “Amma, ivan Akshay <Iyer/Iyengar>.” Sudden change in Amma’s expression “Appidiya! Pesu pesu… aamaam avanukku enda ooru? Poorveegam edaavudu common-aa irukkum. Vijaari.”
8. Thou shalt not do Love marriage
Stage 3b: If she did not marry a nammalavaa… The Prince plastic mug in Appa’s hands filled with metro water overturned on his balding head. #thalaimuzhugiyachu
9. Thou shalt not behave like an Adigaprasangi
Repercussions: Amma in her trademark angry whisper, “Adigaprasangi, don’t argue! Go inside and bring a glass of jillu Rasna for Mama.”
10. Thou shalt not utter any ketta vaarthai
Repercussions: Umpire gives a wrong decision and India loses a wicket. “Bhe…” Appa stares at you. “Bhe…sically, idu rommba tappu, illaiya paa?” You were almost caught. You look at pillaiyar padam and put a topikarnam… okkandunde. 9th wicket down. “Fu…” Amma stares at you. “Fu…nny way to lose, illaiya-mma?” Amma: “Edo enakku perisssa cricket pidikkara maadiri. Inda shaniyan pidicha match naala Vani Rani miss aagardu (goes inside the kitchen, storming).” Phew! Narrow escape.
11. Thou shalt not give a SINGLE chance to disappoint your parents
I am staying away from a lot of other tortures. Yenna, sila vishayattulendu ‘dooram’aa velagi irukkarde nalladu. Full Stop. Period.