Flaboulously TamBrahm by Dinesh

An Iyer by birth and traditions being followed at home, I have met more than enough TamBrahms to confirm my belief that a majority of us are “horizontally-challenged”, or should I just say ‘fat’ without being politically correct. It wasn’t very difficult to find the reason for TamBrahm-flab.

It all boils (cooking method reference unintentional) down to our appetite combined with traditions. Traditions equate to ‘reasons to eat’ in our lingo.

TamBrahm, as a community, believe in ‘modalla chaapdu, baaki ellam pina paatukalam’. Every occasion: Diwali, Dussehra, Pongal, Avani-Avitam, Skandashshti, Krishna Janmashtami, Karthikai or any other day has a specific food item. And if you are thinking, it is just on occasions, try counting the number of occasions and I am sure the number will be more than the number of wickets namma veetu paiyan Ashwin has recently taken. ‘The TamBrahm food guide’ or ‘Eat – The Iyer Way’, if written, will be the books we will never bother reading because eating is a trait which passes on from parent to child as effortlessly as Rajnikanth catches his cigarette with his mouth.

A minimum of three courses with a ‘payasam’ (the dessert) round in between the second and third course is the most common sight in lavish food arrangements in any proper joint family, with mamis ever-ready to cook. First course begins with rice with generous helping of ghee, and small amount of dal with Sambaar in tow. Second course is rice and rasam, with chips or papadaam. All this is served with a minimum of four torans/poriyals/kootaans (aka curries). A ‘payasam’ round (short & sweet) before the third course. Finally, the famous tachimammu or ‘taeer-saadam‘ (curd rice for the uninitiated). A banana or another glass of ‘payasam’ to wrap it up is never frowned upon.

Christians have the time of Lent, when they give up something for God: meat, alcohol or the likes. Muslims fast during Ramzan, a whole month. Most North Indian Hindus fast at least once day a week: for Lord Shiva on Monday, Hanuman on Tuesday, Ganapati on Wednesday, Shirdi Sai on Thursday, Santoshi Mata on Friday or Shani bhagwan on saturday. At least they rest on a Sunday (or there might be some fasting for Sun God).

‘TamBrahms’ and ‘fasting’ can never be written in the same sentence (Did I just attempt the impossible??). Even on the Amavasya nights, when we think we are fasting, it is okay to have ‘palahaaram‘ i.e. stuff like dosas, idlis, upma etc.

Anyways, I am not going to change any of that and continue eating food, the TamBrahm-way. And I bet many will agree. If Popeye was an Iyer, his song would start with something like …

‘I am what I am,

I eat, what I can!

I am Popeye the Iyer man!!’

I cannot agree more when they say, “If you can’t fit in your jeans, blame it on your genes”


13 thoughts on “Flaboulously TamBrahm by Dinesh

  1. Loved every bit of your piece. We absolutely love our food, don’t we?

    While most of what we eat – the food type and the quantity – was a right fit for our lifestlye in the olden days of hardships which involved us to move around a lot, bend down, these foods, unfortunately, have increasingly become a reason for life-style diseases in today’s sedentary lifestyle. And when the time comes for us to quit these foods, its too late : the body just doesn’t like anything else.

    Anyway, it was a fun piece to read. I am yet to come across a fine chiseled, toned ab-pack Tambrahm Iyer who devours raw salads over traditional chaapaad and talks protein shakes instead of filter kapi and payasam!


  2. Actually sorry to disagree here but tam brams have a good custom. Tam brams had a concept of eating this kind of food because of the conditions we live in. South India was always a hot place. In those days they used to walk everywhere and temples were huge and they used to walk around them so needed there fast and carbs to sustain. As for palagaram, sorry but over time we have changed what is to be eaten. Originally it only meant eating fruits which was like a detox. Palagaram was meant to be pazhaagaram which we have amended and use as pala (many) agaram …:)… As for the concept of fasting, we too have many of them such as pradosham, shasti, ammavasai, etc… Not including festivals like nombu etc. Really speaking tam brams are an open minded lot who have accepted change and amended or fasting and palagaram habits and kept the quality of food as it suits our tasty taste buds :))


  3. Thanks all. Please don’t take this to heart as some of you are doing. This is just a satire and please take it with a pinch of salt.. Oops.. Food mention again!


  4. True, Tam Brams dont fast as much as those from the North. But many of our people have remained slim and trim. I guess our folks have adapted well to all the food around them!!


  5. 😂 Like PO says.. I always thought I wasn’t eating upto my potential.. By reading all this.. My hunger just took 10 steps ahead.. Sambaar..thaiysaadam..Heaven!! Proud to be a TamBrahm with flabs


  6. But, I also Kno many many TB’s ( incl my Appa and chitappa) who eat like the aforesaid and stay slim… There are slim people by genes too, my friend. Living style is equally important.


  7. I guess your musings are based on the assumption that tambrahm so feast every day. Or is it based on healthy friends and family? Any one reading your post will think that we tambrahm see see are gluttons😔


  8. I cannot believe you are a TB! There is Amavasya and Ekadasi monthly, a day of diet and starvation.
    Most BRIs are on the lean side. Just Eat less . I have not been able to gain weight! I am a TB too, not by practice anymore.



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