Naanum Magal Thaane (the inner voice of a marumagal) by Murali

Blog post by Murali Shankaran

GANGABAGHIRATHI (Ganga to family and Baghi to friends) was very elated, the 6th in the group of 7 siblings, she is going to get married. Like any other girl in her post mid twenties she had her own dreams of her new found home where she will shift with bag and baggage.

“Ganga,  pora edathulae nalla nadandhuko. Maamiyaar maamanaar mechiya marumagala iru” this is her mother .

“Adiye pukaathulae konjam munnae pinnae thaan irukkum ketiyaa, nee thaan adjust pannidu poganum. Adhuvum maapillaiku konjam kovam adhigam nu  kelvipattae. Namba Balakrishnan mama sonaar.” Idhu ava mootha Akka, experience speaking .

Aval innoru akka, aamaam aamaam naanum parthaen nischiyathartham annniku coffee davara tumbler le koduthaa, avar munji appadiye maariduthu. Apparam avar amma kitatae kaetaen, he does not like coffee to be served in a davara. Please keep it at the back of your mind.

(“davara ilaadha coffee tumbler is like fish in tank without water”) this is the mind voice of Ganga’s second athimber who hails from their native kallidaikurichi .

The D day comes  and GANGA BAGHIRATHI smoothly gets transferred   from BHARADWAJ GOTHRAM to SRIVATSA GOTHRAM.

She transforms herself from GANGA BAGHIRATHI NARAYANAN  to GANGA BAGHIRATHI SHANKARAN. The wedding gazette records the change in name. How effortlessly do girls transform and slip into roles. First  that of a daughter, then sister, then that of a wife & daughter in law rolled into one, then  the epitome of all a Mother, and then  a mother in law to end it with paati. Aahaa kanna katudhae (in vadivelu style).

Before she leaves for her in laws place, a piece of advice  “Ganga  un maamiyaar nalla maddiriyaa thaan irukaa  nalla kalakala nu pesaraa ellorum kittae. Rumba anbaa pesaraa.” idhu ava mudhal manni.

Aana konjam careful  she nodifies a lot, this is her second manni .

Idha paaru Ganga, pukaathulae enna aanaalum nee thaan adhai samaalikannum. Angaendhu oru varthai ingae varakoodaadhu, ingaendhiu enna sollanumo  adha mattum thaan nee sollanum. Edhuvaa irundhaalum  nee thaan  adjust pannindu poganum . This is  her MOTHER  hiding a few drops of aanandha  kanneer. Bag and baggage she moves to her new found place and prays to the Acharyal.  – Ini ellam unga seyal.

The first few days of new married life went on very well. Moochuku munooru thadavai ava maamiyaarae  AMMA AMMA nu koopiduvaa genuinely, she also responds genuinely. Ganga happily does new shopping for her and also ensures that she buys for her amma in law, her naathanaar. ( a very important portfolio in a tambrahm society ) .

The days pass by and months pass by slowly she sees a fortress being build around her husband  she tries to impregnate the same but with  measured success. this fortress is called by different names – some of  them being  UNDILUTED LOVE, AFFECTION, INSECURITY of one person called MOTHER .

This is called “thaaipaasam mania” vandha aval en paiyyan nae enkittaendhu pirichuduvaalao?

Amma inniku raatri tiffin upma kozhakattai pannavaa . –  pannu aana chatni also venum. Shankaran ku chatni illamal upma kozhakattai pidikaadhu.  “Its ok Ganga  if sambar is there  its fine by me or else molagai podi. Even you have just come back from office.”

Amma’s face changes , the first nail is hit.

Ganga’s  brother comes to see her and maapillai. He gets a branded checkered shirt for maapillai  and gives. The mother responds  Shankar checks shirt potukave maataan. Paravaillai amma aasaiya vaangindu vandhirukaar I will wear. (who will want to miss out wearing a zodiac with mother of all pearls button shirt) enna color thaan konjam adikaradhu, a dark brown color.

The sound of the second nail being hit. The list of the number of nails is countless.

Slowly amma tries to find fault with occasional  small and petty things. Appa who is a cool person tells his wife to stop talking. And then he consoles ganga ‘onnum thapa ninaikaadhae avalukku konjam kovam varum (engeyo ketta kural)  aana basically she is a very nice lady at heart, .konjam over possessive  avalavuthaan. Nee thaan adjust pannindu poganum. (repeat kural)

How many of you would  have gone thru this scenarios in your life?  A  common sight in many tambrahm families.   When they see a girl for their son  the usual line of thinking is  “Ponnu nalla irukanum, nalla family, nalla pazhakam vazhakam konda aval, periyavaalae madhika theriyanum, naanga adi kadi travel pannuvom, enga paiyanae nalla paarthukanum, idhu thaan enga requirement.” What does this speak, the undiluted love and affection for her  son.

I have seen a family where the boys mother welcomed her daughter in law with carefully selected three sets of antique gold necklace set (one a diamond)  and matching bangles . en ponnu en veetukku varaa  let me welcome her with style. This is a new age mother.

In a society where we see and treat our maapillai as our son, why don’t we see our daughter in law as our daughter. What’s it that stops them from doing so. Is it insecurity or the faith and trust on the son diminishes. Not the later or the former but just plain love and affection on the son.

THE DAY A MOTHER REALISES THAT SHE IS HER SON’s YESTERDAY AND TODAY AND THAT HIS WIFE IS HIS TODAY AND TOMORROW, such situations will cease to arise . For somebody has rightly said that “patni thaayum aavaal”  and the mother takes a backseat saying my son is in safe hands  and starts treating the “MARUMAGAL AS  MAGAL”

“Endru thaniyum indha MARUMAGALIN  daagham” (Taken from Bharathi’s poem and modified)


19 thoughts on “Naanum Magal Thaane (the inner voice of a marumagal) by Murali

  1. I have no idea what inspired you,to write this, the thought behind it is amazingly true to life. My MIL was always neeum enoddu ponnu. Go and spend time with others – to my face. Orru vellai cheyyamattal – behind my back!!! 16 years later, I will do anything for her but trusting her words……


  2. In an otherwise touching narrative, the young damsel is pleased that a mother-in-law is welcomimg with jewels. She will step into the shoes of that class of women when her son comes of age.
    Now we know why suicides of young brides persist.
    I am a TB too but left this type of gutter more than 5 decades ago. But I was
    I had to get my younger sister married, main motivation to eke a living in a $
    land. I weny back to look for grooms and lucked out to locate a great guy
    with a widowed dad. The dad wanted a dowry, when he pointed out that he had 2 daughters, how could I refuse. I donfinced my sister that she was stuck in a spineless society but I had found a great guy.
    But my elder sister demurred, why? We could have found a docter!
    I blew up but the marriage went thru.
    I took my foreign wife to vist them all and we all had a great time. Barriers just shattered.
    They also learned that TBs may not posess the greatest culyure.
    When will TBs change, have modest wedding and not-for-show living.
    And learn to using grammatically correct Tamil.


  3. Brilliant piece, and yet they expect to be treated one over a girls own mother. Expect 100% returns without investing an iota of genuine care. And unfortunately the poison travels through to the next generation with the girl inevitably pouring all her emotional attachment to the only entities that will love her unconditionally, her children. For all the religious garbage that such MILs spout they forget the main message from the bhagvad Geeta karmanye vaadhikaraste naa phaleshu kadachana. Instead demand entitlement from the DIL.


    1. The current mothers who marry off their sons are changing slowly .there are still some who want to repay what they recd . But showing it on the next gen kids is something not digestible


  4. Idhu mattuma? That pseudo emotional statement” enakku neeyum ponnudaan. Xyz(daughter) Vera nee vera illa!!! This is limited to things that are expected from us.. Adhe vice versa ponnu ponnudaan maatuponnu maatinda ponnu daan!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good one. Never fails to happen in all tambrahm families. You brag all you like how forward tambrahms are. But a mother in law never changes to a mother. To her sons wife she is always the mother in law.


  6. Well Penned Mr. Murali. Many a times i too have pondered on why the Mother in Laws should treat their daughter in laws in such a way. I am totally clueless!! Some times their ego and hatred reaches a state where they even keep away their grand children.



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