Being a Marathi TamBrahm by Aishwarya

Blog post by Aishwarya Chandrashekhar

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As weird as that sounds, I am exactly that, a Marathi TamBrahm. I was born in Pune, but raised the TamBrahm way. I speak fluent Marathi and Tamil and also know Hindi, of course. It’s amazing to be a pakka Puneri mulgi who speaks Tamil and mavali Hindi all together, at the same time!

Being raised the TamBrahm way, my mornings started with “Kaushalya Supraja Rama poorva sandhya pravarthathe“, minus the filter coffee, because both Amma and I are chai-persons, so our davra-tumblers were filled with tea instead! I was enrolled into Bharatanatyam classes at the age of 4. Amma and Thatha taught me Carnatic Music and have trained me to identify raagas within the first 10 seconds of the song. My Akka and I  were made to  by-heart a ton of Shlokams that are deemed necessary for survival. (Imagine having the Vishnu Sahasranamam committed to memory?)

But we were assal Marathi people, we used “shengdanecha kooth” instead of coconut in our Bhaji. (Yes, not Subji, not curry, Bhaji! Deal with it! ). Chapati-Bhaji was our staple diet, but what good is a Tamil house-hold if its refrigerator is devoid of dosa-maavu?

Festivals were all celebrated the Tamil way, hands down. There would be a padi-kolam out our doorstep even on gudi-padwa. Heck, Amma even drapes a Madi-saar that day! Ganpati was celebrated for 1 1/2 days instead of the 10 day Maharashtrian way. Puran Poli used to be Neivedhyam majority of the time. We always have a grand Golu during Navaratri. Of course there would be a lot of mami’s coming over and me going all around our theru collecting Sundal( and consciously trying not to repeat the same Devi song as last year at the same mami’s house ) but every year, Amma called Mrs. Gulawne’s Bhajan Party, who would sing beautiful Abhangs, Powadas and Gondhals. Such fun!

Someone asked me what I called myself when I casually said something in Marathi once, “You are SO Marathi, accent and everything!“, they said, “But you also speak Tamil and Hindi. I don’t get it!” I couldn’t help but laugh. It is confusing for the others, yes, but I am really proud and glad that Amma brought me up this way, she instilled in me the best of what both these cultures have to offer. Now that I am so far away from home, I find that this is all I have with me. These Marathi-TamBrahm Values are what make me, me!

Jay Maharashtra and nandri for reading this all the way through!

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77 thoughts on “Being a Marathi TamBrahm by Aishwarya

  1. What type of nonsense is this? Tamil and Marathi are languages and it is good to learn different languages, but Brahman is a casteist identity, nothing to feel proud about. So, Tam Brahm can mingle with Marthi Brahm while still treating other Tamil people in inhuman ways? What we need is not just selective mixing of cultures but also annihilation of the evil caste system and I don’t see how articles like this in any way help achieve that?

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    1. With all due respect sir, you are getting a little too defensive. Nobody is treating anybody in inhuman ways. You can get jailed for that, I don’t want to go to jail, not any time soon, anyway. My post is NOT casteist in any way, even this blog, for that matter! It’s all about perception. If you could re-read this article with a fresh, more open and liberal point of view, that would be great!

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  2. So true and very well written Aishwarya.
    Am a Tam- brahm – grew up in Bombay with “Patti” calling the shots at home 😃Grew up in a Sindhi neighborhood ( need to write about that – someday 😊) Can read, write ,speak fluent Hindi n Marathi . Married a Palakkad Iyer from Bombay ( he doesn’t speak fluent Marathi, though) Enjoy – Puran poli n Bharli Vangi as much as Avial n Pal Payasam. Our son speaks all 3 languages fluently too n enjoys all the food as well .

    Such experiences truly highlight the mix of the wonderful cultures of India .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved reading this. I am born and brought up Deshastha Marathi, and reading this makes me wish I was a mix of two cultures. 😛
    Our idea of “mix culture” is Koknashtha marrying a Deshastha. LOL.

    I have always felt and maintain a view that people with mix backgrounds comparatively have more enriching life experiences and are generally more tolerant and amiable. Wouldn’t it be nice if cross culture marriages were encouraged more, there would be more love all around than hatred.

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  4. Myself a Tambrahm from Aamchi Mumbai, who can read , write n speak better Marathi than most of the Deshastha n Kokanatha Maharastrian Brahmin.
    Hya gosticha mala Garv aahe, ahankar navhe.
    Nan Tamil sumara peshare, oonu kawal padayade.. 🙂 🙂
    Narayan Iyengar

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  5. Ha ha ha, enjoyed reading this 😃… am a kokanstha brahmin marathi mulgi married to a Pallakad Iyer 😃… n since we’re all from Mumbai, he knows Marathi too… I was learning their Tamil-malyalam mixture language when I was newly married, ie 12 yrs ago, (the language is so different). It’s been now 10 yrs we’re in bayarea in California, and it’s always been a mixture of marathi n Tamil-malyalam, things at my home😊. Also actually my husband’s 1st cousin (chitappa’s daughter), is born n raised in Pune, so she perfectly fits this article 👍 … she speaks fluent Marathi, follows all Marathi festivals, but knows all about Pallakad Iyer things too… exactly what you described 🙂 … I loved n enjoyed reading your article 😃👍

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  6. Very interesting article , Aishwarya. Now let me tell you about my combo. We’re Marathi-brahms who speak a dialect of Marathi but otherwise exactly like TamBrahms for all practical purposes. I am from amchi Mumbai. Most of us are fluent in Tamil and swear by ONLY tambrahm food. Sambar, rasam, porial, avial, etc .No poli-bhakri-zunka stuff for us. Puran polis are made on festivals . We too are big on Carnatic music, bharatanatyam , Vishnu and Lalitha Sahasranamas, etc . We call ourselves Thanjavur or Dakshini Maharastrians. Howzzat ? 😀

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  7. I am a tambrahm from Pune took ❤ This is so beautiful and so true.. I am so loving this.. Feels nice to know that other people exist the same wayyyy ❤

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  8. Iam a Tam brought up in Pune and could relate to everything you said! Except the shloka part though..not a Brahm..but my mum does play suprabhatham every friday religiously :P..how about we drop the Tam Brahm tag and make this all inclusive for all Tams in Pune..barobar ki nahi mitra?

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  9. Most of the people are these types when they are not brought up in their native states. Same is the case with me. But this is well written and symbolises what India is all about.

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  10. Tambrahm born and raised in amchi Mumbai. I speak fluent Marathi(working parents, spent majority of my childhood with babysitters) and my Tamil is a bit child-like.
    I used to listen to how a word sounds and guess what it means. Does not work at all. For eg: pahaka sounds so soothing but means karela
    😑

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  11. Aishwarya, Nice writing. Me too Tambram from Mumbai, but the influence of marathi not much in Mumbai as you can manage with Hindi. But learning Marathi helps you in long way. I also face this Adnav business very often

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    1. Thank you 🙂 I agree, not much of an influence when it comes to actually speaking Marathi in Mumbai, but there’s still that cultural influence.
      Aad nav is going to be an eternal problem for us! 😀

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  12. Raised the same way 🙂 in Gujarat, regularly visited Bombay! Then it was namma Madras.My daughter also I would say is an Indian Tambrahm, having done her schooling at Chennai(it was not Madras anymore), Mangalore, Mumbai and Jabalpur.Cheers!

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  13. I’m from Nagpur and I’m living in Chennai for past 12years😀
    Yenaku Tamil nallavam pesa teriyum ani ghari fakta Marathi bolto😉
    Celebrate both the cultures’ festivals and have idli-dosa for dinner almost once a week! I miss the roadside Maharashtrian food a lot though😞

    I could totally relate to this blog as we share similar cultures😉

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Loved the blog. I am also a Tambrahm Mumbaikar. Could so relate to it.

    Usually this is how the conversation goes if I am talking to someone for the first time in Marathi.
    Person: Aad nav kay tuja?
    Me: Aad naav nahi aahe male. (My First reply)
    Person: Mhanje?
    Me: “Subramanian”
    Person: Ohh southindian. Tar Marathi kasa kai bolto.
    Me: Are me mumbaitla.

    Jai Maharashtra !!

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  15. Mulghi goad bolli. Haha i am also a TamBrahm who spent first 12 yrs of my life in Delhi and then shifted to “Bombay” as it used to be known in the 60s. Struggled to learn Marathi but ultimately learnt to speak but was given exemption in school from studying Marathi since father was an ex govt official. Nothing to beat Amchi Mumbai👍😀

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    1. Dhanyawaad 🙂 My family is from Mumbai too, amma had to transfer to Pune because she’s a government official too and I had to take up Marathi since I was born here! Ani barobar! Mumbai is waay better than Pune!

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  16. Loved readg this aishwarya….me too same like u. People call me maharashtrian and dont believe i m a madrasi……i feel,good to be a pune born and brought up marathi tambram just like u

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  17. Can relate to it aishwarya….cause instead of puneri mee dombivlikar….celebrate even margashreesh and maagi ganpati…so mee aahe marati tambrahm ho

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Now thats seriously funny…Being a telegubram and having spent 4yrs in Pune.. I see this article has just bought my memories back….

    Epic is Madisar on Gudi Paduwa… lol… err… Jhakas :-p

    Liked by 1 person

  19. And I belong to another confusing group o people called thanjavur Marathi.. Just as u r a tambrahm brought up in pune, my people shifted down to thanjavur kumbakonam belt back in shivajis era.. Basically Marathi Brahms who underwent a confluence of different cultures and ultimately here we stand- tarathi Brahms (tamizh Marathi). And, we can not live without our very own sambar and coconut in a few of our bhajis is a must..

    PS, tachi mammam is our favourite..
    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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