Those Tambram Mamas! – Blogathon Post 16

So many posts in the blogworld about Tambram Mamis and their greatness (not) I havent seen much about Tambram mamas.

A Tambram mama is identified by this pristine white veshti (dhoti) and crisp half sleeve shirt (can be striped or checked, but not other designs allowed) and usually has a strip of cloth known as angavastram on his shoulder, which is substituted with a hand towel in most cases.

The Tambram mama is a very docile version of the Tambram mami. Though extremely interested in the gossip of the world, mama will pretend that he is more interested in the newspaper while all his attention will be on the gossip mami is giving him while serving in hot filter coffee and tiffin.

The Tambram mama has the unique ability to eat a 3 course meal at 8 in the morning, including rice, sambhar, rasam, curd rice along with two koottus and curries. He is a big fan of the applams and for him vadams are the most important part of the meal. He usually eats a full meal in the morning at 8 before going to office. This is of course, AFTER his cup of hot filter coffee which he needs to have right after he has finished his pooja and sandhyavandanam. He does Sandhi at least twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. After all mami, has to brag about it to her friends and tell her sons about how religious their father is no?

Tambram mama usually takes chapati and curry for his lunch while expects some nice hot tiffin and filter coffee ready when he comes back from office in the evening.

And the Tambram mama gets orgasm if you ask him about the Hindu newspaper. As per him, no newspaper is better than Hindu. If its not Hindu its not a newspaper, and he spends a large amount of his morning time, scanning the Hindu from end to end, looking for titbits of news which he can discuss with his colleagues. His idea of fun is to have a quiz based on Hindu and do the daily crossword of Hindu without mistakes.

The Tambram mama often is seen in the temple with his veshti up his knees doing shastang namaskarams and with vibuthi ย up his forehead, hands and arms and chest. The mama of course, loves to be bare bodied. After all, how else can he show off his poonal? He loves to roam around bare bodied full of chest hair and a big paunch. He is even ready to go out without any issues bare bodied until his wife reminds him to wear a shirt.

The Tambram mama is extremely dependent on mami for everything, but left alone, he can manage to sustain himself on rice and rasam. He takes immense pride in the fact that he can cook, though he may be doing it only once in 10 years. But yes, he can whip up a decent meal. But when mami is around, she needs to do everything from him, including taking out his innerwear to wear to office.

Tambram Mama loves to attend weddings for all the filter coffee and payasams he gets. He is often seen holding Mami’s bag while she freshens up. He sits in a corner with other mamas discussing politics, talking about Congress and BJP, and how Shivaji Ganeshan was a great actor and how going to the US can be so boring for him because he has nothing to do there.

A Tambram mama is one who has two holes in his ears done in his childhood by his parents, but doesnt wear earrings. He is also the one who loves to talk about Carnatic music and discusses the music festival of Madras with gusto. He usually has gone to Sabarimalai at least 10 times and is very proud of the fact that he has taken his sons along and even done the 40 days vratam without issues.

A Tambram mama also is very good in fixing all the small problems around the household. He considers himself an electrician-carpenter-plumber-mason combined though he may not have any experience in any of the jobs. He will always try and fix himself before calling a professional. And of course, will end up calling the professional because mami will chew his brains to do so. Then, he will try and give advice to the professional on how to do the job properly!

A Tambram mama knows a lot of sholkas and is often seen quoting sholkas and their meaning to children who have no clue of what the old man is talking about!

A Tambram mama is also the one who starts talking about science and maths to his young grandchild hoping to make a Ramanujan out of him. And as fact from my experience, despite of what they potray, all Tambram mamas smoke and drink hard liquor, thinking the mamis dont know about it. (But mamis are cleverer, they know everything eh?)

Any additions to this list?

PS – One of the IMC articles I wrote, got published on the RobinAge blog. (Check out the link here)


About R's Mom

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56 Responses to Those Tambram Mamas! – Blogathon Post 16

  1. pixie says:

    hahaha!! LOL!!
    yes!! all this and also the mama will have atleast one child in the US of A.
    All software engineers of course maybe with a doctor thrown it! ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. maddeemen says:

    A tamBram mama will have a nephew in IISc another in IIT and one at BITS and his son in MIT and will love to share their anecdotes as if he was there

    A TBM in Chennai will have a yellow kayam bag hanging on his kinetic Honda on his way to the temple to fill with veggies on his way back

    A TBM thinks attending a kachcheri (like the Margazhi) is the epitome of being an Aesthetic Brahmin.

    Mullapoo (malligai) is an eternal weakness and a madisar Mami with diamonds and mullapoo playing the Veena is like ‘all dreams come true’


    (Sent From My Phone)

  3. The Bride says:

    ”And the Tambram mama gets orgasm if you ask him about the Hindu newspaper.” LOL. Will keep this in mind in case I need to… um… help a Tambram mama orgasm.

  4. Maya says:

    Lovely! I can picturize the mama right in front of me with a tumbler of filter kaapi in one hand and the Hindu in another!

  5. am says:

    Hilarious post. Loved it RM

  6. Tharani says:

    Ha ha ha what a post RM. Are these tambrahm mamas becoming extinct. Its been ages since I saw one ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Hahaha, loved this…what are you having for breakfast these days, RM–one super funny post after another ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. Is this species soon becoming extinct? ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I can’t relate these things to the younger generation.
    And one more addition, he is seen with LIC/Bank pouch cum bag right on the kalyana medai collecting moi and later tallying the account!

  9. Megha says:

    Was inspired to write my post today when I read the part about the hindu. Do check it out –

  10. LOL. Super post, RM. ๐Ÿ™‚

    One addition:

    His son or daughter needs to be ‘professionally qualified’. That means only being a doctor, an engineer or a scientist. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Come to think of it, I have escaped most of these mamas most of my life. ๐Ÿ˜€ Dad isn’t one either.

  11. Jayashree says:

    Super true. I’ve written a post on mama-mami behaviours during different tambrahm occasions. Do take a look –

  12. Archana says:

    This has to be your best post till date – it’s uncanny how accurate you are – my FIL, my dad and all my relatives are all in that post!
    ‘The Hindu’ is sacrosanct to all South Indians – no arguments there!!!!

  13. Nidaa says:

    Erm… At first I thought you meant people hailing from Tambaram in Chennai. It clicked as I ws halfway through the post ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. summerscript says:

    hehe.. I wanted to add the USA and IIT bit and see someone has already mentioned it And most TBM s I know always asks for rendam kaapi (the second coffee in the morning) ๐Ÿ˜€ Super post ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. sjscribbles says:

    Awww โ€ฆSuch a wonderful post. I enjoyed reading it RM !!!
    Tambrams and their culture really interests me and you have done justice to the Tambram Mama

  16. anisnest says:

    ha ha on the mama tales and WTG on the Robinage post RM.. you rock!

  17. So cute! Where can I get me one? I will of course, respect his wishes and have my margaritas only after evening puja.

  18. Deeps says:

    Hahahahahaha! That was howlarious!

  19. Subashini says:

    Very well written R! Being a tambram myself, I enjoyed reading this and could relate to every single point ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. techie2mom says:

    You are on roll, girl!! This is hilarious and endearing!!

  21. Ashwathy says:

    Hahahah…. what a description! Hats off!

    P.S.: How many mamas did you have ๐Ÿ˜›

  22. Pingback: Day 31: On Finishing The Blogathon | Scribblehappy

  23. I came here , following the link in scribblehappy’s blog.
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.
    I hope you enjoy the following article on Tambram Maami’s posted by Prasad V Kaushik on Jan 8. I don’t know where it appeared. I don’t have the link. I received it as an email forward. I am copying and pasting it here.

    The Ascent of the Maami

    The terror of being accosted by the TamBrahm Maami at family functions has persisted right from the dawn of the Madisaar Ages to the times of the Churidaar (aka. Punjaabi dress) to the Jeans era. When Darwin said, โ€˜it is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent but it is the one that is the most adaptable to changeโ€™; he was alluding to the TamBrahm Maami.

    Not unlike Jane Goodall who spent decades studying her subject in the forests of Tanzania, this seminal work on the TamBrahm Maami is a result of years of keen observations at countless Kalyanams, Seemanthams, Nischayathaarthams, Poonals, Valaikaapu,Shashtiyaptapoortis, Sadabhishekams and Punyajanam functions. Much knowledge of the various types has been gathered by silently observing Maamis over yellai saapaadu, lots of patient listening and steadying twitching nerves with tumblers of piping hot Kumbakonam degree coffee. The TamBrahm Maami, scientific name; genus maamium mylapoorum; can now be seen across the world โ€“ from the narrow lanes of Mylapore to Australia to both sides of the Atlantic. Irrespective of where you are accosted by her, a quick study of this treatise will help you understand the consequences of such an encounter, help you take precautionary measures โ€“ like running away โ€“ far away โ€“ from the TamBrahm Maami.

    The Visa Maami is one of the most commonly found maamis. Just say โ€˜Bostonโ€™ or the name of any American city within this Maamiโ€™s earshot and be prepared for a long discourse from this walking Lonely Planet America edition. The Visa Maami is a resident expert on all things American โ€“ from Visas to getting a Green Card to American Universities to American geography to Indian stores in any part of the States. Owner of a 1,000-page passport, a true citizen of the world, when she bumps into other Visa Maamis in India she fixes her next meeting at โ€˜Frisco or LA. Try inviting her to a Ganapathi Hoomam next week; chances are that she will decline as she has to catch a flight to visit her son in Texas. Nine out of ten Visa Maamis have a Hotmail email account and most definitely have a Skype id โ€“ they are always the early adopters of technology and in the future when teleporting becomes a reality โ€“ this clan is the best segment for tech companies to target. Boredom with the unsolicited America cram session or teeth-gnashing due to the late realization of being the only TamBrahm left behind in India are the usual effects of an encounter with the Visa Maami.

    The Pin-code Maami is a study in contrast to the Visa Maami. She is only aware of the streets, shops and temples within her pin-code. So for example, if she is from 600004 (thatโ€™s Mylaporeโ€™s pin-code) this Maami will only know East Mada Street, Kapaleeswarar Temple, Tank and Luz Corner. And if you dare compare her locality with another โ€“ you will be assaulted with so much tripe that if Copernicus were alive he would willingly admit that the sun indeed revolves around Mylapore. The Pin-code Maami is always accompanied by a family member to functions โ€“ she simply canโ€™t get back to her pin-code by herself.

    Letโ€™s say you cracked the JEE, you ooze confidence and walk six-inches above the ground. Avoid the encounter with the Centum Maami at the Shashtiyaptapoorti. She will wrestle you to the ground โ€“ slam dunk, coz, she is the Centum Maami. She is the one whoโ€™s children have scored centum right through school or have cracked a first rank at JEE or have passed through MIT (with straight As). Studying at REC are you? Thatโ€™s no good โ€“ itโ€™s IIT Madras or nothing. Studying at XLRI are you, its IIM โ€“ Ahmedabad or nothing โ€“ you get the drift? Encounters over lunch with this kind will instantly curdle your paal-payasam, force you to rush through straight from the first course of sambar rice and escape without eating curd rice.

    Mother-of-black-sheep Maamis are the tragi-comedy of the clan. Until a few decades ago, mothers of TamBrahm boys who married Russian girls or mothers of thirty-one year old single TamBrahm girls would be classified as such. But times have changed, these days, parents are grateful that at least their sons are getting married to a girl and have not run off with another boy. Mothers of TamBrahm sons or daughters who-have-done-what-cannot-be-said are called mother-of-black-sheep Maami. They skulk into family functions, look furtively, stare at the groom or bride wistfully and sniffle despondently into their sari paalu. This Maami stays normally aloof, but in case she accosts you the music in the background instantly changes to a 60โ€™s Sivaji Ganesan tragedy.

    And then there is Interrogation Maami. This one is the T-Rex of her kind. For her, nothing is kosher. If you are her unfortunate prey, she will ask a zillion questions โ€“ loudly โ€“ for the benefit of everybody within a 20-mile radius. Werenโ€™t you hugging (katti pudichifying) that Christian girl โ€“ Lisa โ€“ in Coffee Day yesterday? Abishtoo. Why did you hide behind the car and pretend you didnโ€™t see me when I saw you smoking last Monday? What were you carrying in black plastic bags I saw you hauling near the TASMAC shop last night? Be very afraid of the Interrogation Maami โ€“ if she is at the function you are in, run for cover โ€“ to the farthest other Punyajanam or donโ€™t-care-what-function there is.

    And then there is the Temple Run Maami who either runs off visiting temples or talks about her visits to them. Delhi or Wisconsin or Toronto or Alaska or even the moon โ€“ it really does not matter where or who she is visiting. With MSโ€™ Suprabhatam the most commonly used mobile ring tone this maami has an innate ability to discover temples you didnโ€™t know existed. Severe boredom or sheer exhaustion from visiting temples or listening about temples or a sudden surge of bhakti is the effect of an encounter with the Temple Run Maami.

    The Google Maami always has her search mode on โ€“ for a bride or a groom for her son or daughter. Settled in America is a constant in her search algorithm. She looks at every eligible boy or girl in the Poonal function with her search function on, enquires about their background, discusses nakshatrams, raasis, gothrams and candidates rejected in the match-making sessions. If you are married and have been caught by a Google Maami, you can escape her clutches by providing references of unmarried friends or cousins but in case you are unmarried โ€“ there is nothing else but getti melam in store for you.

    The Aadi-Sale Maami. normally found feverishly shopping wherever the word โ€˜discountโ€™ is seen, is single handedly responsible for the economic fortunes of T-Nagar โ€“ from Pothys to Chennai Silks to Nallis. She drops into Seemanthams usually on her way for shopping. If you are her unfortunate prey, you will have to drive her to Renganathan Street, become a coolie and carry her shopping bags. Caution, avoid accompanying her and make excuses about needing to check on the Caterers or whip out your phone, yell โ€˜Hello. Helloโ€™ and walk away muttering about the poor quality of the mobile signal inside the Hall.

    And finally there is the mmmโ€ฆMmmmaami โ€“ the TamBrahm edition of the yummy-mummy is an extremely rare kind. Think of her as Simran and Shobhana kneaded into one. Seen with a fat balding potbellied Maama โ€“ who is usually taken to be her father but turns out to be her husband. Encounters with this kind of Maami are extremely pleasant, laced with the fragrance of malli poo and end with you imagining how she may have looked during her college days or salivate imagining what did they wear to college in those days โ€“paavaadai-daavini? This is the only kind of TamBrahm Maami you really look forward bumping into. But the odds of this encounter are as bright as the odds of seeing butter-chicken on the Kalyanam lunch menu.

    Grave doubts are being cast on the ability of the TamBrahm Maami to survive the current age. After all, when Tamil boys are marrying Harpreets or Janets how will the next generation find TamBrahm Maamis? But hope and the taste of vaddu maanga are eternal. The TamBrahm Maamis are a hardy lot; they will persist and continue to evolve. After all the hand that mashes the thaiyir saadam rules the world.

    • R's Mom says:

      hahahahhahah! I loved this write up..hilarious :):) Thanks for commenting GV-ji..and I did respond to your comment on ScribbleHappy’s blog ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Fem says:

      Thaiyir saadam and vadu manga!!! Yummmm!! I suppose even though I have gone far away and mostly rejected my roots, there is still stuff that remains part of me. Thanks for that entertaining post!

      R’s Mom – great post on mamas too. My dad fulfils only some of the criteria, being the cook and coffee maker of the family, as well as reading Indian Express. I shall explain to him how he has failed to imbue me with Tambrahmness next time he complains, haha!

  24. TTS says:

    fantastic post….i can totally relate all of it to the mamas i’ve met!

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