Sunday, November 6

Sambhar-ism 101


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I am a Tamilian. Even if I try be something else, at times. Yeah, I know this is not really an intelligent statement by someone whose blog is littered with “aiyoos” and “chee thoos”, but I have never claimed to have inherited more than a couple of brain cells from the grand ancestors , so please humour me a little longer. 

Ok, where were we? Yeah, so having been reared on a staple of rasam and sambhar and curd rice for very many years, I have mildly depressive symptoms if I am kept off rice.  My enthusiastic “Wow.. Paneer and roti?!” can only last for a few days, before I start whining about how I am ready to be admitted into a hospital for having low rice-count in my blood. I'll start behaving like anniyan-Vikram and exhibit extremely anti-social and aggressive behavior.  

“Please inject some rice into my blood,” I’ll scream at the duty doctors, forcing them and several other patients in the ward to look at me with pity and mutter “Poor thing, last stages of addiction!”

Also , it is my humble opinion that during evolution, I have simbly lost the capacity to digest “fatty-ghee-dripping- non-southie food “ and have to seek solace in a bottle of  Eno even if I eat something mildly un-South-Indian for a single meal. It is a different thing that I’ll happily jog to Grand Sweets and stuff my face with their gazillion-calorie poli. That I can digest. Because it is loaded with all the goodness of ghee and coconut and all the things that polis are made of (which I don’t know because I’ve nevah , nevah had the patience to make it before) .   

Though I claim to be the citizen of the world and what not, I get a panic attack if I don’t hear “chee thoo” or “aiyoo” for more than three days. Yes, I’ve counted and hence the confidence. I am not really a “Raghu thaatha”* person, can at most times manage to say “Rahatha tha” without mildly embarrassing myself .I  can even conduct a decent conversation in Hindi (applause..), but I don’t think I can keep up the charade for more than five minutes. I just will blabber something that will brand me as the South-Indian that I am. At least, references to a Matunga maami or T-Nagar Ranganathan street will pop up once in the conversation, leaving no room for speculation about my origins. Also, during November-December, my feet itch so horribly, that I have to make my presence felt at the music sabhas.  Not to listen to  the extremely “Kanchivaram-ed”, “temple jewellery-ied” , “mallipoo-ed” damsels or the overly-nodding-the-head maamas singing Hamsadvani ragam , but to sample the awesome Sabha-fare. What, you haven’t been in Chennai during December? What a shame!

Let’s talk weather. What, blah? I won’t make inane conversation. God promise. Though I have ample insulation, thanks to the ducting I’ve collected around myself for several decades following “best practices in food ingesting”, I say “Wow.. its winter!” if the temperature drops below thirty degree Celsius. Thanks for asking, but according to me, “It is winter currently in Chennai”. When things reach horrifying proportions (read in December and January, when the temperature often reaches mid-twenties  ... SHUDDER!), I will bring out my moth-ball-smelling windcheater, pink sweater that  has a picture of some cartoon character ( a priceless possession that I’ve had  from the age twelve) , gloves (hideous purple colour with twenty holes), woolen socks (complementary grey Lufthansa fare) and monkey cap (brown on one side , depressing grey on the other) from the loft along with several kilos of cockroaches. I will happily wear them 24X7 till someone threatens to complain to the police that I am being a public nuisance by dressing up like a mummy(a stinking mummy at that) and scaring toddlers. My defense will be that one needs an occasion to wear fall-winter clothing, no? All you mommies in Chennai-you have another month to take precautionary measures, educate and warn your lov-hley kids about “The mummy-aunty”.

Yesh, I yam total Tamilian like that. 

So, even though I have many more million Tam quirks, I will stop because..

 a) I think I’ve already made my point with all my rambling. 

 b) You lov-hley peepals must have other work to do – blogs to stalk, meetings to sleep at, spouses to fight with, polis to make and so forth. 

 c) It’s really cool to list reasons as a-b-c (even if you have only one legitimate reason).I miss doing this a-b-c thing because I don’t prepare sub-standard credit reports for a living anymore. And this practice always makes one seem sophisticated and erudite and rational .Of course, one isn’t any of that.

*For people who are not aware of the legend of “Raghu Thatha”, I will currently elucidate. Raghu thatha  is  an extremely popular Tamil movie joke where a guy who is trying to woo a girl admits himself  into the Hindi class that the girl’s father teaches. Despite several scoldings and “ear-twistings”, the boy can never get himself to “Rahatha tha..” and keeps saying “Raghu thatha” (meaning Raghu’s  grandfather).  The girl’s father is exasperated and tears his hair in frustration at the appalling pronunciation of the boy. So, there it is- the legend of Raghu thatha for FREEE… 

** I have to deeply apologize to non-Indian readers who read this blog.You’ll probably  not understand the stuff I write here, because most of the references are extremely Indian. Sorry, I will hopefully write like a citizen of the world soon. 

Ok, then .Tata. Bye-bye. Alvida (Gasp!).

18 comments:

Spaceman Spiff said...

Oh my god!
This is hilarious! No no, let me rephrase. This is hi-'laughing so hard I'm crying'-larious!!
And that Raghu Thatha joke is actually applicable to us Mallus as well. :D

Anonymous said...

OMG, Raghu-Thatha is such a favorite of mine. I swear I have not heard that phrase in over 20 years. Sniff. I am almost bawling now. Great, great blog. Going back to read all the older posts. Keep it up.

My3
where it is 30F and we keep a straight face and say since it is sunny it is a great day and maanam will go if I wear a jacket in this "good" weather.

Uma said...

ROFL...:-)))

Bhargavi said...

Spiff...My life is one grand joke,huh?:-) Glad you liked it. I have had the privilege of working with several mallu-Raghu -thathas too.*shudders*

Anon..Dude/lady, who art thou?.Thanks for liking the blog. Wonder what I'll do at 30F. My guess is i wont think about maanam and get all eskimoed :-)

Uma..:-)

Asha said...

awesome!! me totally relate to this post especially the rice thingie. like a global citizen can eat pizza but have to down with a morsel of thayir saadam.... and ROTFL on raghu thatha which i could place immediately even before I read the tail piece.

aiyyoyo....sorry for the long comment and now don't say chee to this comment:)

WhatsInAName said...

Lololol :))
Laueeeed your post. Cos my hubby can relate to this so so well. I am brought up in delhi. So cold for me is something below 10 wonly and I actually have a punjabi accent.
But my hubby dear does all of the above and I find it too funny at times... oops sorry about it :))
And I loved that raghu Thatha movie.... I forget the name but remember the dialogue - Ek gaon me ek kisan raghu Thatha... Lololol

Bikramjit said...

I like everything but as you say :) cant live without all that Oil and the TADKA he he he the punjabi cuisines have ...
no wonder my chalestrol is sky rocketed but then .. we only live ONCE so what the hell :)

Bikram's

Rachna Chhabria said...

Great post.. Nice to meet you.
And I am the opposite. If I don't get my daily fix of chappatis and vegetables, I drive people up the wall.

Though I love Masala Dosas and curd rice is my absolute favourite, I am more a paratha/chappati person. Not ghee dripping ones, but plain ones.

Bhargavi said...

Asha.. I luurve long comments ...keep them coming ! Raghu thatha is a classic !

WIAN... no sweat..everything is said and taken in good humour :-) I don't remember the movie too , but the scene is etched in my memory ! :-)

Bikram.. lol..I guess ,your metabolism would have evolved to suit the diet too..

Rachna..Thanks and welcome here .. We are all creatures of habit,afterall.

Vibha said...

A very interesting post. Loved it :)

A said...

What is the reaction of Tamils?

HAHA :)))

Bhargavi said...

Vibha..Thanks

A.. to what ?

thotprocess said...

I hear you, sistah! oh sorry.. I hear you, yekka! :-P

I've never actually been a Chennaiite, but it's where my parents live now so it's become more dearer. And Hyderabad is still the northern most part of India I've lived in :-) and I'd like to keep it that way!

-- Priya A.

Bhargavi said...

Priya.. yomaigawd thangachi, you yave touching my yeart bai kaaling mi Yekka. abba, hydirabadu -loveru ! I yam not living in that city long time,ya.But I yam liking youvar bottles and chimneys pub-u and shaapings in chaarminar yerea a laaat. Voh, Hussain Saagar laike also vary naice.

Jane Doe said...

That was a good filter coffee for ma soul in the morn. Have been in Chennai and Madurai. I am in love with Chennai. Am so addicted to Murugan Idli shop that am desperately seeking its outlet in Bangalore. I terribly miss Chennai and Tamil cuisine.

Bhargavi said...

Jane Doe.. Dont tell me namma bangalooru doesnt have tamil cuisine! High time Murugan idlies opened a branch in koramangala.

Sampige said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sampige said...

From My3

Jane Doe in namma Bengaluru, pliss to check out Brahmins Coffee Bar for big fat fluffy idlis. Nice name, no?
My friend's blog. He is big big eater. Will find many many Bengaluru hotelus in that listu.
http://bangaloreblues.wordpress.com/2006/06/16/brahmins-coffee-bar-single-idly-unlimited-chutney/