The tambrahm guide to finding a spouse

Unlike in the western countries in India we believe in the concept of an arranged marriage. This means that your parents will go around looking for someone they think is a suitable life partner for you. This is the concept pretty much throughout India, but there are some things very different that go on in a tambrahm house…

after a lot of difficulty and research i have finally managed to find the secret algorithm that is used to find the perfect life partner.I have decided that it is now time to share this secret with the world so that everyone may benefit. ( I shall reveal the algo for finding a girl in my next post, this one shall concentrate on finding that perfect guy).

So tambrahm parents of today here you go!


  1. Call your daughter to give the talk about how getting married is important bla bla
  2. convince her its time she get married
  3. if daughter agrees
    go to step 4
    you now have to do two things at once,one starts at step 1 and the other is continuing with step 4
  4. Call every one you know on the pretext of saying hello… its been ages “romba naal aachu… chumma thaan” this has to be realistic… And after an hour long tele con
    “mama / mami ongluku ethaa nalla varan therinchithu naa konjam sollungo, namba _____ ku paakalaan thaan”
    (if you happen to get the details of a good boy please let me know, looking for a guy for our __daughters-name-here__
  5. That step 4 is very important it calls of an external command which sends a chain of people calling each other… The thing is everyone wants to have to say at the marriage, did u know i am the person who put these people in touch.
  6. If you are slightly modern, and want to use this to your advantage now might be a good time to put up a profile on all the million matrimony sites out there.
  7. To pass time ensure that you look through every guy on these sites and find something wrong, this could range from height, gothram,vedam, star, moonji serila, avan US-la irukkan, epdi photo eduthirkaan paaru, and the most common “ivla thaan padichirkaan,”
  8. Meanwhile the step you took at no 4 will bring some varan from some mama/mami you have never heard of in your life.
    “pattu maami oda athay payan oda payan” “ambi chithappa oda veetla kudirkaravar oda payan”
  9. whatever the relation , your reaction should show awe as if you know them, “oh avaraa” … never the more sane I’m not sure I know him
  10. now call up to get the info.
  11. Here are some things you ought to ask for while getting the info
    • gothram
    • jaathagam (enowadays exchanged by email… naangalaam modern… we dont believe in age old methods)
    • if iyengar (thenkalai vadakalai)
    • what the boy is doing
    • star
    • where he works (you might not have ever heard of the company but make sure you pose as if you know it)
    • post
    • samblam (salary… if u dont feel shy asking)
  12. tell them you’ll get back if the jaathagam matches.
    here are some straight of rules to eliminate 99 of the 100 ppl you get in touch with ,

    • the gothrams cant be the same,
    •  the jaathagams have to match,
    • the stars should be ok together,
    • the thenkalai/vadakalai should be the same…
    • there are about another 23 more things but we should start giving up all these superstitious things… so ill cut out the rest
  13. now of the 1 in the 100 which matched you approach your daughter… kanna what do you think of this boy (you should have re convinced your daughter by this point again)
    in 99% of the cases

    • she asks you enna maa/paa paakara, ivan verum masters thaan panirkaan MBA kooda illa (hes only done a masters no MBA?) or some reason she doesnt like the boy,
    • hes not tall enough
    • he doesnt look good
    • hes not fun enough
    • hes ____ endless list
    • goto step 14

    and that 1% if she says ok

    • goto step 15
  14. go back to step 1…. try try try till you succeed
  15. YOU won!!! appaadi… now the various steps to fix the marriage and move on …(will describe this later)

NOTE: This is correct to the best of my knowledge. further improvisations shall be added as i figure out more secrets of the trade

  • If you want to get your daughter married when shes 28, start step one when shes around 24. You will reach success only around the 15th iteration… Everyone knows the early bird gets the worm
  • After years of watching my mom talking on the phone getting a million varans and passing them on to eager parents, this is as much as I have gleaned.

please share your knowledge using comments

Update : (with the knowledgeable advice of Siddharth Krishnan )

  • The more modern families are ok with an iyeR or an iyengar … you see we HAVE to progress… intha maari chinna chinnathalaan paaka koodaathu
  • the tamil translation of the “chekka chavelnu irukkan ” would be “he has Wheatish Complexion”

Rules to drive in Chennai!!

Driving in Chennai(or anywhere in India), as everybody knows is not the same as driving anywhere else in the world… There are certain things any person driving in here ought to know… So to help out newbie drivers in Chennai I am going to write a set of rules and prerequisites to drive here…


  • A license may not be necessary if you have enough cash to bribe the police guy( popularly called as “Mama” by the youth)
  • A limited knowledge of Tamil… YES i mean the SWEAR words… trust me you feel much better cursing in language the other person understands
  • A sound device which starts playing the ‘airtel song’,’vaseegara’ or ‘every night from titanic’ when u shift to the reverse gear!!! (Strictly no other songs entertained)
  • and of course patience!!!

Ok the requirements are probably very easy to fulfill, lets now get down to the rules. Not too hard either, its  just a question of knowing what to do when!


-> Unlike other countries, it is much better to ensure the driver doesnt wear a seat belt so that it is easier for him to turn and scream at anybody(we’ll get to that later)

->One hand constantly on the horn. Be sure to honk every 90 seconds or so. Whether you’re at a signal or not,  or rather wherever you are just honk at fixed regular intervals. Make sure u honk whenever some one does something stupid as well!!!

This is where your patience and honking skills come to use!

This is where your patience and honking skills come to use!

-> If you think you can play a song while honking, go ahead you might as well entertain the pedestrians

-> Whenever you are at a signal be ready to give a big smile to the random people in other cars who stare at you. Chennai is a very friendly place, you smile at every random stranger you see

-> Just as you turn to the left or right at the signal some asinine d#!@ @$$ will cut across. Take a quick look to see if its some huge burly guy(it will most probably be the same stranger you smiled at while waiting at the signal), if its not, now’s the time your Tamil comes to use, lower the window and curse away ‘$#!T @$%@!$#  !#@$%*#@#!  #$@%’ … REMEMBER : use Tamil, you want the other guy to know what you are saying!

-> When the person who cut across at the signal is a huge looking wrestler kind of guy, it might be wise to keep your windows shut and scream in english all the same!!! Let it out, trust me it keeps the pressure from building.

-> If you happen to see a ‘jaalmudi thalu vandi’ on the road, stop your car and get a packet or two, don’t worry about the cars behind, they’re now going to play music for the pedestrians. Make sure you fumble for a bit while looking for that money.

-> Parking is a whole art in its own here. Its way beyond the scope of this post but I’d be happy to teach anyone who approaches me. But a quick pointer, you can park your car just about anywhere u think it’ll fit. Just make sure that once you park, the people beside you have an arduous task of getting their car out.

Thats something not many people can do!

-> Please don’t stare at the guy with 4 people on the bike. Its rude!!! He has taken pains to arrange his entire family on a vehicle that barely supports 2 people. Furthermore he has even managed to drive it that way! He would be a way better stunt driver than those teams in the “foreign circuses”.

-> Dealing with “mama’s” is yet another art. Obviously ladies have the upper hand on this one. Start of by denying knowledge of what you did wrong (wrong direction in a one way, parking in the wrong place). Something on the lines of  “appdiya sir, theriyavae illa, anga boardey illa sir, sorry sir, therippi pannamaaten” (is, that so sir, I had no clue,I’m sorry, I wont repeat it) and repeat the “sorry sir, therippi pannamaaten” bit for quite some time. Of course the ladies could just feign a few tears and sort the issue out much easier. EASIEST method of them all, IF you have the moolah, bribe him. Not directly but more on the lines of, “sir late aaidchu, onglukittu fina Kattitu pota?” (I am late, may I pay the “fine” to you and leave?)

-> When u find that you can’t take a U-Turn at a particular place and that it will save you a LOT of time. Follow the following algorithm


->look on all sides for a mama

-> if (mama==not found)
make the U turn. don’t bother about the cursing from other drivers… “It’s all in the game”

-> else
Check purse for cash and willingness to pay, if ready make the turn bribe the mama and be on your way

Else go the long route!

-> Lastly while you do all this, remember to keep honking at regular intervals. We wouldn’t want to reduce the noise pollution now would we?

You now know the basics of driving in Chennai. Keep watching this blog for more tips and tricks and how to go about getting there quicker!

If anyone else has any rules please post them as comments. Lets help each other out!

Vallavan- a rant

NOTE: This blog-post contains spoilers. It is about Vallavan and will put you off watching the film. If you continue reading, you will be convinced of how important this is.

This is more a blog-post to get something off my chest than to inform (considering the topic’s probably slightly old). So, in essence, a rant. Sorry about that, but this is too useful a platform to not use. 😀

Basically, the problem started when we decided to watch this film called ‘Vallavan”. As a family, we aren’t huge Simbu fans, for quite obvious reasons really, summed up by this quote from somewhere ( 😉 ) “The man is so twisted backwards that he could actually jump up his own arse and die.” Well, so, really, that was clue number 1 that we shouldn’t watch the film.

And number 2 was as easy to spot: the movie was given away free with another one. Now, call me stupid but I’m guessing people don’t do that if the film is selling like hot potatoes (or pizzas, to make the idiom current).

And number 3 was easy too, if you think about it. The song ‘Loosu penne’ was a huge give-away. Any song with the poetic lines ‘bedroom-fan-um keezhe vandu enne ezhupputhe’ is a glaring clue.

So, failure to heed these prophetic hints lead us down the path of doom (in simple terms, we watched the (god-cursed) film).

And what a film it was. Before I start enumerating its faults, I shall say this for the movie: it was useful watching it in the sense that all movies in the future will be judged by its standard of poorness. It has redefined ‘bad’. And ‘torture’ too, come to think of it.

So, now for the faults (visualize me rubbing my hands in anticipation at this point: this is my only way of revenging myself on the film).

  1. It was illogical, by any standards. Not just a few logical flaws that you’d grant any film really, but the inconsistency was so prevalent that there came a point where there wasn’t anything left to be consistent with! ‘Weirdly disconnected events’, as my brother would say. Apparently, the hero is initially a doormat made of pure gold (a good thing somehow). And the heroine/villainess is mental. Such a solid foundation for a movie, wouldn’t you say? And the villainess is a talented hit woman plus mimicry artist. At this stage, you can’t decide if you want to wipe away the tears of blood first, or indulge yourself in some mocking slow-clapping.
  2. It had Simbu in it. Says enough really. In future, we have decided to stop watching any films involving anyone related closely/distantly to the TR family. Not a risk worth taking. Too many bad memories could actually push one over the edge.
  3. Reema Sen is supposed to be 16 for almost half the movie. This was so easy to swallow, like the rest of the movie. Not.
  4. It had Simbu in it.
  5. The climax involves Simbu somehow knowing (telepathy?) that Reema is going to be released from the mental institution and he is there to ‘receive’ her. And apparently, their ‘quarrel’ continues. Though, please God, please, if this is the only wish you can ever grant me, make sure it is off-screen.
  6. It had Simbu in it.
  7. Reema Sen is desperate to enslave Simbu. For starters, it begs the question ‘why?’. Still even if we ignore this fallacy and look beyond that, it is still pretty unlikely that he is going to make up with someone who makes him clear up vomit. Logically speaking (yea, logic did in fact survive this movie and is still alive, though in intensive care), she would pick a different victim, not someone who knew she was mental.
  8. It had Simbu in it.
  9. Don’t get me started on Nayantara and her changing her mind every half an hour, depending on the shape of the teeth of the person speaking to her.
  10. It had Simbu in it.

And the list, would you believe it (I think you would), goes on. Though as most psychiatrists would advise, it is probably not best to dwell on past horrible experiences. Forget and heal.

I have to acknowledge, however, that I feel the need to say, as Reema Sen (repeatedly) says, ‘Onna vidamaatten’. Too much water under the bridge and all that. Maybe we should get Simbu to direct a film involving me, driven mad from watching Vallavan, getting revenge on him, pure-hearted special gift to Planet Earth from God. I hasten to add, that was just a joke. Please, under no circumstances, take me literally. Logic and I will die from such an experiment.


How is it that everything in the world is appealing and fun when you’re revising and once you’re done, so is the fun? I mean, I’ve been home for 4 days and I’ve literally done most of the things on my ‘fun stuff to do when the torture ends’ list..and I thought I was good at keeping myself entertained! It makes you wonder: is work part of the recipe for fun? No high without the lows?

There’s about a million genres of can you be bored with every single one of them? Don’t want to go out, don’t want to doze in the sun, don’t want to watch tv, don’t want to learn anything, don’t want to watch a film, will hog books from the local library but will not read them..ennui is back in town, and it got here with a bang!

Here’s a list of the symptoms  (i’m being true to the medical student-type): boredom, feeling fat (like you’ve had a meal weighing half your body mass which, if you knew me, you’d think was quite possible), feeling frustrated (when you actually feel something other than boredom, that is), wanting to reach out and just pick up that remote but not being quite able to as you lay collapsed on the couch in a comatose state (this is the final stage and requires medical intervention- failure of immediate intervention can lead to loss of will to live)

Medical scientists all over the world are deeply interested in ennui and its complications. Some believe that research into ennui could help answer some fundamental questions about human nature (there are so many bored humans in this world). In an effort to better understand this phenomenon, researchers entrapped a human in the near-fatal comatose state (he couldn’t really defend himself, so it was remarkably easy to achieve this). They proceeded to conduct experiments on him. This involved holding his eye open and trying to poke him in the eye in order to ‘elicit a response’ (in their defence, they were bored themselves). This remarkable ground-breaking experiment established what researchers had suspected for years: the human being relies on intellectual stimulation as much as on water to live.

So, I’m off to try and find some stimulation. I shall first warn my family to call the ambulance if they find me collapsed on the couch for too long, unless they find me asleep, that is.

A thought for food..

Cooking seems fascinating to me. The aromas rising from the pans and pots, the sautéing of the ingredients, the cool thing that mothers do that transforms absolutely nothing to mouth watering dishes in a millisecond, all have this happy, romantic aura around it. Yes, that aura as many of you may point out, could just be the smoke and steam in the kitchen, but it has me hooked.
As a child, I used to (and still do) love watching my mother cook, perched on top of the counter, and would beg her to let me do something but since my mother considered cooking too dangerous for a three year old, I was generally satiated with a boiled potato or a cup of curd and lots and lots of utensils, with which I would proceed to make a right royal mess out of the kitchen. As I got older, my begging gave way to being allowed to stir the pans but mostly I was delegated the ‘safe’ parts of cooking – also read ‘boring’. Now, before I give you a wonderful image of me, being the recently turned adult that I am, cooking away in the kitchen, I should tell you I have hardly made more than a couple of dishes. But those couple of dishes I made with such enthusiasm and eagerness, that I made my mother proud (I brag). My piece de résistance is an amazing tasting “avial” made with my mothers instruction, but I do make a mean pasta and have been declared a sandwich expert by my cousin, but before I get ahead of myself, I should also mention that my attempt at making idlis resulted in a congealed mess at the bottom of the steam cooker.
After a couple of hours of pouring over cookbooks and gathering the correct ingredients, my mother and I put together a very indianised version of a lasagna, and when you look around and see that no one has died of poisoning and after your first mouthful you realize that, wait, it actually does taste good, it gives you such a nice sense of accomplishment and contentment. Food really is beautiful.
Surprise surprise, I love cooking shows. I’m not sure whether I like cooking because of cooking shows or I like cooking shows because I like cooking ( another chicken or egg first conundrum), but I have watched hours of them ranging from fillet Mignon to chicken korma and cobb salad . My family doesn’t get this because we’re vegetarians and they don’t understand the point of me watching how to cook the perfect veal, because well, I’m never going to make it. But that’s not the point at all. The point is the beauty, the indescribable elegance of movements in the kitchen which I one day hope to achieve at least in Bharatanatyam, and how utterly delectable it looks when they place it oh-so-perfectly on the plates, garnished with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. As the ‘coriander in charge’ at home, before every meal I love chopping it into pretty little bits and sprinkling them over the rasam or even plain old curd rice for that matter (for which my brother hates me). Yes, it may be a little over the top when the chefs start talking about the humour and the emotions in a particular dish, but before you say anything, ooo look how pretty it is! Forgive me for being blasphemous but a melting chocolate cake or a properly made (and by that I mean Italian made) arabiatta, sometimes seems more beautiful than the Mona Lisa.
Living in a hostel seemed to have quelled my appetite for cooking (hehe), but I recently watched ‘Julie and Julia’, and it all came rushing back. That movie just made sense, and I have spent the better part of an entire day reading blogs about cooking and googling very cool sounding cooking jargon.
I know its very easy to say I love cooking after ‘watching’ people cook, and being treated as the resident ‘gourmet’ at home, but I have a feeling or at least I hope that I’ll still enjoy it when cooking actually becomes a responsibility.
I guess we’ll find out soon, because I’m pretty sure that after reading this, my mother is going to hand over her kitchen duties to me and wish me ‘good luck’. Hmm..

Niranjana Narayanan

The stranger on the roof

I stood there peering through the edge, while wondering how this visit to the empire state building would be any different. The last time I was here was 9 years ago, that was a family trip, this part of a conference. I watched as the people ran from side to side taking pictures of themselves and their loved ones, a proof that they had once been at the top of the tower. Some stood there in awe admiring the beauty of the city from this height, while others bought gifts and curios at the gift shop inside. What people failed to realize though is the fact that anyone could have bought the same items they did at shops anywhere in the city, for half the price.

Empire State Building

Then I noticed him, a frail old man standing at one corner. Dressed in a shirt that was much too big for him and holding an old bag that seemed older than he was, this man wasn’t running around taking photos, or glancing at the city or even buying curios. He just stood there gazing. Then suddenly he looked in my direction. One look into his eyes and I felt something different. Why I do not know but I walked up to this strange old man. “Good Morning!” No reply. I then thought to myself, “Why do I even bother?” and was about to walk away, and just I was doing so I caught his eyes once again. There was something wrong, and so I ventured once again “Is anything wrong?” and again no reply!

Just as I walk away “Its just….nothing.” I turned around, there was something about this old man that filled me with sympathy even though I had hardly seen him. Was it because he could barely walk? Or was it because of that innocent yet deep look in his face? To this day I do not know. “If I can help you, I’d be glad!” at this point the man almost broke down. “I came here with my daughter-in-law, we had a fight and she left, I don’t have any money to get home.” I’m never a sucker for such stories, and yet this time it seemed so different. Someone tapped me on my shoulder “Hey, time to leave man, we have to be back at the pick up point if we want to go with the group on time!” Being on my own I didn’t have much money myself, but after digging around my bag, I handed the man $5, “That’s all I have right now, hope you can make it home with that!”

And with that I left for the place where the bus was supposed to pick us up. I felt within myself great happiness, I may not have solved his problem, but I had done the best I could. There the bus was long; apparently it was caught in traffic. The bus came and the group got on. I found myself a seat by the window! The bus was inching forward in the traffic jam. I glanced out the window and saw the old man walking. I watched to see what he would do. I watched in awe as he walked into the bar!

The tragegy, that is school – An Economics Class

“Remember class.The questionnaire is supposed to be ambiguous,”my teacher said.I stared at the board feeling bored in my economics class.I yawned helplessly for the twentieth time.My teacher noticed that.She’d noticed all my yawns apparentely.She raised an eyebrow which meant,”How can you possibly be so bored?”.I stared down at my desk and my notes which were illegible.She did not bother telling me to sit straight and pay attention.She was used to my lack of enthusiasm.


“Let us revise what we learnt yesterday,”she said suddenly.
I did not know anything.Great!
She questioned the class something which according to me was not english.She said,”Name a demerit of mail survery.”
As if i knew what that even was!One hand went up.It belonged to a girl who i referred to as “smart girl”.She said,’There is less opportunity to provide assisstance in clarrifying instructions,so there is a possibility of misinterpretation of questions.”My teacher beamed at her.I rolled my eyes.I stared at my partner who i commonly referred to as “nodding girl”.Whether she understood what was going on in class or not,she wouldn’t stop nodding.But it is a clever way of gaining the teacher’s partiality.I stared at my watch only to be distressed.We had two classes of economics today.This was the first class going on.And only fifteen minutes out of forty minutes were over.Perfect!
‘Yes,Miss Andal.”
Why did she call my name?
“Haan?,”I replied.
“I was hoping for an answer to my question”
“Sure.”I stood up uneasily.What was the question?
“Let me repeat my question,Miss Andal.What is the method of collecting primary data?”
“Umm…right!Primary data…”
All the student eyes in class were fixed on me.The door was ajar.I was contemplating on whether to run out of the class or not.
My teacher then said,”Do we have to wait all day?”
“No.I’m sorry but i have no idea about what you asked.”
She sighed.”Miss Andal,I think i’d like to give you an advice.Pay attention in class.It might actually help you during exams.”
I was so embarrassed.I sat down slowly.I saw a few girls giggling.Curse them!
Then my teacher said,”I think I gave you homework yesterday.I’ll be checking it after the first bell.Please keep your notebooks open on your desks.”
Great!I forgot my homework.She can’t possibly expect us to do our homework everyday.I never really do my homework.Besides, we are in the eleventh grade.No one checks homework anymore.Noone but her.I don’t think i have any excuses left.I’d already tried “My register fell out of the window” and “My register fell in the drainage” and not to forget”My sister tore my register”.They worked pretty well.brinngg!!!!!!Great!The first bell rang.My teacher walked desk by desk slowly.The pen in her hand looked like a gun.She came towards me and held a finger up to prevent me from giving an excuse.
“What is it this time?A dog ate it up?”
“Actually,it is simple this time.I forgot.”
“A good one finally.Miss Andal,how much does this subject trouble you?”
“More than necessary”
She smiled.”Take your seat.No point in actually telling you anything.”
“I can’t agree more”
She rolled her eyes.Somehow the second period passed uneventfully.The bell rang and i was so happy that i could dance.My teacher got up from her seat and winked at me.She went out of the class.I jumped up and took out my library card.I loved library and Physical Education.They were the next two classes.This is life!I was the first one at the door.I opened the door and saw a scary figure coming towards me.My economics teacher!I ran and sat on my chair.She came with a happy face and said,”Girls, good news!Your library and Physical Education teachers are absent.And i’m free these two periods.So i’ll be taking your class.”
I groaned.Great!This has to be the wrost day of my life.I yawned helplessly for the twenty-first time.She noticed that too.


Andal Srivatsan