Gruhastha – In Tam Brahm parlance

It had been 6 odd years since Santhanakrishnan Venkataraman Iyer (let’s just call him S, for short) had been qualified as “well employed with MNC at Bangalore” (to use the exact words that Appa used in the Sunday Hindu Matrimonial Ad). In other words, S had completed his engineering graduation (any other degree would be a sacrilege, MBBS was acceptable though) and was employed with every Tam Brahm dad’s dream company Infosys. To get to the original story it had been 6 years since S had joined Infy. A good part of the last 4 yrs was spent by S “onsite” at Singapore working at a client location earning “rupees in dollars” as his Paati liked to call it.

Of these 4 years, the last 2 years were spent in the company of his “fair, religious, well mannered, graduate, bride wanted” ie, his wife Jayalakshmi Mahalingam Iyer (let’s call her J, for short). Although J was not too happy with the fact that she had to pretty much leave behind all that she knew and cared about which in no particular order consisted of Triplicane (or Thiruvallikeni for the Tamizh afficionados), Kapaleeswarar Koil, Janakam Maami (or Murukku Maami as she was popularly known), West Mambalam, Ranganathan Theruvu (or street), Margazhi Kutcheris (or December Concert season for the not-so-Tamizh Tam Brahms settled in the US) and a whole host of other things which in total made up her life before she was parcelled away with the “Kanyadaanam” and the “Saptapadhi“.

In any case, it had just been around 18 odd months since S had sent SMSes to Appa, Chuppamani Chittappa, Kondai Periappa, Achchu Athimber, Raghavan Anna, and Mylapore Maama (forget his real name, he’s always been Mylapore Maama as far as S could remember) with these very words – “Thanks to Guruvayoorappan. J delivered a baby boy weighing 2 Kgs at 10.07 AM IST. Both mother and child are healthy.” Just to dispel any doubts Guruvayoorappan was a reference to the presiding deity at Guruvayoor (and not any neighbor or previous boyfriends of J). Shiva, shiva, apaachaaram apachaaram for having even thought of something like that.

S and J named their son Venkataraman Srinivasan Iyer (after S’s dad’s name as is tradition of naming the eldest grandchild) and called him Venguttu for short. Venguttu was more than a handful for J as J was far from home and didn’t quite have the matronly experience of Chachu Paati, or Janakam Athai when it came to bringing up children. Plus the fact that she was more than 2 generations apart from these motherly figures (both in terms of age, as well as in terms of motherly skill-sets) didn’t help things either. But J’s travails in bringing up Venguttu are the subject of another post (or maybe another blog as well).

In the middle of all of this S was facing immense pressure from all and sundry about the one thing he didn’t want to think about. As if it wasn’t enough that he was an Engineering Graduate, well employed with Infosys, placed at Singapore, happily married to J, and a proud father of Venguttu, everybody from his extended family wanted him to do what every ‘achaaramana (read traditional) Gruhasthan (read family-man)’ had to do. Everybody wanted him to own a house.

So after lots of research on things such as Vaastu, Shani-dasais (you couldn’t buy a house when you were under the influence of Saturn, could you?), and sundry things, S finally came around to buying a house at Singapore. Despite all his earlier ‘achievements’ S had finally “arrived” as far as his family was concerned. His dad, Venkataraman Sivaramakrishnan Iyer promptly sent out telegrams to all his relatives and all of J’s relatives informing them of S’s Gruhapravesam ceremony being conducted at 7.30 AM IST (10.00 AM Singapore time) on February 8, 2009. Finally, S had become a complete Gruhastha.



3 thoughts on “Gruhastha – In Tam Brahm parlance

  1. sometimes wonder if tambrahms live in a imaginary world for other (read key stakeholders in their lives) and rarely step of out their comfort zone. guess the author of this story wud not have started writing this during Rahu kaalam 🙂 keep S and his clan alive dear… here’s my contri: Anantha-padmanabha-ranga-ramanuja-shatogobha-veeraraghavan who was a close friend of S since their days in school…both spent a significant amt of time in every exam writing their names

  2. Excellent one, dude! With Missus across the English channel (that is geographically wrong, I know), it is good to know that you are getting ideas 😉

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