Blog post by Anupama Ramanarayan
To the sound of Getti Melams, the marriage culminates. (Was I wrong or did the Mridangam say “Maatikittan, Maatikittan”?)
Six months later, it is Thalai Deepavali time. We tam-brahms have our Deepavali a day before the “civilian” 😀 i.e., Northie Deepavali.
It is the middle of the night. (5 a.m. for me is middle of the night). I am woken up gently by my sweet mamiyaar. “Innaiki Thalai Deepavali aakum. Office pokanum illaya, adhunaala churukka yellam theerkanam”.
By this time my eyes are wide open. I trudge into the bathroom and look at myself, and thank the stylist for the ten thousandth time for suggesting the pixie haircut that I got almost immediately after the nadaswarams had stopped. At least I don’t have bed-hair.
Also, ennai thechu kuli becomes awesome if your hair measures precisely 2 cms from root to tip.
My mamiyar rubs nalla ennai into aforementioned 2 cms hair and I begin to feel myself entering la-la land again. I shake myself up and take a bath. When I come out, my mamiyaar is on a phone call. Looks to be urgent. She whispers (remember, it is 5.30 a.m.) -“Ah ennai ellam thechu aval kulichachu. Innime naan enna pannanum”? She gets advice on the other end, in response to which she runs and gets a packet which says “Nalli”. “Appo saari naan dhaan kayi le vechu kudukkanama? Oho. Seri. Avalluku office pokanam, paathaya”. By now I am salivating at the thought of the undoubtedly pure kanchivaram pedigree in the Nalli packet.
It is then I realise, my dearest Maamiyaar is getting instructions on how to conduct the Thalai Deepavali because I could not go to my parents house for the first diwali after marriage, as is the custom 😀
She comes into the bedroom, rouses hubby and hands me the Nalli packet (which contains – no prizes for guessing – a turquoise blue, paisley jerigai ulladhu kanchivaram podavai) and says, “Idhu kattiko. Appram office poka minala azhicchuko, parava illai” 😀 because she knows my sari handling skills are dubious, at best.
As I come out of the room dressed in the awesome silk, I see piping hot idlis and coffee on the table. Mamiyaar says, “Shastra tthuku oru kambi mathaapu eriya vittuko. Appram breakfast chaapadalaam.” And thus, my thalai deepavali means I get to enjoy soft idlis and degree coffee – at 5.45 in the morning, no less.
Sipping the coffee, I think to myself, “Indha maadri diwali ennaku ennakiyume irundhaal, evalo nalladhu”!!!
And that, is the story of yet another Thalai Deepavali in a TamBrahm Palakkad Iyer home 🙂