Jul 25, 2011

The fine art of dealing with TBMs

Rock. Me. Hard place. Can wriggle out it. Cut a hand off if need be.

Devil. Me. Deep Sea. Will sell my soul to the former. Can’t swim, you see.

Talkative Mami 1. Me. Inquisitive Mami 2. Oh brother, now that’s something that I have struggled to learn how to survive. If you haven’t figured it out already, this is an essay on that scary species called the TamBrahm Mami (TBMs). Or more precisely, how to deal with them. With interesting tips, from my wealth of experience.

Yes, dear friends, one can survive local trains in Bombay, the occasional bomb blast, the more frequent office canteen 'Chinese cuisine' and the slightly more frequent India’s batting collapse. But to be caught between two TBMs, is to experience the very worst form of torture.

A little background is in order. As a boring, extremely shy guy, I live happily in my bubble of self-inflicted solitude like a monk, imbibing some spirits in the pursuit of 'happiness'. Experience has taught me that when asked to choose between spending time with me and having their perfectly manicured nails pulled out with pliers, most sensible girls (oxymoron?) opt for the latter. And I am quite happy with this arrangement, as I have never liked perfect nails anyways. I mean, for all this hoo-ha, they are just a bunch of dead cells being pushed out by your body. And after all, how boring an existence you must be leading, sans any excitement or suspense, that you don’t even bite your nails off! But we digress. We were to talk about TBMs.

Anyways, the TBMs in question have this miraculous ability to picture every unmarried guy as an ‘eligible bachelor’ who is in dire need of their matchmaking skills. No matter how utterly useless the guy in question is. Some people say, unkindly, that TBMs are jobless ladies with too much time on their hands and hence keep meddling in other people’s lives. Those people have no idea what they are talking about. TBMs are very busy people. But they also care about the losers of the world. And that is why, in the midst of their busy schedules involving keeping track of family problems in TV serials, watching out to check that the neighbour’s daughter is not playing mummy-daddy in the terrace with her boyfriend, shouting at the maid for not mopping the area below the sofa, rustling up a snack for the kids and incidentally, maintaining a set of perfectly manicured nails, they take time out to network with other TBMs with equally busy schedules. After all, the smart kids can get hitched by themselves, but someone has to uplift the downtrodden.

TBMs are very astute people at coaxing out information. Which is why I believe the Mumbai Police should replace their entire intelligence network with TBMs. They don’t use crude methods like torture to ferret out what they want to know. They will sweetly offer you a nice cup of sakkara pongal, and while you are concentrating on the ghee-laden texture of it, they will casually ask you what sound like innocent questions. Even an experienced campaigner like yours truly, with years of experience in handling these tricky situations, has fallen prey to this tactic.

And hence, as one fellow loser to another, let me warn you: THERE ARE NO INNOCENT QUESTIONS! Be suspicious. Be wary wary suspicious!

And since I am in a generous mood, let me throw you another trip. Remember the time when you casually boosted your CV value by making up stories about your leadership skills and fibbed about your CGPA because you wanted that campus job. Or the time you wanted to impress that nice chick and kept harping about how you are a University gold medallist. You don’t want to do that here. TBMs will anyways take your meagre non-achievements and spin them into heroic conquests to pitch you to whoever they want to hitch you with. With such innovative people, some creative liberties are par for the course.

In fact, if ever there was a time to underplay your already bare cupboard of useless talents, this is it. So, if some TBM asks you what you have studied, don’t show off your top-10 b-school degree (or is it a diploma?). Simply say “B.Com.” I can assure you, in a TamBrahm community of over-achieving IIT-ians, there is no better way of ensuring that you remain a Bachelor. Even if it be of stupid Commerce. Don’t say “B.A.” though. We might be losers, but even we can’t stoop to that level!

Similarly, if they ask you your age, don’t preen like a Bollywood actress, and state a number which is about half your real age. You are not a college student. Or Aamir Khan. If anything, add a few years to your chronological age. That’s how old you look anyways. I have it first hand that any number north of thirty is actually quite safe. Of course, having a bald(ing) pate and / or a protruding tummy helps.

Some TBMs may venture further and even ask you your nakshatram (birth-star for the non-Tams, don’t even ask what that means!). Or even your gothram (gotra for the non-Tams. We like our words to end in –ums). These are the sly Shakuntala Devis, the ones who can draw up your horoscope, run it across their database, and shortlist the ones which match, before you can say “Ashvini, Kashyapa Gothram”! And all that, in their mind! Because these Chachi Chaudharys have a brain faster than a super-computer. But usually, this question’s a no-brainer, because, you are not even supposed to remember all that stuff! (What? You do? What are doing here then, go recite your evening sandhyavandhanam!) While they happily exhaust their quota of “1000 lies to arrange a marriage”, you at least have the satisfaction of answering at least one question honestly.

Some of the more adventurous of you may even opt to be a bit more truthful, and drop a few hints about how you relished that mutton biryani at your friend Fatima’s place. Eating chicken can be forgiven, but having friends belonging to that-which-shall-not-be-named religion! Your marriage prospects would be slaughtered faster than that halal goat. Of course, this is only advised for those who have either decided not to get married at all, or have a girlfriend lined up. Those looking to merely delay the inevitable may skip this lesson, since once word gets around on the TBM network about your 'untouchable' status, not even another TBM can get you hitched. And that’s saying a lot!


  1. Anonymous2:05 PM

    "sensible girls (oxymoron?)"
    to say the least-i am fuming.
    nail painting is an art btw.
    sexist pig.

  2. Anonymous2:16 PM

    if you have commitment issues why blame the poor mammies for it?
    they also act as custodians of morality by channelizing the base instincts of the 'darker sex'.

  3. Anonymous2:17 PM


  4. Anonymous4:11 PM

    agree,to some extent they help shy tam-bram men of marriageable age.

    but you are over-imagining things.
    everybody has the right to live his/her life the way s/he wants.just dont be extra sensitive towards these mamies.with marriage as your anathema it could be that youre extra scared/wary of them.

    one more thing-after the prospect has reached a certain age(and looks a portly uncle),they retreat never to haunt you again.

    so cheer up.the trouble is not as big as youre making it out to be.

  5. Anonymous2:00 AM

    Anony, Please don't use mammies.

  6. @ Anon 1:
    You fume over a harmless joke. And call me names. Without even revealing who you are. If only all the girls were as sensible as you :)

    @ Anon 2:
    I don't have commitment issues. Guys who flit from one girlfriend to another have commitment issues. I am perfectly willing to commit to someone sensible :)

    @ Anon 3:
    Define baser instincts.

    @ Anon 4:
    Everybody has the right to live his / her life the way s/he wants. Precisely my point. If only the TBMs could get it.

    And what is the certain age and how portly should I look, before they retreat? Can't wait to get there, you see.

    @ Anon 5:
    LOL. They sound like something else.

  7. Anonymous12:12 AM

    hahaha...it's the same everywhere.
    we have 'aunties' in north

  8. Anonymous12:15 AM

    don't they pester for a baby soon after marriage?
    in north they do.

  9. Anonymous3:51 AM

    take my advice:remain unmarried.
    enjoy life.

  10. Anonymous4:39 AM

    er...so saying that you're a Bachelor of Arts automatically implies inferiority?? :O
    Kind of a sad attempt at humour...in case that was what you intended.
    With that attitude, I sincerely hope that the TBM's fail in their attempts to get you hitched to anyone

  11. @ Anon 6 and 7:
    yeah, you can run to a different state, but you can't escape

    and do they pester you for babies? I guess they do, but I wouldn't know since I haven't reached that stage yet. They are still trying to convince me to get married.

    @ Anon 8:
    Er, can you give that advice to the TBMs?

    @ Anon 9:
    Am I saying that a BA automatically implies inferiority? Yes.
    Was that a joke? Yes.
    Was it a sad attempt at humour? Yes. All my jokes are sad attempts at humour.
    Will this attitude ensure that the TBMs can't get me hitched? Probably not, but no harm trying so... "BA people suck!" :)

  12. Anonymous7:17 PM

    you know,
    your posts speak a lot about you as a person.You take yourself to be some high intellectual who entertains rigid notions about every single thing.the last post went on to laugh at people who inquired about others' safety!
    wait till some severe crisis in life throws you off balance,washes your prejudices and smoothens your rough edges.
    but then this is YOUR blog,even if you be a warp-ass

  13. @ Anon 10:
    Wow, finally I have got my own anon troll. It has taken 5 years plus, and 246 stupid posts, but finally I have someone who is bothered enough by what I write to actually call me a warp-ass. Thank you! :)

    Now, coming to your comment itself:
    "you know,"
    I do.

    "your posts speak a lot about you as a person."
    They are meant to. I can't write about someone else, you know.

    "You take yourself to be some high intellectual"
    Er, no. If you notice, I goof around a lot.

    "who entertains rigid notions about every single thing. the last post went on to laugh at people who inquired about others' safety!"
    You think that some things are not to be made fun of. That' being rigid. I go on to laugh at everything. That's not being rigid.

    "wait till some severe crisis in life throws you off balance,washes your prejudices and smoothens your rough edges."
    Waiting... thanks for your kind wishes.

    "but then this is YOUR blog,even if you be a warp-ass"
    Yes. Finally, you get it :)

  14. Anonymous6:14 AM


  15. Congrats machan. I see that you have collected TBLG (Tam Bram loving groupies) on your blog. Welcome. I wonder how long it is before they start quoting the innate wisdom and the concern with which they do things for us and then show oodles of pity at poor us.