Aug 16, 2018

970. Just mom things

Mothers love their children. That is true. Nothing to deny this fact. But moms do crazy stuff that will make you cringe.

If putting you in your place is an art, my mom is a Picasso in it.  If you are reading this, you might be able to relate with this post.

1. My mom always bought me clothes with a futuristic thought. When I was eight years old, she would buy me clothes that I was supposed to wear when I turned ten. Her common logic would be " You will grow soon and the shirt will become small in no time". If I still argue with her, she would quickly throw the googly " The clothes will shrink after the first two wash. Hence we should buy bigger size clothes". 

2) To avoid this trouble with ready made clothes, I started prefering custom made shirts from a tailor near my house. My mom would accompany me to the tailor shop. When he takes measurement, she would say " Keep an extra inch. He will put on weight".

My mom's dream of me putting on weight and growing up in stature, never came true. I still look like a college kid.
3) When she feels that the weather is cold, she would make me wear the sweater. I hated the month of December. I would be wearing a sweater all the time.

4) She had a knack of counselling others and empathising with them. When her friends come to her asking for parenting advice, she gives them the best advice.

Rani aunty (Name changed): My 7 year old son still wets the bed. What should I do?
My mom: Don't worry. Give him less water to drink before he sleeps. My son Prason used to wet the bed even when he was in class 6
5) When I was in college, I used to take my friends to my house. On one ocassion, my mom was showing them my childhood album

Reena: Aunty who is this boy in his underwear?
My mom: That is Prason! At least in this picture, he is wearing an underwear. He would always run around the house like Archimedes when he was a kid. 

A picture with my mom taken when I was 23 years old.

Some of the common words that she used to utter when I was a kid are flashing across my mind now

  • Prason! How many times have I told you not to enter the house with your mud feet after playing in the ground. Go wash your legs
  • PRASON! It is 7 am! Get out of your bed! NOW
  • Prason! Go flush the toilet
  • Prason! Did you eat the IDLIS. or did you flush them down the toilet?
  • Prason! Did you pee on the bathroom floor? You should pee only in the toilet and not in the shower.
  • Prason! Did you eat the Dairy Milk bar from the fridge? 
  • Prason! Did you put a wet spoon inside the Boost bottle?
I can go on and on with this. But I am stopping it right here. What are the darndest things, your mom has said?


Aug 9, 2018

969. Not all Brahmins?

The last two days made me realise the Dravidian inside me. When I was scrolling across my news feed, I could see many people praising #Kalaignar. But among them were a few people who were spewing venom. Some of these venoms even included false information.

I agree when we do not like a person, we will look at their negatives with hatred; but to spread false information is plain cheap. I could zero down and understand that those were spewing venom belonged to two categories

1) Naam Tamizhar friends of mine.

I have many friends who are followers of Seeman. In fact, I love certain schemes and thoughts of Seeman. But the manner in which those friends spread false information made me lose my respect for them. I can only feel sorry for them.Will dedicate a separate post for them later

2) Brahmin friends of mine.

Except for one Brahmin friend of mine (my bestie), the rest showed their true colours in the last two days. One friend who gets angry with the #notallmen foolishness, went on to create a hashtag #notallbrahmins

This post is for this second group of people. I don’t think I need to address the first group of people; but I need to convey this to the privileged class

It was the year 1990.

I was 8 years old. I studied in Morton English Primary School. I was in class 3. I had a class mate. Her name was Lakshmi Priya. She always got the first rank in class tests. Whenever I could not attend classes, I would go to her house to get her class notes. 

Whenever I reached their house, I would be asked to remove my sandals outside the compound wall (not outside the house). Then I would be asked to come to the backyard. I will be made to stand near the grinding stone which was at the backdoor. 

Her mother would keep the note book on the thinnai. I will be allowed to keep my notebook on the thinnai and copy from her classnotes. I thought that they were a disciplined family and hence followed this. 

When I am done with copying from her classwork, her granny would come with a mug of water and pour it on the thinnai and wash it with a broomstick. I did not know why she was doing this. One day when I told my mother about this discipline in Lakshmipriya’s house, my mom with tearful eyes told me “From now on, you need not go to her house”.

I did not understand the reason for many years

Cut to the year 1999.

Till then I did not know such a thing called as caste. At home, they never explained to me about the caste system. Even while learning about the caste system in school text books, I studied it only as a subject and I never related it with me or my classmates. 

His name was Santhosh. He used to come to school with a big Tirusul mark on his forehead. I did not know that it was his caste symbol. I was short and hence was made to sit in the front bench. He was tall; but still chose to sit in the front bench. 

It was a practice for school teachers to ask questions to students. I was not the extremely studious guy. I would score in the 80s. Whenever I answered a question correctly, he would either slap me or pinch me and say “Dai parapayaley! Nee ellam padichu enna panna pora” (Hey “caste-name-boy! What are you gonna do by studying?”). I did not even know that the word “parapayan” referred to a caste. 

But I considered it as a cuss word because he would use it in an angry tone. When I shared it with my uncle, he told me that parayar  was actually a caste name and brahmins considered them too low. My uncle also told me that I did not belong to that caste. 

As a Christian, I don’t have a caste, but because our roots came from the caste system, even Christians would ask me which family I belonged to. After a point of time, I started replying to Santhosh by saying “Yes, I am a parapayan! So, what?” 

One of my workplaces

There was this colleague of mine who wrote a mail to the HR stating that I was bringing beef to the cafeteria and it was causing disharmony among employees in the organisation. How I handled that issue is another story.

My bestie

Yes! he is a brahmin. We have different spiritual beliefs. We have different political beliefs. But we eat beef together and we talk about politics and religion freely. I have never seen him degrading people based on caste!  For me he is a shudra; he is a kshatriya, he is a vaishnavite and above all, a human being.

These are just three incidents I have mentioned that has happened in my life. And I love Kalaignar for putting all the caste fanatic Brahmins in their place. 

Next time I see someone saying “Don’t generalise all those who hate Kalaignar based on caste!”, I would just smile and say “Okay my dear Dalit friend! I hear you. But nee konjam moodikittu iru”

- A fellow Dalit (Chronicwriter)