Self deprecating humour

An e-mail forward post I received two years back. (I am an Iyengar and sure the writer is also one). 🙂

To help those who want to reply to Madrasan’s letter to the Punjabi boy

Iyengar Boy – “Mom, I’ve decided to get married.”

The Seshadhris were only too ecstatic to here these words pop out of their elder son’s mouth, yet afraid at the the same time. After all, their son did study in the United States for 3 years. And from what they heard from their neighbours, the States “do things” to perfectly normal sons. What if he wanted to marry a white girl? The blasphemy! How would they ever
explain to their relatives?

“Indian no?”, Mrs. Seshadhri asked, nervously.


“Oh thank god! Chamathu da nee. We’ll see the girl tomorrow! And I’ll have to call all our relatives to inform them. Ha! First I’ll call your aththai. Her son went to the states and ended up with one of those…punjabi a? Ya, punjabi-o ennavo. But my son? Chamatha Iyengar ponnu paathutaan.”


“What? I know I’m getting excited but its not everyday your son gets married! First ponnu paakanum. Give me her address.”

“I can’t give the girl’s address.”

“Why not? ” interrupted Mr.Seshadhri. “Is it because they don’t know Its okay, we’ll convince them”

“No, its because there is no girl”

“Ennada solrey?” chorused the parents.

“I am in love with an Iyengar, yes. But its not a girl. Its a boy”


“Is this some kind of TV show? Is some shanniyan going to come with a camera and say all this is some joke? I know! Vijay TV-la Simbhu is doing something like this. He’s going to come now, isn’t he?”

“No mom, nobody’s behind your almirah. This is real. I want to get married to him and him only”

“This is not normal, you know that?”

“Appa, who’re you to say that it’s not normal? How do you know that it isn’t normal? I want to get married to him and that’s the end of it” and he stormed out of the room.

The Seshadhris were appalled, and did what any other parents would do when presented with such a private confession. They called the entire family over to discuss it.
Mamas, Mamis, Thathas, Paatis, Chithappas, Chiththis, Aththais, Athimbers, Perippas, Perimmas and a motley crew of cousins promptly assembled to exchange their views over filter coffee and masala vadais.

“Enna kodumai Seshadri idhu”

“This is not the time to joke, its a very serious issue pa. Namma community-la this is just not done”

“Are you sure about this? I mean was he joking?”

“Will anybody joke about things like this? Avan serious-a dhaan irukaan.

He’s gay.”

“Amma Amma, what’s a gay?” interrupted 6 year old Achu, loudly.


“Sshhh, Achu. Go play outside with Kichu.” said his visibly embarrassed mother.

Achu promptly ran outside hollering KICHU! GAY-NA BAD WORD DA!


“Yea. I’m hoping he gets a girlfriend soon.”

“Shree, he’s 6”

“The earlier the better. And I’m so not sending him to the US”

“Not everyone turns out like that. My son married a perfectly nice girl. Enna, she’s punjabi. But very nice girl.”

“You know she has a beard, right?”

“Oh please! At least she’s a girl.”

“Enough enough. This is not about her daughter-in-law’s beard. Idhu konjam serious-aana matter.”

“Yes yes. There are so many fundamental complicationsLike if this marriage does go on, who gets to be the Maapla veedu?”

“Chechu make it clear to them that we will be the groom’s house. We will demand our rights”

“Hey, who gets to tie the thaali?”

“Will there even be a thaali?”

“Maybe they’ll tie a golden poonal around him”

“One more doubt. The girl usually sits on her father lap when they tie the thaali. Does this mean that the son sits on his mothers lap? How does that work exactly?”

“Yea! And then usually the girl wears that special koora-podavai before she ties the knot. Do we have to get this guy a koora-veshti?”

“Atleast you’ll save on all those silk sarees.”

“And that Mehndi thing. Unless your son wants it, of course”

“Hahahaha! Thats so g…nothing”

An uncomfortable silence followed, but was swiftly interrupted by the Periappa.

“Come to think of it, that golden poonal will weigh a lot”

“Does your future…err son-in-law cook?”

“Aiyo! Don’t call him son-in-law! I don’t even want this to happen!”

“Maybe you should do that. Vidaatha. Then he’ll come around”

“No way, then he’d elope. Odi poyiduvaan!”

“Thats not good for the family name.”

“Thu! As if marrying a boy is very honourable.”

“And besides, eloping-na, usually the girl runs away, gets a baby and then only gets accepted back in the household. This is how it is in all tamil padams”

“Ok, but how the heck are these guys going to get a baby?”

“My point exactly, so they won’t elope”

“Which is worse. What if they get together like those villains in Vettaiyaadu Villaiyaadu?”

“Aiyo! That’s a movie about homosexual psychopaths! You’re son is too sensitive for that. He cried in the climax of Kabhi Khushi Kahi Gham, for heaven’s sake!”

“Appove we should have noticed…”

“You think there’s some kind of homeopathy treatment for this? Or Ayurveda? Some kashayam or something?”

“No no, its a state of mind. No kashayam can cure it”

“Or should we send him to a psychiatrist?”

“Illa. Those psyciatrists are Peter parties. They’ll end up brainwashing us about how we are educated and must accept him the way he is”

“Adhaan pannanum” said Mr.Seshadhri, finally.

The entire household went mute.

“You mean…we have to get him married? To that…that boy?”


“Only then, he’ll be happy.”

“Aiyo sentiment thaangamudila”

“My decision is final. I’ll go call him and find that other boy’s number. I have plenty to talk to his parents.”

The household watched him go with a rather stern resolve in absolute silence. The only sound was the jowku-jowku of Paati eating Vadai.

“Enna paati? What do you think?” said one of the cousins, finally breaking yet another uncomfortable silence.

“Ennadhaan payyana love pannaalum, atleast Iyengar payyana paathu love pannane, adhuve porum”


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