Arre O Sambar: Pop Matters

Posted on June 30, 2005


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JUNE 30, 2005 – I LOVE MY SISTER, BUT THERE ARE TIMES I don’t want to be around when she calls from the US. Those times are usually before Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, when a typical conversation goes like this.

She: “So what are you getting Amma for Mother’s Day?”
Me: “Uh…”
She: “I’m giving her a fine china dinner set. I’m ordering it over the Internet and having it delivered on the exact day. What do you think?”
Me: “But we already have stainless steel plates. Besides, whoever eats sambar saadham from fine china?”
She: “That’s not the point. The idea is to give her something nice.”
Me: “Why don’t you give her some cash instead, to buy whatever she wants?”
She: “So that’s what you’re doing? ‘Hello ma, Happy Mother’s Day, here’s 500 bucks.’ How cheap!”
Me: “But 500 bucks is hardly cheap.”
She: “But the gesture is.”
Me: “It is? I know that if someone gave me 500 bucks, I would be a hell of a lot happier than I was before getting the money.”
She: “That’s because you’re a pig. Everyone else has better taste.”
Me: “Better taste? You mean, like those fictitious people who eat their sambar saadham from fine china?”

It only gets worse from then on. It becomes the telephonic equivalent of Vijayakanth vs. the evil pannaiyaar’s henchmen, whose striped, naada undies peek out from beneath their bunched-up veshtis. And now, as I write this, I’m half-expecting a call from the US, enquiring about my purchase plans for something far more terrifying than Mother’s Day – Father’s Day. (By the time you read this, though, the day would have passed. Hopefully, you didn’t get your father a fine china dinner set.)

What is it with these siblings in the US? After some time there, why do they forget that we’re Tamilians, and we do not wear our hearts on our sleeves. (Besides, to wear anything on our sleeves, we’d have to wear shirts first, and who’s doing that in the thousand-degree heat of the past few days!) Imagine what would happen if we actually did what those crazy Americans do on Father’s Day! Come June 19, and Chennai would wake up to loud thuds – that would be the sound of poor, unsuspecting fathers all over, fainting in shock upon receiving bear hugs from sons with whom they converse roughly twelve times a year. (March to September: “It’s so hot outside.” October to February: “There’s a nip in the air.” Why do you think God made weather? So that sons could bond with fathers.)

If you ask me, Chennai already has the perfect Father’s Day gift. It’s called a newspaper. Once that’s in our fathers’ hands, they simply have to plonk themselves into an easy chair and spread it out in front of them. Whether they actually read every bit, only they know, but at least it’s one hell of a protective buffer against sons charging at them with outstretched arms.

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Posted in: Humour