The Tamil life is a special kind of life, and all of us have experienced/come across at least one of the following at some point or the other:
1. Eating Rasam and Sambar multiple times a week.
Rasam and Sambar are enjoyable foods, sure. But do I really need to be eating them every day? Just once, I'd like the answer to "What's for lunch?" to not be "Sadam!"
There's only so much rice a person can take...
2. The obsession with long hair, braids and Coconut oil.
Every Tamil mother, grandma and aunty is beyond obsessed with their daughter(s) having hair like this:
This naturally means we're constantly made to wear Parachute hair oil all the time. And the go to hair style is a braid because it makes us look smart and clean. I have nothing against the girls who choose to grow out their hair this long, but if you have decently long hair in a Tamil household and say, "I'm getting a haircut," get ready for a war to ensue...short hair is simply not acceptable in many Tamil families.
3. Sun TV serials.
Growing up, you could count on never getting the TV. Why? Your mother or grandmother was always watching the latest Tamil soap opera on Sun TV. The minute you heard that horrible theme song, for the never ending soap opera that was "Kolangal," you knew the evening was bound to be horrible. Need a refresher?
The worst part was the way women were treated in these shows. They stayed in abusive relationships with men who clearly didn't care for them, were always pictured crying or yelling, and were defined by their ability to be good daughter-in-laws.
"Malargal," "Thendral," "Anandham" (which ironically means happiness), "Kasturi"...you name it and the show would feature extreme melodrama and hilariously overdone soundtracks. The bane of our youth really.
4. Deceptive Ice cream boxes in the fridge.
All of us have opened the fridge to find an ice cream box and thought, "YES! Finally something good in this house!" and open it to find...urga/buttermilk/. Why? This is why I have trust issues.
5. Tamil Insults.
It is universally known that the best part of speaking Tamil is the insults although they never translate well to English.
Every Tamil kid insults their sisters and brothers during a fight, and every Tamil parent calls their child a "shaniyan" (Saturn, which is an unlucky planet) and says the same old lines (recall: "enna pudingina?") when they're angry. It's a fact of life.
6. Waking up to devotional music.
No matter what time of year and what day of the week, expect to wake up to the sound of "Aigiri Nandini" or some other devotional song playing at 6 a.m. as your mother bangs pots and pans in the kitchen to start cooking for the day. Joy.
7. Waking up late and getting yelled at.
Waking up late in a Tamil household does not mean waking up at noon or 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. or whatever else normal people consider late for a weekend. No, late for Tamil people is 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. Wake up at 11 a.m. on a Saturday? You're dead. Guaranteed a yelling about how you're sleeping away your life ("Yen marinj kadake?").
8. Carnatic music classes.
Every Tamil kid is subjected to either Carnatic singing classes where they are forced to learn about "ragas" and "thalams," or they are put into some form of dance (usually Bharatnatyam).
9. STEM careers being put on a godly pedestal.
I'm the only one in my entire family pursuing a liberal arts degree. Let that sink in. Everyone else is on a STEM career path (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math/Medical). Tamilians worship STEM because of its practicality. If you grew up in India, you're certainly aware of the IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) craze.
All I can say is that if you're going to trash those of us who choose to go for the arts, don't come to me next time you need an essay edited.
Despite all of the aforementioned experiences, we love being Tamils. At least we can suffer together!