The 7 stages of a Tam Brahm Life!

Somebody at work, asked me to write a piece on 'Transformation', and while I was at it trying to put something sensible, the other thoughts that I had to forcibly put in the bin, are strung together as an article and penned below.


Tam Brahm è Tamil Brahmin

Kartik è Hypothetical Tam Brahm Character

When I think of transformation, my seventh sense works overtime to also throw synonyms called Change, Matram(Tamil) or Parivartan(Hindi). During my childhood days, having relied on too much on Wren and Martin, the difference between synonyms never existed. On getting slightly evolved in my journey from school to B school, I vaguely understood that ‘transformation’ was a wow word used along with Jargons to create an aura or awe, while ‘change’ was what dull commoners used. 5 years into corporate life and 26 years into living on earth, I will pass on my judgments on the way I see ‘transformation’. Given that I have 40 minutes and not 40 years to present my research and findings, I will stick to the sample size that I have abided by the last 26 years. Yes, I will deliberate on what ‘transformation’ does on the life of a 20 something Tam Brahm from Madras

Lets take the hypothetical case of one Mr Kartik Santhana Gopala Iyer Kannan, who is born into this world, being taught that life revolves around sambhar and curd rice, and learning which ‘amman’(Goddess) signifies what.

Now, given that Kartik is your average Tam Brahm, lets apply the theory of transformation to his life .The inflection points in the life of a Tam Brahm pretty similar to Shakespeare’s 7 stages of life are

a) His admission in School –LKG to Class 12

· As soon as Kartik is handed over by his parents, to the premises of a school, he no longer needs to recite slokams and alphabets to every passerby who comes. That’s the first transformation. You don’t need to offer unsolicited slokas and nursery rhyme bravado’s to every Tom Dick and Harry. The key take away or transformation is to SHUT UP, with pleasure!

· The second transformation is when the hormonal invasion happens within his body, he starts observing Gayatri in isolation, than the Gayatri Japam he was taught to chant thrice a day.

· He is taught to wake up at the strike of dawn when the sunrise gleams into his face, and hold his hands to a white thread, like bryan adams did to his guitar while humming ‘summer of 69’. Once he observes this parallel between his sacred thread and the guitar, while watching MTV, he takes a secret oath in his bathroom to reach the forbidden fruit of MTV. Thus begins a ‘transformation’ to access all forbidden fruits.

· The 4th transformation is when he gets inspired to do weird things with the upma his mother has left him to have while she is at work. He is obviously ‘transformed’ by coming of age movies like American pie, which he downloaded via a Torrent for a week, on his princely dial up connection!

b) His admission to an engineering college

· All through school, Kartik was taught to believe that vertical growth happens through systematic consumption of Sambhar,Rasam and Curd Rice. But he now ‘transforms’ himself by expanding ‘horizontally’ by getting a beer belly, after exploring the forbidden pleasures of alcohol.

· Alcohol was never on the Good Boy’s list of items. Back in class 9, if Kartik’s mother quizzed him on what connects Sex, Baywatch,Alcohol, MTV,Raavan,Dushasan, Gabbar Singh and last benchers, the answer would come in a jiffy as EVIL. In engineering you get all and more of that and when the forbidden fruit is no longer forbidden, nothing seems as evil.

· Kartik, for the better part of his life used to hang out at Kapaleeshwarar Temple and drink the degree coffee in Jagadamba Mess. But given that he needs to engage his hormones with the opposite sex, he decides to ‘transform’ himself to hang out at CCD, having cappuccino all by himself, in a morbid attempt to show that he has some style and spunk left in him to get some attention from the opposite sex.

· He learns that a ‘Joint’ doesn’t necessarily have to be the J in the JEE (Joint Entrance Examination). His next ‘tranformation’ J

c) His inclination to write GRE/GMAT/TOEFL

· By his third year in engineering college he has realized that the only way to escape the nagging tyranny of his parents and live a bohemian lifestyle is to write the GRE. He ‘transforms’ himself to a studious guy, who puts in hours of research after curd rice dinners to mug all the words in the newly discovered dictionary from Barrons!

· He ‘transforms’ himself to the status of a ‘Peter’ by writing emails like “ I wish to Procastinate the Conundrum , as I am Peregrinating the apostles of Storydom on Celluloid”, which otherwise loosely translates to “ I am bunking the boring class discussion, as I am hanging out in Sathyam Theatre”

· He realizes that the time spent on Shaadi.com and fropper was not worth effort, as educational coaching centers like the TIME’s and the IMS’es would actually do well in ‘connecting people’. This transformation applies strictly to people who show their nerdly and virtual skills off as mating signs to attract females.

d) His Job Offer in the IT company on OMR

· His life transforms for the better, once he has a campus offer from an IT company and by the time he joins work, he realizes that this is far more fun than college. The company pays you to enjoy 5 months of honeymoon nestled in the quiet woods of Mysore with chicks sampled from all over India. This phase of life ‘transforms’ his national integration skills and helps him connect with his failed class 8 geography lessons.

· He ‘transforms’ himself to be this night bird ogre who develops an intense fascination for foreign chocolates and midnight ISD calls with his officemates who seem to be enjoying a bohemian lifestyle in the name of an onsite trip!

e) His first and many Onsite Trips

· No other event can transform the tam brahm as profound as an Onsite trip. They ‘transform’ to hardcore multitaskers as they balance the support calls along with their las Vegas weekend trips. Even as they spend the time in the clubs in Las Vegas, their eyes are also on the Blackberry that reminds him of the tickets pending with his clients

· The Tam Brahm who was conditioned and made to believe that Pamela Anderson was this lady in red, who appeared in TV, is now ‘tranformed’ enough to believe that she can be his, for 10 minutes and for just 20 friggin dollars!. Now the Tam Brahm, changes his stance and declares vociferously ‘I’m Possible’, from the loser line of ‘Impossible’

f) His admission to B school

· After having spent the better part of a bohemian lifestyle in Phoren lands and wanting the same salary pay scales as his onsite salary, the Tam Brahm decides to ‘transform’ himself to a leader in a B School.

· ‘Transformation’ is shown immediately when the dear Tam Brahm learns that life at a B school is all about Managing relative competition. Competition is all over from Grades, bidding on electives, chicks, coveted million dollar jobs and even competition in standing for lunch.

· The next ‘Transformation’ comes visible in his CV, during placement season when his core motto changes from “ Best Pay Packet” to “ Best Profile” to “ Decent Company” to “Job in Hometown”, across employers at the same instant in time.

g) His Marriage

· Having got a good Job, a great B school on his CV, and a Green card, (apart from the free Red color ICICI card) he hunts for a bride with a few parameters which go pretty similar to the SQL query learnt in engineering

· Choose female from ‘List of Iyer Brides” from “ Vadama Subcaste Only” living in “Triplicane/Mylapore/Matunga/Karol Bagh”, having Gotharam “ Kousika” and Nakshatram as “ Rohini, having dad employed in “State Bank” and Blah Blah Blah…….until he finds his ‘soulmate’ through the databases of Bharatmatrimony.

· The Tam Brahm becomes a father, and starts behaving like how his dad behaved, so that he is accepted as part of the conservative society of Mylapore, and the same cycle repeats when next lineage of Tam Brahms are born!

· And beyond that Life never “Transforms”, it only changes..and then the Tam Brahm realizes that “ Change “ is the only thing that’s constant in life. The problem is that law of dimishing marginal utility caused ‘transformation’ to seem like ‘change’ and after 20 years of marriage and 2 kids studying in the US of A, he gets back to agreeing with the Wren and Martin guide that Change and Transformation don’t seem to be different after all!


Shyam said...

kalyaname aagala kamnatti, athukkulla ivalovu scena....Vazhkai oru thodarkadhai da mappu, adha purinjikko....

Bunty said...

Soooooooperrrrrrr Article dude...!!!

I m sure it could be presented as an Empirical study Paper or a Research paper on "TRANSFORMATION"

Hats off.. :)

Kartik Kannan said...

@Bunty Thanks for your comments

@shyam Kalyaname agale, othukaren, athaan free a yezutharen :-)

vinu shankar said...

I don't know if shyam is your relative but, I thought of writing the same.

Neerubhai MBA said...

nice da....enjoyed reading it

Swaminathan.J said...

Hilarious self-introspection and analysis!!

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