Tam Brahm, No Thank You Ma’am

Social Commentary

Tam Brahm, No Thank You Ma’am

Illustration: Mudit Ganguly


ast year, my sweet, well-intentioned Tamil Brahmin parents asked me whether I was ready for marriage. All my cousins, who are women, have been “married off” and social convention dictates that my parents should do the same. Since I was not dating anyone at the time and had some friends who met their spouses through an arranged marriage setup, I did not object.

Before I knew it, my profile was up on Bharat Matrimony. Proposals came pouring in because my parents had liberally used the phrase nalla Brahmana ponnu to describe me. Loosely translated, nalla Brahmana ponnu means a good, well-behaved girl born in a family that identifies itself as Tamil Brahmin. Coming from such a family against your will is like being the Michael of the Corleone family. Between the two, Michael is the one who gets the better deal. The choice of whether he wants to be a part of the “family business” is his choice and his alone. His father Vito echoes this sentiment, but either way, the choice rests with Michael. Since I have been educated in what is considered one of India’s top schools for journalism, I used to work in a respected and renowned organisation, and am believed to be conventionally good-looking, I am, my parents believe, the epitome of nalla Brahmana ponnu.