As weird as that sounds, I am exactly that, a Marathi TamBrahm. I was born in Pune, but raised the TamBrahm way. I speak fluent Marathi and Tamil and also know Hindi, of course. It’s amazing to be a pakka Puneri mulgi who speaks Tamil and mavali Hindi all together, at the same time!
Being raised the TamBrahm way, my mornings started with “Kaushalya Supraja Rama poorva sandhya pravarthathe“, minus the filter coffee, because both Amma and I are chai-persons, so our davra-tumblers were filled with tea instead! I was enrolled into Bharatanatyam classes at the age of 4. Amma and Thatha taught me Carnatic Music and have trained me to identify raagas within the first 10 seconds of the song. My Akka and I were made to by-heart a ton of Shlokams that are deemed necessary for survival. (Imagine having the Vishnu Sahasranamam committed to memory?)
But we were assal Marathi people, we used “shengdanecha kooth” instead of coconut in our Bhaji. (Yes, not Subji, not curry, Bhaji! Deal with it! ). Chapati-Bhaji was our staple diet, but what good is a Tamil house-hold if its refrigerator is devoid of dosa-maavu?
Festivals were all celebrated the Tamil way, hands down. There would be a padi-kolam out our doorstep even on gudi-padwa. Heck, Amma even drapes a Madi-saar that day! Ganpati was celebrated for 1 1/2 days instead of the 10 day Maharashtrian way. Puran Poli used to be Neivedhyam majority of the time. We always have a grand Golu during Navaratri. Of course there would be a lot of mami’s coming over and me going all around our theru collecting Sundal( and consciously trying not to repeat the same Devi song as last year at the same mami’s house ) but every year, Amma called Mrs. Gulawne’s Bhajan Party, who would sing beautiful Abhangs, Powadas and Gondhals. Such fun!
Someone asked me what I called myself when I casually said something in Marathi once, “You are SO Marathi, accent and everything!“, they said, “But you also speak Tamil and Hindi. I don’t get it!” I couldn’t help but laugh. It is confusing for the others, yes, but I am really proud and glad that Amma brought me up this way, she instilled in me the best of what both these cultures have to offer. Now that I am so far away from home, I find that this is all I have with me. These Marathi-TamBrahm Values are what make me, me!
Jay Maharashtra and nandri for reading this all the way through!