Tam Bramisms!

What makes us Tam Brams, who we are! Here are 10 points explaining the concept of Tam Bramisms!

1. Resemblance Factor!

Let us suppose you resemble an annoying relative, be prepared to hear all you life about how you emulate the person’s annoying characteristics. No way is anyone going to even see you for what you are or judge any situation for what it is… And yeah, you do have a lot of control over who you look like, and they totally get it!

2.Education Factor !

If you are Tam bram and if you’re not a part of a recession proof academic background like CA, Law, Engineering, Doctor…… you’re not good enough! Being Brahmana = Being Educated (only the list above).. Else be prepared to be told that you are not good enough returns on investment!

Let us say you hail from a very academic background. Your interests in arts will be scoffed at! For sure that enough and more damage will be made to your self esteem, to the point, you either do what they say (and still be told that you’re not good enough) or you would be discussed as the disgrace to every human existence ever known to the family! Well, this is until the point where you achieve something, and then they’ll just turn around and say, “We always knew you had it in you!” !

3. The Wardrobe Criteria!

Let us suppose you are the kind of kid who likes to dress up, experiment with wardrobe, try to put your own wardrobe together (when most other kids will have their parents choosing their clothes and wardrobe till post teens), be prepared! They have already decided to box you under the “potentially morally unstable” category! You are an attention seeker and should be handled very strictly. Also be prepared to have overbearing parent/s who will not allow you to have a platonic relationship with anyone of the opposite sex. You’re morally unstable- remember?

4. Performer Zone!

Let us suppose as a kid, you liked performing for an audience… Now, here is something you need to keenly observe! If your parents are proud of your talent, be prepared to have a relative run you down ! Common we are Tam Brams afterall! We just cannot handle the spotlight on someone else’s kid! We just have to highlight what’s wrong with that kid to ensure the memory of talent just fades in all that glare!

5. Vitamin M factor!

Let us suppose your parent is not the richest in the room, be prepared to do all the dirty work! From when you are a kid, you will continuously be taught the art of accepting a compromised life! You just have to take it because you have control over your parent’s richness! You would be talked down to, made most fun of (typically meanest of jokes and treatment), you’re never allowed to have a personal choice on anything! Be grateful you get presents.. even if you don’t like them! You’re not suppose to have a mind of your own!

6. Gender Bias! (Oh we Tam Brams ROCK at it!)

If you are a girl, you are expected to be timid. You will be raised to accept compromises and wrongful treatment (not sexual).. because the family is preparing you for marriage! Basically, from when you’re young, you’re told repeatedly that you will be stamped and walked all over, and you have to grin and bear it and live with it!

If you a boy, you will be taught the art of taking everyone around you for granted from when you’re young! You will be taught the fine art of assuming superiority! You need to ensure you should not treat your woman right, after all she is blessed to be destined upon you for a husband in the future!

7. Culinary Skills !

How well you cook is going to be directly proportionate to how happy your husband is going to be with you! Beware, you better not be better than the mother in law, else you just had it!

8. SKIN COLOUR (Hell Yeah!!!!!)

If a boy is towards dark tone, he is considered handsome…. and if a girl is dusky, she is a compromise… She has to accept the saddest man possible only to feel gratitude that he agreed to bestow upon her the role of his wife! Ah. fair girls, please ensure your mothers in law are not darker than you… else you had it!

9. Opinions – Mother of all screwups!

Especially with regards to religion and rituals! If you’re a girl, you just have to bend backwards and do what is being told… You cannot have a mind of your own or an opinion on how things need to be done :) If you’re a guy, you’ve got very little to do… Just make sure you’re “man enough” to boss over/control your wife to follow what your family wants of your wife !

10. Inlaws Factor!

Ladies, this is for you especially! While you’re expected to call them Amma and Appa,  you will NEVER be their daughter! They will take it upon themselves to ensure they fault find everything about your upbringing to who you are ….. They will exceptionally fare in their KPI’s!

And boys…..! As always, being married to their daughter entitles you to treat them like dirt and get away with it! That is part of being “The Man”!!! You can continue to be mama’s boys but put down your wife to love her father! You have all rights to criticise her for not getting along with your mother, but you have birthright to treat her father bad!!!

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Introducing Mr.Shorty!

Ms. Think aloud that I am, you’ve no idea how many times my hands would itch to either slap some sense into a few people or show them the mirror…. ! Being an entrepreneur deprives me that luxury ! Sigh!

Introducing Mr.Shorty -Everything about him would be small!  He wouldn’t grow! He wouldn’t let others grow either!

So, let’s discuss what makes Shorty, Shorty!

  • He has no long term goals – you would typically hear him say – Oh, I take it as it comes!
  • His height (mental) prevents him from seeing the higher goals
  • He rather put down your idea than come up with his! Leave alone solutions!
  • He is Mr.Know it all!
  • Every time he F’s up, his famous lines would be – Oh, you do not have the benefit of hindsight!
  • He would do anything within his control to ensure he is in control, thereby preventing even his organisation/ family to grow
  • His ideas would be archaic and his ideologies will be bookish- far from practical
  • He just cannot handle a smart woman- God save the women in his life!
  • He will not initiate any new ideas nor will he let others take the initiative – Wet Blanket!
  • He camouflages himself so brilliantly that people believe that he is a good guy, but once the cover is blown all you can see is only rotting flesh
  • If you want him play him, play the underdog and victim! He loves to assume he’s a martyr!
  • His benchmark in life would probably someone shorter than him! He needs do feel superior, doesn’t he?
  • Concept of objectivity will be zilch!
  • Learn the art of passive aggressiveness from him- He would surely be a PHD!

To sum it up, shorty = incompetence + mediocrity! 

So, ladies !! Whether you are a woman in a large organisation or an entrepreneur or looking at getting hitched! Watch out for Mr.Shorty!


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The “Good Enough” discussion

From the 3rd day I was married, for the good 9 years that my marriage lasted, I had a lot of very well meaning people from my ex husband’s side (both family and friends) openly telling me that I was not good enough for him… Post divorce, I have everyone telling me that they are shocked I settled for him and the marriage even lasted 9 years! Funny huh..

The subject that I would like to discuss here is… Why is this even a topic of discussion? 

I thought I was the only one put thro’ this mean treatment, but I later realised, this seems to be a huge point of discussion in our society. I’ve been meeting so many people fighting relationship issues and realised that this line of discussion has been contributing to many relationships turning sour.. possibly mine too…

I’ve often wondered what or who gives anyone the permission to decide who is good enough for whom? Isn’t it a couple’s decision to decide that for themselves?

The sillier thing about our society is, we have these famous “news carriers” who will take it upon themselves to let the person in discussion (typically the so called “compromise” candidate) know who started this whole line of discussion (pretending it to be verbatim, when a lot of masala has been added to it).. Surely helps, doesn’t it?

I firmly believe that this stems from deeper psychological issues. Anyone who says any of this for sure suffers from a complex, and thereby indulges in such lines of discussion. Psychological reasons could include jealousy, feeling of one up man ship, unhappy relationships in their own lives  or something as simple as ignorance! The big questions I have for the kind is, who is this helping?

How does going and telling a girl or a guy in an otherwise balanced relationship or a work in progress relationship, that one of them have been compromised upon? The person who feels compromised upon, might feel like a martyr for a while, but what about the other person you refer to as the compromise? Has it ever occurred to you how much hurt you could be causing that person because of your issues and ignorance?

I really think, we as a society need to stop indulging in such conversations and engaging people in such conversations too!

None of us has the right to talk down on anyone else…. Indulging in such an act is just a reflection of your poor self esteem and nothing else !

Possibly putting oneself in the shoes of the one being criticised, might stop you from hurting someone else or a couple’s lives..

How does it really matter or anyone outside the relationship if one of them (the couple in discussion) is fatter, lesser educated, comes from a humble background, has social issues, taller, thinner, less intelligent, more intelligent, wealthier, fairer, darker, reads more books, or better linguistic skills or whatever…. ??? Seriously!

Life is tough already..Relationships are hard…Least we can do is avoid causing problems for ourselves and others! Live and let live :)


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“iImprove” Programme by Bhargavii Mani

This whole concept of “New Year Resolutions” has always puzzled me… It is one thing to be a firm believer that you should celebrate life seizing every opportunity life gives you, and another to obsess over it. Curiosity got the better of me and I actually was jobless enough to Google and check what were the top New Year Resolutions that people commonly took… Obviously I wanted to check how exclusive I was, with my resolutions.. here’s what I discovered!

  1. Lose Weight  (dammit – a battle I have been fighting last 14 Godforsaken years!)
  2. Getting Organised (Hmmmm I’m not too bad.. but there always is room for improvement)
  3. Spend Less, Save More ( Ha ha )
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest ( Ha Ha)
  5. Staying Fit and Healthy ( Ha Ha)
  6. Learn something exciting ( Let me remind myself of my wishlist! Ceramic Pottery, Sculpting, Jewellery making, Vegetable Dyeing, Printing methods, crafty stuff .. the list just keeps increasing)
  7. Quit Smoking ( Finally something I did not have to ever think about.. )
  8. Help others in their dreams ( Miss teaching and mentoring)
  9. Fall in Love ( With myself… for sure!)
  10. Spend more time with family (Absolutely! Especially with such darlings I have for nieces and nephews!!!!)


If most of us want the same things, shouldn’t achieving them, logically, be doable?? Why are they still stuck to the “to do” list and not in the “Done” list?

Now this has further got me thinking! Obviously something happens between this aspiration phase and the actual doing phase…Now, I next googled, the top excuses for new year resolutions to fail (According to the Harvard-trained psychologist Dr. Stephen Kraus)

#1. All-or-none thinking: Thinking in black-or-white terms of “success” or “failure” can be fun as long as you are making good progress. But the joy of feeling like a “pure success” soon fades with the first minor setback, and you plunge into feeling like a total failure. In other words, all-or-none thinking leads to the next cause of breaking resolutions: the snowball effect.

#2. The snowball effect: D’ieters frequently suffer from the snowball effect as well, because they typically think in terms of being “on” their diet, or “off” it. Any little setback leads them to think that they have “broken” it, and they pig out.

#3. Overlooking progress, and dwelling on setbacks: After two weeks of healthy eating and exercise, for example, if they have an ice cream cone, instead of rewarding themselves for two weeks of solid progress, they beat themselves up over their minor setback.

#4. No plan (& bad goal setting & we forget): These reasons all go together, and they all have the same root cause. Most people resolve to do X in the coming year, and don’t think much beyond that. But an annual resolution is too far in the future to be motivating. You won’t be inspired to take action, or to make a plan and follow through. And because such a distant goal simply won’t show up on your “radar screen,” you’ll soon forget about it. Until next New Year’s. Instead, studies show that resolution-keepers use the proven principles for setting goals that will keep them focused, motivated and confident.

 #5. The “nice-to-keep” syndrome: Let’s face it — for most people, their resolution is a “nice-to-keep,” not a “need-to-keep.” Sure, they’d like to be fit, or quit smoking, or have better relationships, or whatever. But by January 7th, they get focused on issues that are supposedly more “pressing,” or get bogged down “putting out fires.” Their longer-term, nice-to-have goals keep getting put on the back burner, and are soon forgotten. Resolution-keepers do it differently. They use a variety of commitment-enhancing and pre-commitment strategies that ensure they avoid the “nice-to-keep” syndrome.  They find ways to keep themselves accountable, and follow through on the things that are truly important to them.

#6. No Vision (& not understanding the all-important “why”): The motivating power of any goal comes from truly understanding *why* you want it. But most resolution-makers don’t think through their underlying motivations. Just wanting to l’ose ten p’ounds for its own sake may be a fine goal, but it won’t be enough to motivate you when you have to make sacrifices or suffer a setback. But you’ll have that motivation if you know that getting in shape will mean having more stamina for playing with your kids, or going on a big hiking trip with your friends.

 #7. Not enough action. All of the “small” reasons for not keeping resolutions add up to one big reason: not enough action. Most people know what to do in order to keep their resolution. They have the blueprint for success. But they don’t take sufficient action.

Bingo! My excuses exactly! So, now I am asking myself, how can beat myself in my own game of excuses? Instead of obsessing over the bigger picture, I have decided to monitor all the baby steps I am taking! I am going to henceforth refer to this  programme as “iImprove” :D


Bhargavii Mani’s rules of the “iImprove” Programme

  1. “Clarify your Vision, and motivation will come”    peanuts-think-big-print-c12205003dream_big_quotes_pinterest
  2. Act small !! -Looking only at the bigger picture is great, but useless if all the small details are missed or not handled well! OneStepAtATime
  3. Screw generalisations - We’re all exclusive. Do not fall prey to this biggest trap!
  4. Regularly Monitor -
    Either you do it, or get someone to do it for you (and remember to be grateful for that). Paying someone does not mean you have the right to demand! And, any process without monitoring does not get any of us anywhere…
  5. Company matters!
  6. Enjoy what you want to do for yourself.…. The day you stop enjoying, all the effort that’s gone it ceases to make any more sense!have-fun-facebook-cover343
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Opinion please ?

As a designer, I am constantly asked -”So, what’s your opinion on this design? “…. Hmmmm these are the times I actually wonder whether they are really asking, or if it is just a formality!  Infact the other options I can think of are, maybe they’re taking a poll on how many more people like something… and during conversation, they can tell – Oh you know the designer Bargs? Even she liked it! Gosh!! I hate being caught in such sticky situations….

No way am I endorsing a bad design! Or atleast what I consider not good enough! Call me a snob or someone who feels superior when it comes to design for I have very clear likes and dislikes…. If a design or a product is ordinarily designed or executed, I might really have nothing much to say! Most of these people who want feedback, want to hear me say “Oh Wow…its really nice”. Little do they understand that its embarrassing for a designer who knows better to mince words! If I stay quiet, just know that I have nothing good to say, and leave me alone! The famous “I scratch your back and you scratch mine” does not work for me….

I was a lecturer for two and a half years in Singapore…. One of the feedback I received as a student, from both my classmates and faculty was, I had to learn to give constructive criticism. While I got all defensive initially, I learnt the importance of it. As a lecturer, I had the opportunity of putting that learning into action. Had a brilliant time grooming young designers :)  Also, I realised how much it helped me open out to various approaches to design. With every new batch I would be teaching, I would tell all my students that I am opinionated, but objective about it… for they need to understand that here is someone who has an opinion, but who is open to hearing their thoughts and approach to design… But, here’s the catch, it would not be possible for me to do the same with the general jantha that asks me for an opinion.

Design is subjective. Its probably best not to ask one designer’s opinion of another designer’s work. There are a few things that might happen… 1. Every designer approaches design differently. Until and unless the other designer understands this approach, a feedback would be an unfair feedback. 2. Every designer has their own style… Which is signature! It would be inappropriate to make comments being a designer. 3. It can cause problems in interpersonal relationship…. No one wants to be told what they designed or bought was not good….What could be worse is to be shot down for giving true feedback! Save everyone embarrassments please :)

You might wonder, why am I writing this blog! I’m now becoming a columnist and as a part of my job, my opinion is sought on other’s designs and execution. It is nothing but a design review. Otherwise, I am not interested in sitting and crossing swords with the people involved ! If my opinion is sought during design stage, it is possible to step in and help, but post execution, it might not be unfair on both the designer and the client. The money has been spent and then what’s the point?

Whether you’re an relative or a friend of a designer, know that you’re putting the designer on the spot…. Sometimes there can be a situational or a physical impossibility to redesign based on a designer’s feedback. If the final product turns out bad, it could rupture a designer’s credibility, especially if its in the areas of applied design.  I don’t mean to talk down to people who want suggestions, but do know that someone’s professionalism is at stake here….

As a designer, part of my job is to have an opinion. It is probably important to be aware of one’s tolerance level to take criticism before you ask for feedback… Truth can be bitter and its unfair to shoot the person showing you the mirror (remember, you asked for it??).. This is a sensitive zone and either stay happy with the designer you’ve employed for the job or replace with the one you’ve faith in… Please be easy on artists, designers and copywriters… :D I seem to be getting the same feedback from everyone in the profession! Glad its not just me, but I know that I’m the only one who will say it :)

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Temple Photography & Me…. What sparked it!

Temple Architecture has been an area of fascination for me. I am historically challenged, amongst others. Thanks to reading and learning about the World History of Art, the need to want to understand and appreciate our temple architecture increased. When I moved back to Chennai, I was looking for some content to be able to understand but failed – Maybe I did not look for it in the right places!

A business trip took me to Madurai and I had less than 45 mins in the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple and I decided to quickly capture the marvel of the Ayiram Kaal Mandapam (1000 Pillar Mandapam). I walked in and I was awestruck by the sheer magnificence of the place…..



Sure, the atrocious choice of the newly laid polished granite flooring ruined it for me, the lighting (again badly executed with wires hanging everywhere) seemed very harsh… but still…. these did not remove my enthusiasm to pick my cameras and shoot! I went in with 2 cameras mounting a fish eye and wide angle lens. I so wished I could capture the gorgeous details using a tripod, but hey, temples have these weird rules about using tripods inside, so it was completely hand held. I knew B&W versions of these images would do justice to what I saw and that’s what I finally did……

While shooting, I noticed that the noses of all the figurines were broken and when I asked a local person there, he said that during a Muslim invasion, they wanted to break the nose of the Amman and when they came into the temple to do so, they got confused. They did not know who the Amman was, so they went about breaking the nose of every figurine in the temple! Sad huh! However, they did not reach Amman at all….. This story rekindled that need for me to understand our temple architecture, history and art better. Lucky for me, my images turned out better than I expected and the response to them were nothing short of brilliant :)

So, my quest for finding someone to guide me began…

Someone once told me, when the student is ready, a Guru finds them….and here’s what happened to me…. Poppy (Suresh Sir) mentioned that at Apparao Gallery, they were having a talk by Ms. Chitra Madhavan which he was attending and suggested I come for the talk, but because of professional commitments I couldn’t go! But hey!! Surprise Surprise ….. he somehow invited Dr.Chitra Madhavan, an authority on the subject to visit Edge…. I was pleasantly surprised and stunned by her simplicity. We got chatting and we bonded and when I told her about my quest, she was happy to be a part of it.

We started Art@Edge with her talk….. While Madurai Temple was not the subject… I learnt so much more in just one talk by her…. Look forward to more! Within a few days, another speaker on the subject, Pradeep Chakravarthy got in touch with me! It almost felt like, it was a message being sent from above… let’s see what happens….

I am looking forward to share Dr.Chitra’s first talk and share Pradeep’s presentation too…. God’s been kind :) I will do my bit sharing :)

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Double Trouble

Oh! There is just so much to say with regards to Double Trouble! So, Kota and me were discussing what are the kind of programmes we need to have for Art@Edge and the humor lover that he is, insisted that we must have stand up comedy! The first name that came to our minds was Rajiv. Rajiv used to work with good friends of ours and has decided to take up his acting and media career seriously as is freelancing (I think so) with them now… So we called him and he immediately came over to the studio. Infact, it was with Rajiv we decided where the stage needed to be and how to plan the seating arrangement.

While chatting, I told him that we might need more than 1 speaker as both the speaker and the audience needed a break and he was in agreement with my feedback. Well, I was secretly hoping he had this huge list of stand up comedians and we could re- enact the “Whose line is it anyway” the Chennai way….. but, Rajiv explained that it might not be possible as yet, though we could look for an option of the kind in the long run. So, he said he would come back to us on who might be the second performer….. A week later he mentioned Aswin Rao and I was fine with it, as Aswin came referred and I can slit Rajiv’s throat if Aswin goofed up (he he the devil within me!). I met Aswin only on the day of the performance and my oh my….. the two of them just made all of us roll in laughter! Here are the videos…… Oh yeah!

Disclaimer1: We shot this using our “Web Camera” and the audio isn’t great…. try to plug your system to speakers or headphones if you want to enjoy their performance…. Disclaimer 2: There’s quite some Brahmin bashing that happens …. so if you’re a purist and lack the funny bone, maybe you should save yourself some agony.                   Disclaimer 3: TNEB was just not easy on us that day…. but the show went on!

Rajiv talks about how he might be out of Madurai, but Madurai will never be out of him!

I have always wondered why some brahmins have this habit of collecting and folding plastic bags (especially the ones you get abroad) and save it like it means something! Thanks for your insight Aswin!

Very true! Outside India, if a man were to be spotted with a handbag, he would be considered a metrosexual carrying a man purse or sometimes gay and how in India, if you see a man carrying a purse, its highly likely that he’s married :) He talks about how there is zero privacy in Brahmin marriages, and the kind of “creative” gifts that one can get! ha ha the guy was hilarious!

Oh the Second Choice!!!!! Many of us prefer not to face home truths… and here Aswin just slapped it on across our faces! Ha ha he was brilliant! I can never use the words Plug in play and handsfree without having a laugh! Aswin Rao!!!!!!!!

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