The Adventures of Darth Vaadhiar, episode 1 – A New Hopelessness

Darkness descends.

The Imperial March plays. With a slight twist. And 2 extra sangathis to boot.

 

darthvaadhiar.jpg

Junior Jigubugu Vaadhiar: What an unexpected pleasure, mama. What brings you here unannounced?

Darth Vaadhiar: Spare me the pleasantries. I am here to get this homam back on schedule. I was doing my extended morning Sandhi, that makes me strong in the force

Junior Jigubugu Vaadhiar : You and your extended Sandhi. We have to keep with the times and these practices of yours are archaic. For one, I would never do an extended Sandhi because my mobile phone will ring, and hey check out my new ringtone –  “Iyer Ground” by UB40 (Unemployed Brahmins of 40 South Mada St), the seminal street band from Mylapore.

The lyrics go

Every hour and every day, I am drinking more,
without which in this Chennai sun, I’ll burn to the core.

Unless I know the vedas, I’m not going around
digging deeper into some Iyer ground
.

Darth Vaadhiar : (using the force to cause Jigubugu vaadhiar’s poonal (sacred thread) to coil around his neck and elevate him from his seat, asphyxiating him like a hangman’s victim) I find your lack of faith…..disturbing.

JJV : That’s your problem Vaadhiar. Times are changing and you still think you can throttle people with their sacred threads and force them to observe rituals for which we don’t even seem to have convincing sounding reasons any more. If we are to survive in this century, we have to reinvent ourselves. Look at what we have become. Impoverished, low end contract workers who never moved up the value chain or from the 200 sq ft cubby hole we call home in North Mada street.

Realize it Darth. We have a fundamentally flawed business model in a target market that’s increasingly changing its attitude towards religion. We need to move away from peddling low end homam, marriage, tarpanam services and sri-sri-ize our core philosophy.

Darth Vaadhiar : And what (Sounds of heavy breathing) is that?

JJV: We need to go New Age. We are still Old Skool.

Darth Vaadhiar: Are you telling me that we need to freestyle rap our mantras? Wear Rudraksha Bling? I will not cheapen myself. (Sounds of heavy breathing).

JJV: No No. Thats not what I meant. I don’t think you understand the sri-sri-fication of religion thats going on. Let me explain. Religion has always been the toll free helpline that gives answers to life’s difficult questions, such as “Why is this happening to me?“, or “Will Arasi die in the next 3 episodes?” etc. And our past tactic of diverting people’s minds by the constant enforcement of mind numbing ritual has worked well, but is way past its time now. People don’t blindly accept ritual without a rational explanation, and hey, rationalism was never our strength eh? Look at all the New Age gurus. They make billions by providing what seems to me to be common sense answers cloaked in a thin veil of ancient wisdom to the current crop of urban problems – stress, information overload and soap serials.

That’s where we need to be Darth.

Our metaphorical business tyre is being punctured while you are bicycling to your next Ganapathi Homam. In the words of Friedman, today’s world is flat, but our tyres shouldn’t be. Some of our brethren seem to have understood this and have diversified into organizing Veda chanting classes and Horoscope exchange meets, but that’s not enough. Our job is outsourceable. In a very cynical sense, our skills are nothing more than memorization followed by obfuscatory diction. I’m afraid T-Series could release mantras, DRM free, on iTunes and we are done. And when one web-savvy vaadhiar uploads DIY videos of all rituals to Youtube, we might as well join a computer course and get into the Indian IT industry. Like every one else.

And why do I say Srisrification is the way to go? If there is one skill that has never ever been outsourced in our planet’s history, it is the application of common sense to tell people what they should already be knowing. It’s called consulting. And the billing rates have never fallen.

Darth Vaadhiar: (Sounds of heavy breathing) (More sounds of heavy breathing). I will think about this.

To be continued…..

Episode Glossary

Update: Corrections pointed out by the Rt Hon VS Srinivasa Sastry

Jigubugu – An adjective I heard from my maternal grandfather to describe tag along priests who would start strongly with Shuklaambara-dharam…, become generally hazy in the more complex mantras, and chime in strongly during the Namahas and Nivedayaamis.

Imperial March – The original Vader theme. Listen to it here. The Vaadhiar theme here features me on the violin and bass recorded on Garageband. Listen with headphones preferably and keep the volume low. I was too lazy to mix it properly.

UB40 and Higher ground – Here

40 Comments

Leave a Comment

  1. ROFL! You’re priceless!
    I discovered your site via the Aapil ipaud one, that a friend forwarded me, and have subscribed since then.
    BTW- Wicked music skills too, keep it up!

  2. Awesome! Unemployment Bureau becomes Unemployed Brahmins..Classic!

    Is it really a blatant dig at Art of Living? Sri-srification??? 🙂
    Ashok: Dig, you say? I thought it was more of a tribute 🙂

  3. “And when one web-savvy vaadhiar uploads DIY videos of all rituals to Youtube, we might as well join a computer course and get into Indian IT industry. Like every one else.” ROTFL

  4. Are you for real?? You never cease to amuse us!! The first comments have stolen my favorite parts of this blog but have left one for me to add –
    answers to life’s difficult questions, such as “Why is this happening to me?“, or “Will Arasi die in the next 3 episodes?” etc.
    What subtle humor!! Do read about my relationship with “Kolangal” when you get a chance…
    I look forward to the continuation…!

  5. Well some UB40’s had evolved into Flying chanting Brahmins in places like Aus,and UK where they would go about chanting mantra in Satyanarayana Vratams ,Gruha Pravesams and Other Namakam Chamakams.

    I remember one ceremony in Sydney, where the guy came in with a smokeless flame[40 watt][Smoke Detectors can be a pain in Sydney] and charged a whopping $200 aus. The next one was an audio file that my uncle played he looked around for the correct flowers 😉 .

    He probably has many apprentices like the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor's_Royal_Guard

    I envy that dude now. Now all the mantras i chat are

    foreach(code created)
    {
    print(“No errors please”);
    }

  6. Paavam Chembai, avaroda photo ku ippadi oru gadhee…. and ROTFL @ UB40
    Ashok: Not bad 🙂 You recognized my lift from the Iyer article in wikipedia

  7. Now I can also say ROFL! Enjoyed your twisted imperial march as well! And the jigubigu vaadiyars – so apt!

    As Satts says UB40s are now highly sought after in the export market.

    Waiting for next instalment! Will Daarth Vaadiyar meet up with the new Sri Sri force??? Or maybe there will be an ancestral connection between Sai and Sri? Hmmmm… or maybe the Mother of Hugs will make an appearance?!

  8. You are amazing. A friend referred me to your blog a few months and I have been addicted to it ever since. May your work spread far and wide and into “mucho commercial success”

  9. Well, I had no idea you lifted it from Wiki
    I’ve seen that Chembai pic elsewhere, so recalled..
    How about a post on Darth vadhiars venturing into catering these days – my Dad got a booklet sort of stuff with details on a vadhiyar giving catering services for weddings… since his usual matrimony services are going down…

  10. Carnaticized Darth vader theme is really nice. Y not add a tambura track of the kattai in which you played? It would really bring out the madras effect. You must be knowing, that these are freely downloadable in the wav format. And I say garnish it with that ‘ting’ of a rama cymbal, the instrument technically known as ‘jalra’!

  11. I appreciate your humour. But I don’t think you should do this to brahminhood. 🙂 Lot of us do know the reasons behind performing day to day hindu rituals. I guess this post is slightly demeaning.
    Ashok: It wasn’t meant to be demeaning at all. I usually just make fun of anything that catches my eye

  12. using the cello-vaa? or is that a modified violin? Nice job on the audio, enjoyed the sangathis. And how does the insolent JJV manage to speak with the infamous punal choke-hold (sounds like one of those special moves the WWF guyz from back in the day patented) put on him ?

  13. Some nitpicks: (unable to resist pointing them out)
    * It’s iyer-vAL (வாள்) not -vAzh. Etymology: avargaL becomes avAL in the Brahmin dialect, which gets shortened to ‘vAL when used as a suffix.
    * I have so far not observed a vaideeka refer to another as Iyer-vAL. What I have noticed used are “mama”, “anna” or “ambi.”
    * Easy ones: shuklaambara-dharam (wearer of white garments) and nivedayaami.

  14. Excellent stuff. Particularly liked “Our metaphorical business tyre is being punctured while you are bicycling to your next Ganapathi Homam”.

    Looking forward to Episode 2

  15. So, I enjoyed the post immensely. referred by a good friend. SOOO true although cannot honestly say i understood ALL of it;) But truly enjoyed your definition of the jigu..whatever vaadhyar. I relate to it COMPLETELY together witht he fact about outdated rituals and blah blah made by ancient MEN, which I a woman (especially) of TODAY has to ‘abide’ by. Makes me GRRR.

  16. A very good post. The highly secular verb “sri sri ing” is bound to find favour with everyone.
    Carry on the good work

  17. Pingback: Nadodiyin Pulambal
  18. Do I detect a photoshopped picture of Chembai Vidyanatha Bhagavathar? Curious…
    Ashok: The force is indeed strong in you Darth Gorfus. It is Chembai. After all, was he not the one to stop the music and tell the musically ignorant in the front row of Music Academy – “I find your lack of tala knowledge….disturbing”

  19. hahaha… zat was sufer fun…. ur imagination cells are working reall hard i see.. where is part 2??? waiting for it already…. 🙂

    ROFl -“Iyer Ground” by UB40…. hahahahaha…

  20. simply amazing….but where’s part 2….”wats darth vaadhiar goin to do ?? will jigubugu work his magic ??”…. We’re dying here !!

  21. Man… you have to go commercial with this… or at least youtube yourself… This is bloody funny
    I like the jigubugu bit.. so perfect… ROFL.

  22. Here’s a true one: A Vaadhiyaar sipped from a glass, instead of tossing the contents down his throat. An offended observer ( my sister-in-law ) started singing : Anne, Anne, Sippoy Anne, Ippo romba kalam kettu poachu Anne ….

  23. There is a photo of statues of a group of ancient Olmec priests in a special RD book. It looks uncannily like a Darth Vadiyar, other vaadhiyars, and a few Jigubugu’s ( a statue which is kind of thin and hunched and mild-looking looks like a jigubugu , a fat prominent one in the middle is like a head or Darth Vadhyar) .

  24. hey!why did you stop writing for the hindu sturday column. I got to know about your blog through it.Great work man

  25. Ou peut-on trouver la source exacte de cet article svp ? Vous avez une très belle plume, bravo ! Bravo !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s