West Indian skipper, Darren Sammy, is not of Afro-carribean ethnicity as is widely believed but a pucca Tam brahm!! This stunning revelation came to the fore after the cricketer was spotted performing Sandhya Vandanam in the wee hours of dawn in his 5 star hotel before the team headed out for nets practice.
Darren Sammy or more accurately Muralidharan Swamy (the name was anglicized after most West Indians found it impossible to pronounce the original South Indian monicker) hails from an orthodox Iyer family, the Swamys, who incidentally are distantly related to Janata Party President, Dr. Subramanian Swamy. The West Indian all rounder spent his formative years in Chennai’s Mylapore before migrating to the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia in pursuit of his dream of becoming a pace bowler.
“Even as a school-going kid, Swamy was rather different from his Padma Seshadri classmates,” disclosed Ambi mama, Sammy’s maternal uncle. “While his fellow Iyer cousins reveled in solving Quantum Mechanics wave equations, cracking Mathematics Olympiad problems or listening to Carnatic music, Swamy’s attention used to frequently drift through the window onto the neighbouring street where little urchins played cricket with a rubber ball. Swamy would often bunk his classes and join them.”
And to add to his parents’ consternation, Sammy idolized the fearsome West Indian pace battery of the 80s rather than India’s legendary spin quartet comprising Bedi, Prasanna, Chandrasekhar, and Venky. Matters came to a head after the Tenth Board exams, when Sammy’s dad, Varun Swamy, asked him to “live up to the family’s scholastic tradition” by getting into IIT. So the budding cricketer, very much against his wishes, was forced to attend 3 hour long classes for IIT-JEE in T-Nagar’s Satyamurthy school. Sammy rebelled. With support from Ambi mama, Sammy found the courage to go against his parents’ wishes and migrated to the Carribean where his cricketing talent blossomed after he was selected to play for St. Lucia in the Red Stripe Bowl. Within a few years, he earned his West Indies cap.
“Aiyyo, how much I told Murali to take up chess as a hobby after getting into a top Engineering college. But no use, he only wanted to play cricket, chae,” wistfully recalled Murali’s dad, Mr. Varun Swamy, who still entertains hopes that Darren Muralidharan will chuck his cricketing career and enroll for an engineering seat from Guindy Engineering College, his cousin Karthik Aiyer’s alma mater.
Sammy is still very much in touch with his roots though. “Swamy regularly does Sandhyavandanam, strictly avoids non-vegetarian food including eggs, and absolutely loves curd rice. Why, just two months back he asked me to courier a new poonal,” said Ambi mama, with a touch of unmistakable pride. However, Ambi mama‘s only gripe is that Sammy chose fast bowling instead of the more cerebrally challenging art of spin bowling. “Look at Ravichandran Ashwin. He chose a trade where his natural Iyer intelligence will invariably enable him to shine. I don’t know, but sometimes I feel fast bowling is a little..er.. unbrahminical,” frowned Ambi mama.
Tam brahms in general have welcomed the news that Darren Sammy is one of their own. BCCI President and India Cements owner, N Srinivasan, has invited Darren Sammy to join his IPL team, CSK. “Presently, too many Iyengars in team, pa. Sammy’s inclusion will tilt the scales in favour of Iyers,” explained Mr. Srinivasan.
Former Union Minister, Mani Shankar Aiyar, when contacted however berated The Unreal Times for wasting space on trivial issues such as caste identity of a sportsperson instead of focusing on weightier social issues like poverty alleviation. Nevertheless he remarked in a soft voice, “Sammy should suffix ‘Iyer’ to his name so that people don’t misplace his ethnic identity. He had even me confused there.”