Sunday, March 27, 2005

From Inside The Garlands - Part Deux

35 days since I have been married and all I have to show for is a solitary post on the marriage stuff. Bad? yes.. but its hard to drag myself to the computer these days. Try asking my manager at work. He can never get me to sit in front of the computer.

So the sailient points are as follows

  • In the olden days, these marriage things used to be 5 day affairs. Essentialy they were Eat-athons. The relatives would cash in on the weakest moment of the girl's father's life and storm the eat-all-you-can marriage party. Really even a 2 day marriage is just eating every 2 hours and talking a lot with 'actual' marriage events speard out unevenly. But due to several constraints ( money and time being the biggest) marriages were "cut short" to 2 day affairs. Things like saying a sloka and sleeping for a night were simulated by saying the sloka and covering the groom's eyes with a piece of cloth for 2 minutes.
  • Its a lot of fun being the star of the show. I loved it! Coffee, cool drinks, water - you just have to clear your throat and 10 people will be hanging on to every word you say.
  • We had this grand beauty trip. Me and 4 other people visited the beauty parlor had the full works. Haircut - Head massage- golden-bridegroom-facial - pedicure - manicure. Cost me 1500 Rs and a 100 Rs tip.
  • Had the "Janavasam". I loved it when Kamalahaassan in MMKR ( if you didnt know what great amazing classic movie this abbreviation refers to -- you may not get the point at all) would be in the Janavaasam car and Nagesh would look at him and say "No problem! All problems Solved". ( Ofcourse Kamal would be promised 6 lacs for saying the "Bhim boy" dialog and there would be three people in his first night. :-) )
  • Janavaasam(where the groom is taken around the city on a open car so that everybody can see he is getting married) is really cool. You have to get police permission to flaunt the Bridegrrom on the roads. Travelling in a open convertible left hand drive car was amazing. The entire W.Mambalam ( and parts of Ashok Nagar) got to see me. Sitting in a car with 3 other people and looking at people gawking at me was not bad at all :-)
  • It was a highly "local" marriage. My base station all my life had been W.Mambalam, the bride grew up in the K.K.Nagar/Vadapazhani area. The marriage hall was in Ashok Pillar. The Jaanavasam temple, the now-incredibly-famous Sathyanarayana temple is one I have been visiting since god-knows-when childhood. All within a 5 Km radius.
  • We had a record 30 garlands put on each set of shoulders. These garlands were specially ordered by a higly devout( and devoted) uncle. Mind you! this takes a lot of time effort, money and organization skills to pull such a thing off. This was probably the highlight of the marriage. Something I strongly encourage many to follow. Each garland came from one of the Divya Desams ( There are 101 (approx) such places, and the place is called so because each one has a famous a Vishnu Temple) . A representative of a particlar temple in Divya Desam came to the marriage with a garland. From Thirupathi , Sri Mushnam, Udupi to Kumbakonam, Srirangam and Srivalliputhur people came from everywhere.
  • As the garlands started accumulating - it sort of became a "can they go for the record ?" competition. The gathered crowd were saying "oooh!"'s and "Aaaah" as garland # 20 and #22 turned out to be really huge. The big huge crowd stopped short of saying " you can go for it man" " c'mon" "yeah!" . My facewas visible until the 26th garland the bride's face being rather small wasn't visible after the teens. Thank god! for the 4 people standing behind us and holding these huge garlands.
  • Shoulders:... oohhh.. aaahg.. aarrgg.. Amrutanjan balm. Satisfaction: unbeatable
  • The crowd was amazing. Given the Laaaaarge size of my father's family the bride's father was forewarned about the crowd. The Muhurtham and reception each sported a 800 strong crowd. Around 2500 hungry people were "fed" over the 2 days.
  • The huge crowd meant the people on the diaz during Reception had to be regulated fast. So in a single photograph, I was standing with my uncle and aunt, my wife's 3rd cousin and her husband, my dad's collegue from 10 years before and the bride's office collegue's cousin. The crowd was regulated fast but the photos looked rather confusing!
  • The priest had strictly told me not to shake hands after the "Mangal Sutra" phase.( the part where they say "mangalyam thanthunanena" ). I was given to understand that I am only allowed to touch my wife's hand until the sapthapathi (and some more things) got over. A Rule is a rule and I believe unlike Indian traffic rules, rules are meant to be followed. I had to appoint a tag team of body guards to protect us from approaching handshakers.
  • Two important dignitaries, (one of the two had also moonlighted as the BCCI president sometime ago) tried to ignore the Handshake ban and came forward saying "ignore that.. c'mon shake hands" -- Lets just say my dad was left trembling in embarassment on seeing an outstreched hand being met with a big huge NO. Hey! if "you can touch only your wife" transalates to "any body I touch becomes my wife" then I didnt want a 60 year old man to be my wife..
  • Moving on.. what do you say when someone walks up to the reception diaz and shakes your hand? "thanks for coming" " so nice to meet you" ...err.. if its your wife's relative or her friend do you say.. "whats inside the gift box? dude" .. (shaking the box vigorously) "is that money or just paper" ( obviously kidding! but... this may be my last and fatal joke though..). I said these 4 lines in a round robin fashion around 500 hundred times in one evening.
  • I have lost the ability to smile or say "thank you". For the next 2 weeks, it hurt when I smiled
  • We ofcourse had the Nalangu, which is sort of the ice-breaker function where the girl's and the boy's relatives get together and play games ( mostly making fun of the groom). It sort of breaks the ice between them. I suspect this function was primarily introduced when the child marriage system was rife. This was probably introduced to get the children involved in the whole process and make things interesting for them. The rolling of the cocunuts ( which seriously desn't require the amazing athletic capability of a grown up) and the breaking of pappad-appalam on the grooms head, singing ( and thank god there wasn't any antakshari - i hate it) all suggested that this was meant for children.
  • From the Nalangu -- I have to say one thing. And boys beware of this -- Girls have a subtle knack of slithering away from attention. They are there in the same place as you are but somehow take care not to get caught. They dont put a foot wrong and say something politically incorrect. Somehow the attention is always riveted on the boy. Half the time I was left pulling my big foot out of my mouth, while she was happily sitting untouched.
  • The video and photographs were the other big "wins" of the function. I had carefully planned and orchestrated the whole thing like I was directing a movie. I will disclose only parts that I cannot patent. I executed the Black & White photos to completion. There a whole big album separate for B & W photos. It gives out that retro look and is really cool! My friend Ape-man Jai tried it and failed because his friend bungled the whole thing up ( thats me :-)). But I was intelligent enough not trust friends and employed a professional.
  • The video ideas will put Paul Reisner to shame. yeah! I was the manirathnam in the making. I took out all my frustrations of not being able to become a movie director during my marriage.

Post Marriage

  • The number of breakfast-lunch-dinner invitations we had and the number we actually attended ( which was more than the the number of invitations) was staggering. Almost everybody knew my favorite dish. I was served the same line-up day after day after day. I ofcourse didn't mind it at all. hey! it was my favorite food - so I gulped down tonnes of it.
  • Downside of marriage: As a result of the above point - I now have to consult the 'signifcant other' before accepting new invitations. And while eating, I have to look for her approval before saying "yes" to more food. grrrr .. hmph!
  • Madras is still old-fashioned ( which is why I love it so much) - So you get free advise on all topics ranging from "filter coffee" to "family planning".
  • Yes! you can brainwash your wife -- if you plan well in advance.
  • Looking back now with newly acquired super powers -- I can see that - Yes! almost all men whom I know AND who are married have brain washed their wives one way or the other
  • It still works and will always work (even after I have said this) because every woman likes to believe that her husband is not the kind who will brainwash her.
  • I am not the kind of husband who will brainwash my wife :-)
  • We of course went on a honeymoon ( will blog about the Swiss Alps later).

Things To Remember ( for meand for anybody else who is getting married ):

  • While going outside -- Don't walk fast! and storm ahead - as if "you are running to catch a train". It's got to do with the whole Venus-Mars kind of psycology, which nobody understands.
  • A sambar-vada is the correct order for evening tiffin. Not - 1 masala dosa, 1 veg pizza and a bhel puri.
  • Cannot wear Half-pants outside. Definetly not to her parents house. And Madras heat is no excuse!
  • With a lot of haggling -- Aishwarya Rai is the only person your are allowed to have an affair with. And thats only because you have a "negligible" to " impossible" chance of meeting her during your lifetime. The probability of her liking you and wanting to have an affair with you is too embarassing to give out!
  • Cricket match is equalant to a girl you "might" be having an affair with. No! Ind Vs Pak doesn't make it any less offensive.
  • VH-1 Classic and Classic MTV in the morning are signs of cultural degradation. During channel surfing -- do not pause and linger on FTV longer than you have to. And always remember you have never seen porn and you barely know what it means.
  • For expenses - only Rs 200 would be given to you at any point in time.


Anonymous said...

Do you remember the "thiruppu" joke in MMKR. That's a classic. BTW, Was Supreme Court Judge S.Mohan one of the two judges that made it to your wedding. Just curious..coz..I received few prizes from him when I was young and whenever I used to see him on functions telecasted in TV that event used to come to my mind...So..was just wondering if he came to ur wedding too...anyways...hope you are enjoying your marriage...

Anonymous said...

Do you remember the "thiruppu" joke in MMKR. That's a classic. BTW, Was Supreme Court Judge S.Mohan one of the two judges that made it to your wedding. Just curious..coz..I received few prizes from him when I was young and whenever I used to see him on functions telecasted in TV that event used to come to my mind...So..was just wondering if he came to ur wedding too...anyways...hope you are enjoying your marriage...

Hawkeye said...

send me email :-)

Anonymous said...

dont know if prabhu forwarded my email to you, but congrats man. May all the brainwashing occur from your side and your side alone.


Jupe said...

Belated Congrats on your wedding...I remember you commenting once on Ekta's blog but today i landed up at this space thru bloghopping and its been an amazing 1 hr reading some posts :) You write wonderfully well and your marriage kadhaigal rock...But pssst: unmaya sollu, is this instituition called marriage really fun ?*scared as hell*

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