Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Wedding Itself

Everyone’s heard about Nair weddings that last for five minutes only as opposed to Brahmin weddings that could go on till the couple is in their fifth month of pregnancy.

My parents were shell shocked at this prospect. ‘What?! Just five minutes? What about Mapilai alapu, Kasi-Yatra, Oonjal, Nalangu and the works? Why even have a wedding? You guys go and get yourselves registered in some place in the US and let us know if you feel like. It is so stressful that there is nothing going on.’

I was happy that the time I spend in my sari would be less than the time spent draping it. Being ‘paiyenda chechi’ (groom’s sister), I had not much of a role other than hanging out and smiling at the camera man. Pi felt like he got a real good deal in proving his worthiness as a son-in-law. Taking care of arrangements and running around had been cut ten-fold in this case.

My relatives were hanging around to have some fun and talk about the wedding that they almost missed while they were busy blinking.

On the D-hour, the groom’s side paraded from the hotel to the temple courtyard area where there is a mandap (stage) At the muhurtham (auspicious time previously set for wedding) the groom and his family (consisting of me) is ushered on the stage by a priest. The girl’s party is late to arrive by 10 minutes. So we wait as smoke started wafting out of my dad's ears. We see a huge glittering article moving towards the stage and are later to find that it is the bride (after we put on our sun glasses). If I went around asking my forty relatives to donate their gold for me to wear, the bride would have beaten me hollow. All those necklaces weighing down on you could have made Dara Singh neck less. Conclusion: Mallu women have strong neck.

So she arrives looking radiant, beautiful and all the mandatory bride adjectives. Just as she is being ushered on to the stage…some conch noise gets the priest all excited. He prohibits her from coming up and asks us all (except the groom) to get off the stage. Pandemonium ensues and it is gathered that the Lord’s doors have been closed for some offering and will open in 45 minutes. Only after that, can the wedding take place.

‘See ma, the Mallu wedding is lasting for more than 5 minutes. You were unnecessarily worried,” I tried. My mom couldn't see the humor.

My dad's ears were lit by a full blown fire now. Relatives reminded my raging dad every minute about the impending Rahu-Kalam. The time when nothing good should happen. Most of the good that is not happening in South India is because of this Rahu Kalam. People don’t embark on journeys, babies don’t get fed, children don’t write exams, shopkeepers don’t open their shops, films don’t get released during Rahu Kalam. To add to this, there is a whole month where nothing good happens. At least we have an excuse for the sad state of affairs.

Aah, I was talking about the wedding. Since everyone was suddenly jobless, they start looking for things to complain about. My granny tells me to go tell the bride to wear a bindi. I see a huge humungous bindi on bride's forehead from a distance of 50 feet and relay my findings to granny. Granny nods; but this is just the beginning of the bindi harassments to come. Note to self: Take her to eye clinic.

My mama complains it's too hot and I helpfully suggest removal of sweater. My kid cousins are bored and they don't hide the feeling. We play a game. Who ever guesses the correct number of gold bangles the bride is wearing will get an extra apalam during lunch. Ok fine, icecream.

So as Rahu was approaching, my brother was standing alone on the stage with his love-handles exposed to public during the whole time. He had managed to cover the unsightly protrutions in the front with his angavastram (cloth worn on top for purposes such as these- the priest needed to be reminded of that. In my brother's case, it could be used to wipe the drool too.). Pi's concern was that if the groom is jilted now, does he have to stand there forever?

Overheard my cousin having this conversation with the groom.

‘Gosh, you’ll have a tough time taking off all that jewelry in the night.’ *wink wink*

My brother is quick to reply, ‘Why bother taking them off?’

Aiyyo Bhagawane! What all I am hearing… that too in the temple premises.

Finally, Lord’s door opens and He is ready to bless the couple. Girl climbs on stage, we follow, tulasi garlands are exchanged, mangalsutra is tied, a lamp is circled three times and it’s done.

Next couple moves up. Before the camera guy could wind up, he managed to cover footage of the next three weddings performed in the same mandap by the same priest.

‘Great! Now can we eat?’ asks Pi.


Rhyncus said...

There is a theory that Nair weddings got longer when they realised that the video cassette had 175 mins more to go.

B o o said...

Rhyncus, you just stole the words from my keyboard! What exactly will be in the 2 video cassettes, 3 vcds and 2 photo albums(for each side!)? And dont start me on Raahu-Kaalam. My mom just drives me nuts with these things. And she did nt ve the 'thuppu'(ability?) not to give birth to me in a Raahu-kaalam. Go figure!

anantha said...

ROTFL @ love-handles, "huge glittering article" (wonder what will your bro think about the interesting use of adjectives here!)!

ashanthi said...

oh my lord - that was just so so soooo funny - for a poor ole bride whoose wedding got hijacked by every dog & his bone - in the you end up pleasing no one - most especially yourself ...

i take it for your wedding you'll be eloping ... hmm possibly to another planet?

thanks so much for a most entertaining piece : - ))

anantha said...

Alpha: You getting married.. AGAIN...????
Poor Pi! Rather.. Lucky Mr.Pi!!!!!

Zoheb said...

Aiyyo Bhagawane! What all I am hearing… that too in the temple premises

They still let you inside temples, do they?

Krithiga said...

I hope the Lord has mercy on all our souls so that "the sari wearing" ceremony for the sake of "demble" dharshan becomes a non-existent entity. I've been skipping Guruvayur visits for the fear of a Draupadi episode.

KJ said...

We see a huge glittering article moving towards the stage and are later to find that it is the bride after we put on our sun glasses). If I went around asking my forty relatives to donate their gold for me to wear, the bride would have beaten me hollow. All those necklaces weighing down on you could have made Dara Singh neck less. Conclusion: Mallu women have strong neck.

ROTFL !!!!

welcome back alpha...

U sure came back with a bang didn't ya?...



Ravages said...

to say I LOL-ed is too mild a statement Alpha-akka.

Wish your brother a very happy wedded life.


colours said...

Did you not tie the Mangalsutra? And you did not insist on your type wedding?...I got married to the wrong person... Should have met your brother before I met Parmanu.

Shruthi said...

My aunt got married to a Mallu at Guruvayur, and we were totally zapped that it would take less than 5 minutes and cost less than 50 bucks! But my granny wanted my Mallu uncle to AT LEAST slip on toe rings on aunt's toes, if not anything else, and during that process, the toe-rings got entangled with her saree and he took 5 minutes to entangle it without spoiling the saree.. so the total wedding took TEN minutes!!! and all the other bridal couples standing in the queue were grumbling :)

KJ said...

Oops forgot to tell u to wish your brother a very happy married life...



Twilight Fairy said...

:).. kewl wedding this.. in a saree you would have definitely looked Lalita ji :D

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

:D :D :D Brilliant stuff. Hope the food was just as good

VC said...

Congrats & best wishes to Mr. & Mrs. Beta!
I s'pose Mrs. Beta will have to do for now, until you come up with a Greek letter. Or, since she is not a Tam, will you use Latin, maybe!
A better response to the "you'll have a tough time..." statement would have been "Who the heck is going to wait till night!" Yendhe Guruvaayoorappaaaaaa!!!

m said...

- awaiting part three- i want to hear the nitty gritty on the reception - and eating festivities............

Anonymous said...

great! you are back. wish your brother a happily wedded life.

*rolling* at 'love handles' and 'glittering article'. i wonder how else you grill your poor bro....


Anonymous said...

Welcome back!!!


pallavi said...

hahah yeah the highest time they take is the time the bride takes to walk to the groom.. thats it.. I was amazed.. Bong weddings are sooooooooo long..

alpha said...

thanks for dropping by and wishing the brother. will relay all these wishes.

sorry abt this mass 'Hi'..didn't think I would get into a backlog.

Iyyo-nair said...


Talayaali married to a Mallu. I was Googling Raahu Kaalam and the search led me to your blog. Hilarious stuff.

My Dad (Iyer) used to regale us with his version of his marriage to my Mom (Nair) in Guruvayoor, how the ceremony was over before it even got started. We would joke that his retelling took a lot longer than the ceremony itself. Your blog brought back some great memories. Thanks for that.

My initial intention was to let you know that your blog is available to anyone on the WWW. If you prefer you could make it private only to your circle of friends. (I am counting myself as an honorary friend for this post. :-))

Thanks for the funny writeup and best wishes to your brother, his bride and all of you.

alpha said...

iyyo-nair: thanks much for the compliments and I'm glad you landed here. keep coming even if it has to be thru google.:)

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venkat richmond va said...

Sherikkum adipoli! I landed here thanks to google search. Very much enjoyed reading your blog. I could connect well becos my roots are in tamil nadu but I grew up all my life in trivandrum. And you know what.. i loved the fact wedding is just 5 min becos I'd get to eat sooner... with 3 varieties of payasams... yum yum... I miss Kerala a whole lot now (being in us for 7 yrs+)