Thursday, December 17, 2009


I recently attended two wedding functions; This was after a very long gap, so I guess wedding observations are taking some space on my blog. What I am writing here is not what I noticed in these two wedding functions, but my general observations in Indian weddings.

India knows to celebrate weddings. Applause.. Wedding is a very special occasion - The beginning of a life-long relationship that is the pivot of a happy family tree.

There are extremely grand weddings (You cannot spot the color of the girl's saree, count the number of items on the lunch menu, and can never give your gift without having to wait for an hour in the queue to meet the couple), and moderately grand weddings ( You can tell the saree color, you can manage to taste most of the items on your plate, and can meet the couple fairly quick to greet them).

The South Indian Tamil weddings mostly fall into one of these categories. At a South Indian Tamil wedding you will see/face all these:

Bright colored silk sarees. But also you will wonder how some people manage to walk in to the wedding hall like they would for a beach evening?
Lots of Jasmine flowers. Also you will wonder why some people hesitate so much to adorn their short or long hair with flowers, at a wedding.
People to greet you almost everywhere in the wedding hall. Nice to note :)
At least every third person you meet, asking you if you had something to eat or drink. How nice? and how many of us appreciate this?
At least one person in the dining hall yelling away ( like the sky is falling right on top of someones plate or bananna leaf at lunch) to some one serving Rasam or Rice or Sweet. Wonder why? but makes the dining hall interesting place to spend time.
Loud noise of people and traditional instrumental music. Wonderful :) and Nice:)
People saying 'Hello' to you and asking for that one person in your clan who couldn't make it to the wedding. Wonder why?
All the organizers scurrying around in the wedding hall. Almost always it seems that everything happens in the last minute although the engagement happens at least three months before the wedding. Wonder why this last minute rush, but it is a nice experience :)
There is always someone searching for a key or a foot wear or hand bag or a jewel accessory. Wonder how?
There are lots of sweets that you cannot handle. One or two sweets would do, to cater to most people's tastes. Anything more than that makes you wonder why? and touch it not!!!!
The bride's makeup is very important and no one even thinks about giving half as much attention to the groom's face make-up. All the same, the Jodi looks grand. :-) So, my take is, it is 10% external make-up and 90% mental satisfaction that shows on the face.
Almost in every wedding, the bride does not get all the time in the world to drape her wedding saree. The wedding saree is given to the bride after a lot of formalities only minutes before the 'Muhurtham' or the 'celestial and auspicious moment' that marks the marriage. Even before she places her hands on it, people start calling out " Time for the Muhurtham, Where is the bride?".. So after all that time spent on saree shopping, the bride does not even get quiet minutes to admire herself just before the most important moment in her life. The wedding Muhurtham moment is always hassled for her. Wonder why?
You hear this question soon after the wedding: " Enna maapillai vandhaacha" meaning "Has your son-in-law come into your family?" and you cant stop wondering how people can ask such questions when all they have been witnessing in the last few hours in the wedding hall was the marriage and everyone knows the son-in-law has joined hands with the girl. Strange, but what is even stranger is that you don't get angry.. you only get to smile.. :) The scene is very amusing, though I have controlled my voice of opinion on this : Where were you all this while? and wonder why you are asking questions like this.
I have till date, not understood why South Indian wedding buffets have a lot of North Indian items made by South Indian cooks who claim to be specialized in North Indian dishes. It just wont be perfect to have Naan and Panner Butter Masala catered by Aminjikkarai Bhavan. Wonder why people don't get it..
Almost always, the bride and the groom get to eat after the whole world has feasted over their wedding. Agreed, that may be the norm, but I have heard of instances when some special dishes have got over before they come to the dining hall to eat ( lunch or dinner). It is so unfair, but seems to happen all the time. Wonder why?
After all the care taken to conduct the wedding very well, there is at least one forgotten invitation. You see Person A and remember that you have not sent an invite to Person B. Possible.
After the grand wedding, how many of these people call back to say that the wedding was grand and nice or how many wedded couple write a thanks note back to the people who came in for the wedding? No idea really.

Few other observations that I cant forget to include here:
Kerala weddings are the shortest. When the wedding formalities are happening, if you turn around to say Hi to someone, the next thing you know is the wedding is over. The Muhurtham is set for exactly the minute, meaning the precise Moment and you will only see crowd in the hall for exactly fifteen minutes before the moment and thirty minutes after the muhurtham. The wedding party clears off the place in exactly half a day!!!! Unbeleivable in tamilian weddings, but I guess it is good to take the best practices, as said in corporate strategy meetings.

Food is excellent, but for some reason, Kerala weddings do not accomodate Tamilnadu cuisine. All tamilians have complaints about a kerala wedding buffet and all Keralites( no offence meant to keralites or malayalees or tamilians) have a problem with proper Tamilian food. At a wedding buffet, you are only enjoying the variety of cuisine and sharing the joy of the festive occasion and the happiness that lingers in the air, and definitely not talk about how the food was not good or didn't match your taste. But, what I have heard over the years is, at most weddings, 'Food' puts off people more than anything else. Wonder why?

I have not attended North Indian weddings and Andhra based weddings, but I hear they are all usually the extremely grand scale types. People are known to splash money like water for the weddings. I wonder why? but I guess that is the way it is :)

Whether grand or no, a wedding is very special for all the fond thoughts that it brings to everyone in the family. There might be unpleasant memories, but when we hold on to the unplesant, the plesant finds no space in the mind and heart :) What say?


SK said...

I enjoy wedding just becos we can meet almost all the relatives and friends. For me being abroad for 5 years and missed almost all the small occasions and festivals and I enjoyed to the core during my bros wedding 6 months before.

I havent been to North Indian wedding so far. They seems to be very grand especially the punjabi one. Just seen couple of Malayalee Hindu marriages. antha nagaiya paaththu naan mayakkam pOttu vizhunthutten. .-)

I think I can write a post.. :-)

Nice observations.

Rythm of life said...

Very well written. I come from west bengal. I have never attended a south indian weddng before..but have heard of it. I enjoyed reading your post.

Anonymous said...

Last week, attended a Goan church wedding. Very nice, simple ceremony. It was so touching to actually hear the couple recite the wedding vows. The priest's advice to the couple was very good. And most important of all, the ceremony was short, and the church was airy and cool!

The reception was a bundle of fun, there was a lot of dancing n lot of interaction between the couple and the guests. There were many friends who said short speeches about the couple. It was very enjoyable and interactive.

Sometimes, I wonder whether we have too many overly formal rituals and procedures.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - A Psychiatrist knows better!

A wardrobe full of white clothes - All of them kept sparkling white and neatly pressed! All clothes are clean, devoid of every last bit o...