When “Kanjivaram” meets “Patiala”!!!

‘2 States’ is a recently released movie from Karan Johar’s stable which soon went on to be a part of the hallowed 100 crore club.  In this movie which is incidentally based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel with the same name, the hero – a Punjabi falls in love with a Tambrahm girl. The movie goes on to show the struggles involved in marriage of the two 1800 different cultures before the actual marriage of the 2 individuals. It is understandable that in such a marriage involving 2 different cultures, there is a voluntary and involuntary fusion of rites, practices and ‘rasams’ (not be confused with Sambhar/Rasam 😉 ) in the marriage ceremony.

Still reeling under the hangover of 2 Tambrahm weddings which I was part of recently, which actually DID NOT involve “2 states”, the change I saw was interesting. This post is not about the movie ‘2 States’ but the changes in the marriage scene seen oflate. Before I get down to explaining that, a bit of backgrounder is in order.

Typical Tambrahm weddings were quiet, staid affairs where

  • Serious mamas meet their more serious counterparts and use the opportunity to discuss world affairs and enhance their knowledge 😄
  • Enthusiastic mamis use the opportunity to exhibit their latest Kanjivarams (silk sarees for the uninitiated) and also expose their precious yellow metal jewelry to sunlight (which are otherwise confined to the dark interiors of Bank lockers) 😄 😄
  • Studious Ambis (Boys who are in schools/colleges and yet to be coronated as mamas) compare notes with their clan on the latest ranking of US Universities/B Schools and the like,.. 😄
  • Ponna poranthava (commonly known as PYTs) keep shuttling between here and there in the hall to garner attention
  • There is no official ‘Mehndi’ ceremony and all and the bride to be gets her work done in a parlour silently
  • The only sartorial indulgence from the men’s camp would be “bush shirt along with new Veshti”
  • Meal after meal in the 2 day marriage affair will be served in banana leaf with variations limited to the Payasam( Kheer) or the vegetable used in the Sambhar in the different meals (Brinjal Sambhar in the morning, Carrot/Potato one in the afternoon and again Brinjal for dinner) 😞
  • Noise levels are low except for the Nadaswaram considered a “Mangala Vadyam” which is played normally in functions, temples,.. in the South India. During key instances in the wedding like “Muhurtam”,.. the vadyars (priests) in the stage signal with their hands to increase the tempo and play loudly. Otherwise the music is pleasant and indeed soothing.
  • The Reception function is also quite a quiet affair where on the one side an artist (usually an emerging one) plays the flute or violin (Carnatic music mostly) and on the other side people queue up to wish the couple and pose for the customary photo-op
  • In general no major excitement in the events except for
    • ‘Malai mathu’ (Garlands Exchange) ritual where from both sides folks try to prevent the bride and groom from exchanging garlands easily. There are smiles and laughter all around from elders knowing very well that this will be last opportunity for one-upmanship for the groom in life 😉 😉
Malai Mathu ceremony

Malai Mathu ceremony

  • Or ‘Nalungu’ ritual after the wedding which is also a game of one-upmanship. Again, elders push the groom to have maximum fun as possible. Can you imagine what will happen if he tries to break a papad on his wife’s head the next day or few days later??? Hell hath no fury like a woman whose hair is disturbed 😠 😠 😠
Nalungu ceremony

Nalungu ceremony

In short, for the ever conservative, serious Tambrahm community marriages were occasions to meet and catch up with short moments of excitement here and there. That’s all.

But these have become passé.

Today even Tambrahm (could be others also) marriages are getting “obese” and are aspiring to be of “the Big Fat Punjabi Wedding” class. So even in a regular Tambrahm wedding don’t be surprised if Kanjivaram silk saree meets a Patiala suit. These days men turn up mostly in designer Kurtas, girls in Lehenga choli and ladies in backless! If not a very elaborate ‘Mehndi’ ceremony as yet, applying mehndi and preparing for the wedding is no more a dull affair for the bride to be. Choru(Rice) and Sambar are being replaced by Chole Batura,… and buffet fare atleast the previous day. At the reception, city’s popular DJs belt top of the pop numbers to which young and the old alike sway, croon and shake their hips and legs. Soon one can expect choreographed renditions of dance numbers I think. These changes have not happened overnight but have been doing the rounds gradually over the last few years. But today the trend is stark.

The credit for this transformation in the marriage scene must go to Bollywood and people like Karan Johar who in film after film thrust in a “Punjabi Wedding Song” and made this an aspirational affair for others. So don’t be surprised if soon the “Patiala peg” also mixes with the “Filter Kaapi”

Sundari Neeyum Sundaran Nyanum Chernirunthaal,….. Shava Shava!!!

P.S : While on this, please do read my earlier take on “Mamas” – http://wp.me/p1dZc2-jI

Images Courtesy :www.pinterest.com

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27 thoughts on “When “Kanjivaram” meets “Patiala”!!!

  1. G Ramesh says:

    Very nice and hilarious. Recently attended one typical South Indian Wedding.. not Tambrahm.. Could see the food style changed dramatically.. we were even served Chinese… North Indian, Italian.. Pizza, cannelloni etc.. Sooner or later… world cuisine will be at Indian weddings…

    Like

  2. Bindu says:

    Interesting.very nicely written.with our exposure to varied cultures lots of things hv changed in the marriages.both young and old enthusiastically participate in the newly introduced activities and open to all tastes and cuisines.

    Like

  3. Nimi` says:

    Fun-tastic Anand! just enjoyed reading this…………….and what a transformation…..leave alone two states, one state can make such a big difference!

    Like

  4. arunmozhi says:

    Super Anand..nicely written…

    Recently my nephew married a bengali…morning was Tamil wedding and evening was supposed to be the bengali wedding…eventually the bengali wedding happened at 1 am next day…and they also do the oneupmanship during garland exchange by raising the bride….and boys people raising him even more to complete the task …

    best was receiving the bride groom family with a ceremonial fish…to those whose are pure vegetarians…hilarious…but got in return a fished shaped peda….

    India is changing …I would say more the Karan Johar the biggest wedding movie ever was hum aap ke Hai koun by suraj b.

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  5. Meenu Iyer says:

    too good and so true…. Its almost like 70% Gundu Panjabi Kalyanam and 30% of Tambrahm Kalyanam…. But its fun, either ways its like a stress buster for most of us, who are craving for something entertaining and ofcourse, for us bloggers to put something on the web 😀
    http://wp.me/p3Vxvd-4

    Like

  6. Meenu Iyer says:

    Do check that link and give me your feedback, it is about namba Tambrahm girls and what we are facing – As if being born only to get married 😀

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  7. Very true! My own wedding was a classic example which was a mix of Madhwa-Iyer customs. My folks found it preposterous to have cooked rice as a part of the oonjal ritual. My MIL decided to substitute that with flower petals from 5 different colours. My MIL wanted the maalai maatrum before the kanyaadaanam, which my folks obliged with. It was a beautiful mix according to me.

    I agree with you about weddings getting fatter. My older sister didnt have an elaborate wedding as I did and the one we are planning for my younger sister is grander than my own. We are evolving too 🙂

    Maybe I will do a post on this on my blog!

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  8. Saumya says:

    Hahaha. I have seen idli-dosa stalls in North Indian weddings, and aunties wearing rich silk South Indian sarees too 🙂 disposable incomes, increased exposure will make this world homogeneous. As you mentioned, pastas and Russian salads are already being served at traditional weddings. Even if these items are vegetarian 🙂

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