Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I have the good fortune of a wide range of friends & having made a promise to myself that attending the weddings of the close ones, i have had such a great experience in these weddings. There have been multiple posts on friend's wedding snaps on my blog & the experience in each of the weddings is a thing to rejoice.

  • Muslim wedding are quite short & apart from the weight of yellow, on the bride's neck - it could pass off as a gathering of family & friends. In fact, there was this gentleman in our friend's wedding who lamented the loss of the good old days - when he got married in the morning, took his wife home in the afternoon & she started cooking that night.
  • Malayalam weddings, follow the same timelines as that of a muslim wedding. Be late, of say 10 mins & you would have missed the entire cermony. Ask me, i did miss a
    colleague's wedding like that.
  • Tamil (Non Brahmin) weddings are one of my favourite for their show of togetherness & family bondings. There are endless circles of middle aged women, chatting & gesticulating loudly & the raw emotion on display, is what is quite interesting. Of late, this has been supplanted by loud & garrulous music bands playing endless amount of latest film songs.
  • Tamil Brahmin weddings are the longest & is marked by a pomp & class - that mortals like us, are more likely overwhelmed by the sophistication that anything else. Moreso, these weddings start a little before, the Sun wakes up & by mid morning - all traditions are done with & all mamas & mamis retired before noon.
  • Telugu Non Brahmin weddings, typically Khamma weddings are the other of my
    favourites. All topics of the wedding are typically commercial in nature. What did the bride wear & how much does it cost? What was the dowry? How many cars did the groom get? Is that a diamond necklace or it is an imitation? Uff., the list is about endless.
  • Telugu Brahmin - Do I have any option? Make your own judgement. They are as complex as the Tamil Brah community & you get 2 options - morning (in comparison to early morning!) or late night! Apart from it - all ceremonies are dedicated to mostly the elders and the bride & groom are more likely a sideshow that anything else.
  • Aryan Samaj Wedding - Mridumesh's wedding was of this type & the wedding ceremony will be remembered for 2 things. The simple nature of the ceremony & the way the Panditji engaged all of us with wit & humor to teach the various ceremonies and their importance. It was short, cute & educative.
  • Marwadi Wedding - Aditya's wedding was anything but simple. From the pre-wedding
    rituals to the wedding itself, it was all about making the right statements. The wedding itself is clearly divided distinctly into 3 or 4 parts intersperced with a lot of gap to recuperate. The highlight i would say, is the Baraat - a 1.5 hour statement of intent of enjoyment with everyone either showing off their dancing skills or making a naked attempt to look good when dancing (like me!, who can't dance for his live's worth)

Weddings are beautiful in terms that it brings 2 people & their families in their best manners to learn about each other & that is why, each one is special! The more i think about it, the more clearer it is to me - wedding celebrations typify the culture and the amount of enjoyment that people seek from these events.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Aditya's Wedding

The Wedding day was unusually slow till mid afternoon/early evening. Sarin did not show
up but Shalabh did, with 2 of his batchmates from IIM-B & boy, did we have a good time
together. Now, my belief in the theory, that all MBAs hit together and exchange war
stories, is complete.

Even today was as sultry as yesterday. If Aditya's wedding extended over 15 days & in this weather - i would have lost atleast a few good inches off my waist. I strongly believe that the sweat glands are going to demand a extended vacation from all the efforts of the last 2 days.

The Bridegroom's dress deserves a special mention. It was designed by his sister - Megha, who recently completed her NIFT bachelor's degree. Mark my word, if the bridegroom's dress is any indication, she has the potential to go quite a distance in her profession. The embroidery was complex & stood out of the grey sharwani material. With the embedded stones responding to light in the most positive fashion, the Sherwani made a great statement.

The baraat started at about 1930 about a good kilometer away from the wedding location & there was much hesitation from the party to move fast. They wanted to make the most of the baraat, as this was the first wedding in 15 years in the family (a snippet from the horse-ridden bridegroom).

As we progressed, i could not help notice the amount of road space that we took & there were very few vehichle owners who were upset with this fact. Maybe, they were enjoying the baraat, or being polite to the ritual - there was very little honking from the traffic.

As the party winded into the hotel, i noticed that there was 2 'Aditya' weddings in the hotel. A good amount of navigation was requried to get the party into the right slot. Soon, there was the second baraat - but believe me, their's was no comparsion to ours. There was less music, lesser dance, no stunning fireworks and they moved too quickly.

After the groom happily relinquished his horse & made way to the mandap, quite a few of them - hit the refreshment stalls & returned in time when the bride arrived at the mandap. A few minutes later & half a dozen attempts to garland Aditya (held high by his cousin as well pushing himself to the limit for some time!), the groom was conquered. A frank remark here Adi, the bride is as tall as you are - i guess she could have garlanded you without much effort, but she was being nice to you.
When Shalabh & i compared our snaps - we found that his coverage was wider but his snaps took a little toll from the videographer's light source. Now, rejuvinated from their attack on the refreshment stalls, the elders came up to congratulate the new couples & take snaps with them - recording their presence in the wedding, while the younger lot hit the dance floors.

An hour later, all of us (save the bride, groom & a few others) hit the dinner room downstairs.At about 0100, Sunday morning - Adi, Reshmi & their close ones retired to the dinner room, a small stop before the completion of the wedding vows. While i wanted to join them for the cermony - the train back to Chennai would not wait. This was quite an eventful wedding & my enjoyment in this lasted the whole time.

A special note here of Aditya's parents - Uncleji when he came to greet me on Friday Morning told me that i was now a family member and being a good friend of Aditya, gave me this special status. Till the end, i - Kalyan, was called 'Aditya Bhiayya ke dost' and the treatment was on par with what was accorded to Aditya. I guess, i am hunbled by this gesture and can but thank them for this honor. It was a pleasure knowing all those cousins and his relatives.

Evening Show

I have never been to a Marwadi/ North Indian wedding and it was quite nervous in the beginning - moreso to avoid mistakes than to enjoy the show. But as things settled, the show (Engagement & the Dance Night!) was quite enjoyable. A few action worth note -

1. The biggest 'enthu' with most numbers is the immediate relatives of the groom. Hey, they control the program and it shows! There was however this girl from the bride's side who was just magnificient when she danced for about 5 of the latest tunes.

2. The sweetest thing on display is the elder grandmom, filled with pride as well as leaded legs, grimace any pain & walk upto the stage to 'nakar uthar' the good performance. It shows that age & seniority does not come in the way of enjoyment.

3. The second best thing of the evening was the 'Welcome Dance' by Auntyji to her Bahu. It was such a delight to see the mother-in-law take the stage & efforts to show the Bahu, the love & affection that she has on display.

4. The best thing of the evening is usually reserved for the father of the bride. His dance is always much watched & enjoyed by all sides. Remember, the song "Doli Sajake Rakna" in DDLJ & everyone has a smile when Amrish Puri breaks into a dance-song jig towards the end. Something of the same scale happened yesterday when the bride's father took to the stage to do a complete number as a show of his happiness towards daughter & Son-in-law.

5. A few notes here; When a dance is performed by the bride & groom - it turns into a Must Watch & 'Nakun Uthar' for almost all elders; When the tiny tots - 3 feet in length; take to entertaining Bhaiyya & Bhabhi - it alwats is cute; the final section of 'free for all' is for non-shakers like me. Just get lost in the crowd & fling your hands & legs & you can pretend to be a good dance.

6. I recently had a email on why the Balajis, Venkatarams & the Ponnuswamys of the
world are unglamorous compared to the Kumars, Saxenas & the Agarwals. There is a geniune reason - there is no occasion in the family to shake the legs down south compared to the North & that steals the thunder when trying to make an impression. That seem to be my last word on the Balaji/Saxena mail that quite a few of my North Indian friends seem to have the pleasure in forward-ing to me these days.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Aditya's Engagement (Party)

Reethi (Traditions) & Reewaj (Rituals) are the buzzwords that keeps blowing out to me in the last 2 days. I am here at Aditya's wedding & today's culminated the end of activities of Day 1 - Engagement & 'Sangeeth'.

When i arrived here, in Gwalior - i was escaping the heat of Chennai & landed right in between 2 spells of monsoon in here. The good news is that it is not raining, the other (not so good!) news (more felt than the previous one!) is that it is so sultry that 4287 nanosecond away from a fan/cooler/AC and the sweat glands are on overdrive. So sultry that, a bath is followed by another - with perspiration.

The hotel of stay as well as Aditya's house has a great view of the Gwalior fort & it is pretty majestic. With a few gurudwaras and temples, the fort looked to have a self sustaining look. While i don't have time & more importantly energy to visit it - from this far, the sight of the fort seems to provide a soothing feeling to me. I wonder how it felt 200-300 years back. Invincible, is the closest that i can describe.

While doing rounds & checking on relatives with Aditya, i was a little puzzled to hear topics of discussion with Aditya on empty slots, dance practices, chances of sneaking into a dance etc. I was quite foxed by it - when 50% of time spent on discussion was on this topic. Innumerable explanations from Aditya & they were of no satisfaction. Come evening & when i saw the passion with which people tried overcoming any dance shortcomings to entertain all - it finally went to this small brain. Weddings at our end revolve around rituals & prayers with participation from one & all (only married folks, unmarried people are totally un-welcome). The Sangeeth show yesterday showed me that this is their way of introducing the bride & groom to the family members - it is very entertaining, full of energy & everyone is welcome (to dance).

Made me realise a few other things: I understood why rich folks up north spent a fortune trying to bring anyone from superstars to starlets into the wedding and make them perform on Sangeeth. The rationale still belies me.