Sunday, 27 June, 2010

Kalyana Kathaigal

Im in Chennai in the middle of Kalyana season . The whole day goes in trying to get into the tight silk blouses and ferrying vethlai bags .
In Chennai kalyanams are taken seriously . It is the only place where I know that you can have 3 invites on the same day and in the same hour slot!So this is how the chennaiite does it.
Did the invite come by post or courier ? Are we boys side or girls side? Then comes did they come personally ? Who came ? Parents or tier 1 relatives. Then the ultimate tie breaker. Who cooks in the wedding?
Mountbatten Mani , Arusuvai , Saapadu Raman , Kalyana Raman , Mambalam Mahalingam ...
Now a days though the Mambalam tribe have deserted good sambar sadam for wontons and chocolate fondue. Many a mamis find it difficult to juggle the giant appalam in a sea of Iyer made Curry leaf tempered Original Chinese noodles.

Once we have deciphered where we go first , sit longest and eat the husband and wife make a complicated plan.

You arrive at the wedding. First the men move to the left and women to the right . Young girls are deciphered slowly the boys in Hawaii chapals and American returned cologne are slowly recorded and mentally matched.

As Husband and wife sit separately and wife is immersed in mami tales . The mama on the other side can feel the bile rising in his stomach. Ducking and weaving the relatives of the couple he signals furiosuly to mami . the modern day mama would sms saapad? in the good old days a pavadai clad girl would be sent Mami, mama is calling.
But first you have to mark attendance , then hand the gift, avert the meals ready look of the relatives. Collect the thamboolam bag and run to the next.

Handing the gift is a skill in itself. You learn to squeeze past the bouquets and land right at the stage. If you are important the photographer is summoned, if you are not you are told how dear you are.

Then comes the reason we women love weddings. You don't cook , you get to dress , not have to sit next to a complaining husband and bitch without bother. So when you get to the Elai sapad and sample the buckets being emptied. You are confronted by the videographer. He knows exactly how to capture a pattu mami with a papadum in her mouth or a mama vehemently fighting with the cook that no mundris came his way. For me i find it tough to have the poli dipping with ghee and jangri all in one go and a flash light attacking me.

But all of is who have had videos of our weding. How many times have we seen it and how many times in that have we leapt out of our husband's heart and on to a rose bunch. I managed it 6 times and I also managed to have my head morphed into a chess queen and chase the king all Over 64 squares.The videographer explained madam special effects .... my patti thought it was a bad omen to have my head cut off on my wedding video.

Nowadays you don't just attend weddings you have to sing , dance , socialize all at same time .
But I serious love the wedding season. Where else can we see on a muhurtham day , vadhyars taking no entry and telling the cop Saar muhutham time coming close pls.adjust. Or ladies in their scooty with their brightest sari and matching helmet. In December we can ever get the matching ear muff (the current chennai haute accessory) in leopard print toying with the maatal.
Wedding season is when chennai takes stock of its soon to be married youngsters in a way that even the census may not be able to keep up. But when aadi arrives apart from aadi thalupadi you have to re adjust those silk blouses for the next season....
till then mama and mami can keep themselves busy emptying thambaloom packets and recycling gifts till the next manjai patrikai comes along....


  1. So true! You've captured it all very well except for the fact that silk blouses are very difficult to take off when one is sweaty.

  2. thanks jaya chiti ... yeah i know sometimes the grumpy husband has to be enlisted to rip it off

  3. great
    but yu missed the diamonds and the gold...
    or have yu saved it for the next time?!!

  4. Thanks sowmya , for reminding forgot the grt aspect...where mamis will come and pull out your pendant and say doesn't show.....

  5. Along with sambar saadam, the mambalam tribe has deserted the paatu pudavais. They are taken over by the designer sarees.

    A lovely post capturing the typical tamil kalyanam

  6. thanks asha .. these days all these samudrikas and mundrikas ... mean unless u look like a traffic light you are not really dressed

  7. Mountbatten Mani, seriously? And are they really serving noodles on elais these days? I have not had kalyana sappadu in eight years. Gosh, I'm feeling sorry for myself! :-) When my brother Sharath was a kid, he'd call the cook maamas "bearer"!! Very nice description of a familiar scene.

  8. I read an interview of Vishwanathan Anand in a magazine and he said that his wife blogs. Searched online and found this. Just wanted to congratulate both ( you did have a role) on the victory in the world chess championship.

  9. Thanks sujata ,I love the relay message when you say sadaam one server will shout to another ... Till it reaches the kitchen.
    Thanks Radha , I didn't know my husband said that fact I never told him I blogged till he found out .....

  10. As usual, a really nice read!!!!! Whatever you may say Aruna, a kalyana saapaadu is still something great!!! (of course, i certainly dont want noodles in it....eeks!!!)......the adjectives for the cooks was also hilarious!!!!!pl keep writing

  11. thanks sudha .... i love kalyana sapaad especially the extra payasam and ghee poli ... but when you have to dip it in chcolate fondue .. i pass

  12. "my head morphed into a chess queen and chase the king all Over 64 square" hilarious ..

  13. So wonderfully written. Loved it! I havent been to a wedding since my own (really!) and this brought back so many fond? memories!! You got me hooked.

  14. Chechi,, I had one surprising element related to your marriage with anand.That is ,In my childhood one of my neighbour beena said that she saw one auditorium and it was ur marriage.She was there 2 days after ur marriage.And she is had good time to spend this story tp everyone in our place.

  15. First time here. First of all I am wonder struck how U write such nice articles like Golu etc despite your tight time schedule on the card. Best wishes

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