Wednesday, March 19, 2008

coy in coimbatore- the Nitchyadhartham

I went to Coimbatore. My cousin was getting married there. Getting to Coimbatore was something else. See previous post for full details.

This post is not about that

This post is about the wedding. The great fat tam bram wedding.
(To be honest tam bam weddings are not great or fat. Neither was this one. They are short and thin and scheduled at times so as to ensure the minimum number of guests)

Day 1 was the engagement ceremony. The engagement ceremony is short and sweet and can usually be conducted even without the bride and the groom. The parents get together, exchange gifts. i.e the girls side come bearing various things like fruits and nuts, a diamond ring or two, maybe a gold bracelet, ( these days even candy and it is arranged cutely to spell the names of the groom and the bride, maybe a heart if the parents are 'open' and not conservative - non conservative unfortunately also coincides with corny in most tam bram specimens). I am certain many other transactions take place a little less publicly. In exchange the boys side also produce some gift type items - among which is also a saree and depending on how much you liked the bride some jewelery things. Then the parents sign a contract and thats that. I have been in engagements where there is no boy and no grl, just the parents, engagements with girl and boy teleconferencing beaming happily through a laptop.

Anyway this engagement had both boy and girl.In such a situation the girl is presented with her gift type items including the saree at which point the sister of the groom is supposed to lead her away, help her tie her saree bring her back. Then she has to put sandalwood paste on her forehead and neck and so on. and usually in return for all this the sister gets a saree of her own presented by the girls parents. The idea is that the grooms sister, the brides sister in law is welcoming her into her new family. Now i was the sister in this case. I am the standard sister for most of my male cousins and have collected many sarees and know my role down pat. But alas, when the priest in the medai (stage) called out for the nathnar (sister in law) to appear - there was no sister in law, since i was in a bus or auto or taxi still making my tortuously slow way to Coimbatore. Of course a substitute sister was produced for my cousin, one of the many brides i had welcomed into the family with this routine earlier. My family and i trudged in shamelessly after the entire ceremony was over, me desperate for that cup of filter coffee denied to me after my long tiring journey to Coimbatore. (See prev post).

I was subject to the usual "So you are next tee hee hee" type inquiries. These were relatively easy to field and I don't understand why they ever bothered me earlier. The sort of stuff being thrown at me now was much harder faster and well aimed. ' u next -tee hee hee' is absolutely nothing- amatuer stuff. Now there was a 'u next?' followed with a 'why not?' if that was also sidestepped it would be followed with a blunt ' is there something wrong with you- like a disease or sexual orientation?' and the even more effective technique of ignoring me completely and laying the stress and responsibility on my parents. They turn to them look past me like i dont exist and ask "arent u looking" (i.e looking and for suitable brides and grooms for me and my brother), ensuring casually that it is understood by all that you are property and not a thing to be addressed. Now my father who dint want to come to this wedding in the first place (cos it was a sunday) and who also likes to be cool and non confirmy around my mothers relatives replies - thats that not the way 'our family' does things. In our family we discuss and take into consideration the views of our children and without their consent we dont look. He smiles superciliously for effect. Un detttered relatives badger on- but surely you as a father have some responsibility they point out. He smirks and with an attempt at hilarity says 'i have obtained a 'waiver' from both of them You see my daughter is a lawyer she has advised me on how to cover myself hahahaha' Relatives unamused by attempt at hilarity, unperturbed reference to daughter marriage market damaging education, undettered by smirky nature perster on ' but surely u owe a duty to us' they say. At this point my father is ready to tell them where they should shove their notion of his responsibility to them but my mothers consternation and dont u dare use this in my family versus your family score card shuts him up.

Meanwhile i get hotter and tired-er in my silk saree and my high heels (which were lovely and caused my grandfather to exclaim 'by god! how you have grown! so tall is so few months!' he proudly announced my growth spurt to several aunts and uncles) , still looking or that filter coffee. My aunt rounded on me en route my filter coffee search and gave me a good talking to for arriving too late to perform my sister duties and reminded me that I had better be there at 5:00 a.m the next day to ensure that i did my sisterly duties through the muhurtum as well.

Sigh. For the short amount of time i spent there Coimbatore was a very long trip

Detailed wedding post coming up.


  1. i love the "how tall you have grown!" :D You can have a "standard sister saree" stall at the hubba this year! :p

    looking forward to what happened at the 5 a.m. wedding. dont be lazeee, post post...

  2. :) so many weddings. too many happening too often to post about. but yes 5 a.m. wedding post is due

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