Thursday, October 22, 2009

Arranged marriage

Kerala is known throughout the world for its beautiful backwaters and houseboats that sail on it. It is even promoted as an exotic locale for wedding and honeymoon. Just check out this story before you book the tickets.

It was an arranged marriage. After some misses, this was the hit, arranged to the hilt. The girl Indu lived on the mainland Ernakulam. The boy, Suresh lived on one of the larger islands around Kochi. After a Pennukanal ( Boy meeting the proposed girl) ceremony, the date and time of the wedding were decided by the elders. It was a match on all counts. The boy had a decent job and the girl was a teacher.

On the decided date, our groom Suresh who had invited almost the whole island to the wedding had arranged for one more boat apart from the usual govt. ferry service. Dressed in a silk shirt, he was there leading on the pier leading the people to boat.

Chinnamma chechi, ah. Chetanum pillerum ille?” ( Chinnamma , is not your husband and kids coming)
Kuttappan cheta, aduthe boatinnu keram(Kuttappan, let’s board the next boat)”

Someone inquired, “ Da Sureshe, Nee mattavane kando, Avande oru shirtum”(Hey, Suresh, did you see the other fellow, him and his shirt) blinking towards a guy in orange shirt.

So, generally everyone was in a good mood. Suresh had five elder siblings- four brothers and a sister. They were all busy in donning the best dress and ornaments for the day.

At the home, someone moaned, “Mullapoo kazhinnu”( Jasmine flowers are over). Women from Kerala need loads of jasmine flowers to bedeck their beautiful hair for a wedding. Immediately, Kuttappan was sent to buy the flowers.

It was almost 8.45am. The boat would leave at 9.00am. It was a 35 minute ride to the mainland and from there, through heavy traffic, it needed another 45mins to reach the venue. The muhurat was between 11.45am and 12.00

Many people were already on the two boats- one govt. and another private. Suddenly some shouted. "It is almost nine. What are we waiting for or we will be late for the wedding." So the boats started and left the island with our groom Suresh on it. His only solace was Kuttappan with some jasmine flowers.

People on the boats did not know about this till they reached the venue. The bride’s welcoming array of young girls and aunts were ready with the ashtamangalyam( Shagun) and garland but they could not find the Groom in the groom’s crowd. Chinnamma chechi said, “He spoke to me and went to the other boat. I thought he was on that.”

The Groom’s sister called her other brothers and scolded them, ‘I thought he was with you in the wedding car.”
“But he always liked you. I thought he was with you”
The groom’s mom who had alzheimer’s wanted to know why all were shouting and not going to pluck the tamarind from the trees, it being harvest season. “Puli paracho”, she asked( Have you plucked the tamarind).

In the hall, the invitees go the whiff of events. Mrs. Pillai whispered to Mrs. Nair,” Maybe the boy might have come to know about that friend of hers”
“That Rahman she befriended at the B.Ed college”
“Yes, he used to come too often to their house”

Before I go further, let me give an intro to the Kerala weddings. It is true that Kerala is one of the most developed states in India. But at weddings, the average Keralite behaves in a peculiar manner. They jostle and push to get entry into the reception hall where the feast is served. One look at them will make you think that they haven’t eaten for ages. It is almost a stampede.

So, Mr. Mathew said, “Oh! This will be a problem. I have not brought the lunch and taken only half day off. Have to report by 1.00 pm”

Suchitra, Indu’s classmate, was complaining to her mother, “Will you just take this useless baby(her own) off my lap. It will crumple my saree. I have to be on the stage when the wedding happens. Now where is this GROOM?”

“I have a client meeting at 12.30pm. Will this wedding get over in time?”, someone moaned

One octogenarian wanted to know whether the nadaswaram guys did not know other tunes.” “Njangalude kalathu nadaswaram entha rasamayirunnu enno” ( Nadaswaram in our days were so pleasant

Poor Suresh was waiting for the 9.45am ferry. It was 10.00 and no sign of the ferry. They called the boat office on mainland and were told that it had a technical snag and was in the workshop. Now the next boat was at 10.15am.It finally arrived jam packed at 10.27am.

The muhurat time was nearly over when Suresh runs in followed by our welcoming array of girls and aunts, ashtamangalyam et al. Immediately , he is given the thali, the Malayali mangalsutra. He wants to tie it, but there is some old guy who asks it to be flipped and tied. Some one gives him the sindoor to put on her forehead. In his excitement, he dumps the whole little container on the top of her head.

The tense gathering of invitees breaks into laughter. Next moment the hall is vacant as our invitees have gone for the stampede to the feast.

Suchitra missed being on stage as she had to feed the baby.
Mr. Mathew got in for the first round of feasting and reported to office in time
Kuttappan gave his wife the jasmine flowers in the evening.
Mrs. Pillai’s daughter eloped with the Rahman aforesaid.
The groom's mother now starts off every now and then for her son Suresh’s wedding.
The octogenarian fell in the stampede and fractured his elbow.


  1. hahahaha, loved this post and the story...very well narrated...poor groom, what all he had to go thru on his wedding day...nice write up...still LOLing :D

  2. Hahahaa...Holy this is cooking...sitting n making others laugh with your wonderful tales....come back! missing you big time!!! :(

  3. Hilarious !!!a great plot for a Priyadarshan movie ! Very well narrated and presented with just the right dose of humour.The lady with the baby sounds a lot like me...teheeee.

  4. lolz.....lovely story...really enjoyed reading it!! I liked the way wrote it!!

  5. does this really happen? transportation on a wedding day by Boat??
    mUst tell you...i felt like i was watching an episode of Malgudi days and suresh was aka swami.
    u wrote an exciting plot for a director to start directing...anyone interested in ur team to take on the role???

  6. hahaaa!!! A wedding without the groom!! Can't be anything funnier!! Just loved your narration...your description of a Kerala wedding is perfect! One of your best posts! :-)

  7. a nice description of the kerala wedding! I liked the honest and simpleton approach to your story telling..The stampede affair is awakening, the empty mandap must be embarassing isnt it?

  8. Nice narration..the same commotion is there in al marriages in north also...nothing can befind in time and at a fixed place, still the function is so enjoyable..
    Initially i was wondering if something wrong to happen, but then heaved a sigh of relief with the arrival of Suresh.

  9. Ha ha ha ha...(zillion times over). The setting, situation, characters and narration put together made an enjoyable read. Keep them coming!

  10. The same goof up can be seen almost in all the marriages in India. One party would think someone is in the other car and the other party would think he/she is in the first car, but this happened with the groom itself is quite unique here..that guy must be dead scared, what if he can't reach by the muhurat time :)

  11. Neha
    Yeah and at the end of it when he was making up for lost, someone had an advice on how to tie the mangalsutra

    Destinys child
    Today you must have your fill with major antics I displayed at office.

    With the one you are holding? Kids are problems at functions. Been through it twice over

    Nazish Rahman
    At your service to bring the laughs on

    What says amigo? Net in a directors and let it roll?

    Novice Writer
    Each one of us can identify with the situations. These weddings in Kerala, it is funny.

    The Unsure ascetic
    So, if ever the ascetic ties the knot, just get it arranged, right. And it is the best moment for the family and newly weds because they are left alone for photo sessions, introductions etc.

    We all love wedding hungamas. Europeans and Americans are surprised by the sheer number of invitees we have.

    Your will is my duty, chief.

    Anything can happen at an Indian wedding.:D

  12. Thats a nice story, got a bit confused in between..due to my ignorance of not understanding certain words..but the plot was great!Enjoyed reading the story KK!!Its amazing how in the same country one can get such great diversity:)Every corner of our country celebrates a tradition of its own..everything blends and becomes so vibrant!!
    Love it!

  13. Brilliant! A typical Malayalee Wedding very well presented. Especially the Sadhya part. :)

  14. A new beginning
    Thanks and you can learn Malayalam bits and pieces as I provide translation too.:)

    You know our weddings. Always there would be some guy who is supposed to get the simple afair done properly and usually ends up mixing it up.

    Happy to bring laughs. Keep coming :)

  15. Being a person from Kerala, I also have fallen as the victim of such marriage stampedes many times. This post was interesting, funny, informative and having a documentary style. This writing style is very unique having a lot of substances. Readers won't feel that they are reading, they will visualise it, sure.

  16. Tomz
    Thanks for the nice comment. It is really an adventure sometimes - weddings in Kerala:)

  17. Firstly, this is the second post I am reading related with Kerala. Kerala has always mesmerized me. But I have not been to the backwaters yet. I really want to go there soon

    The way you narrated was beautiful. It was as if I got to witness it all. Marriages are always chaotic in India, and it makes me awe in wonder amidst all these chaos, the bride and groom get married at the muhurat time.

    Just comparing it with western wedding where they have everything planned and in order; and they also have a rehearsal!!

  18. Insignia
    We are catching on fast with the west. We too have managed weddings with dress rehearsals. You can even choose a theme like Bavarian, African etc where the main relatives can wear specially stitched costumes. All ok till we don't rehearse weddings in life too often:D

  19. hey is this just a story?? my only qsn..:0 hehehe ..

    nice one ..haa its soo difficult to reach out the places haa?? ... good narration.. poor groom...:...heheh ..

    :) .. good one lama..emjoyed it ..:)

  20. It's true. I just added some frills. Yeah backwaters are beautiful but sometimes...

  21. I hope we never have rehersed weddings & event planners.The essence of these occations are these little surprises & the uninvited guests!!!People pushing each other to get to the food,complaing after a scrumptious meal& the "nadathippukaru"running around as if their tails were on fire!!

  22. True. All this hullabaloo is the fun or it would too planned. But the sad truth is the wedding is now fast becoming a business proposition.

  23. hahahhaha brilliant! Mr Kuttapan and Mullapoo was another brilliant piece altogether:)
    But the good part about Keralite weddings is that it gets over so quick. Max 10 minutes and the wedding is over tadah :)I love that part. Our weddings take forever :-/

  24. Shruthi
    Happy to note that you read the oldrer posts. Welcome to lama's world.