I think the earliest memories for any TamBrahm kid would be the often heard refrain ‘ Chammatha irukkanam’. From their wide world of so many relatives including their beloved Amma & Appa.
Everything is done in a disciplined and meticulous way which includes celebrating festivals and occasions. I think we are experts in time management as we divided it into so many kalams each good and not so good. Rahu Kalam is shunned while Yama Kandam is frowned upon. In between we choose and select the best from the little rest.
As a child I did not realise the implications of these various ‘ kalams’ until the dawn of my wedding day. I guess I was just busy being ‘chamathu’. My wedding day was a pleasant Wednesday. I woke up early and began to get ready. I had asked the beautician to come and do my hair and make up to make me beautiful. But alas I had forgotten to mention to her about notorious ‘ yama kandam’. And so the poor girl reached the wedding hall at 6.45 am. I was dressed in a simple cotton saree which belonged to my mother. My beautician lovingly started her artistic work by designing my braid. Her mom also a beautician was just beginning to apply make up on my face. The first event upcoming was ‘ Oonjal’. So it was mandatory that Oonjal should begin before Yama kandam. As we all know on Wednesdays Yama Kandam begins from 7.30 am and swallows time till 9 am. The muhurtham was from 9 am. The wedding rituals should be complete and Griha pravesham should be done before Rahu Kalam which starts by 12 noon. This was the schedule from minute to minute drawn by my father in law.
However I was somewhat oblivious to any of these ‘kalams ‘ and getting dressed ready to be the blushing beautiful bride. Suddenly I heard a flurry of high decibel activity. The chitthis, mamis, and athais started knocking at my door. ” Ready aa vaa…..”. My beautician was aghast. The braid was half done. Jasmine flowers hanging loose. Make up was half done. I was still wearing the plain cotton sari and the dazzling Oonjal silk saree lay untouched. I looked funny with half eye make up. Any thing but the beautiful bride.
Oh !! The infamous Yamakandam was going to start in 10 minutes and my father-in-law wanted us to complete Oonjal ritual before that. Like the chamathu kid I rushed downstairs. People were wondering what’s happening. As my husband and I sat and the Oonjal began to be swung and songs sung by our near and dears. My mother looked as if she would faint when she saw my face half made up and me in the cotton saree. She gently and firmly explained to my father-in-law that once we had sat and the symbolic swinging had been done she wanted me to go back and get dressed in the Oonjal saree with proper hair and make up done.
And so Oonjal started just a few minutes before Yamakandam. At 7.40 am I rushed back to my room upstairs. My panic stricken beautician was relieved to complete her pending job. She quickly and efficiently did it.
That’s it and I went downstairs this time full dressed in my bridal finery for Oonjal part two again. Everyone was relieved. There were no more slip ups that day and All’s well that ended well between the Yamakandam and Rahukalam. 🙂