Blog post by Gayatri Subramanian
Most of us are at that age when you have no idea about your paycheck, your goals, hell you don’t even know what you are doing with your life! And on top of it all you are a TamBrahm, so you have to look good and successful in front of the countless mamas and mamis and second cousins twice removed, no pressure there!
And then there’s the huge wedding cloud looming over you like the Mumbai rains, one day it’s dry and the very next day there’s a torrential downpour from Amma and Appa
The hints start with Amma remarking how you don’t know what is sambhar podi or how idli maav is something you make at home with scientific proportions you used in volumetric practicals in college and not MTR mix or when Appa remarks you better hustle when you still have hair on your head, else there is no prospect for you!
Weddings used to be fun you got to sit beside the groom on the unjal, look cute and pretty for photos. When relatives ‘ooh’ed and ‘aah’ed about how cute a kid you were. Or a platform to showcase your talents as a singer (move over Indian Idol, muhurtanaal here I come)
Fast forward to 20yrs later and it is no short of a warzone, most of the battles you can get out of with your diplomatic talks and ways. Most TamBrahm kids develop this handy talent quite young but then there are some where war is imminent.
So you get ready for battle in your garb! Kanjivaram in Mumbai summer (admit it, there’s no arguing with Amma over that. She is your mother of course she is better at winning arguments) Check.
Gold jewellery from the locker because you have to be admired by the relatives. Atthais and periammas. Check.
Make-Up (hopefully that will keep people from recognising you) Check. Sorry men can’t help you in this if you go to a wedding you will come out slaughtered.
So ladies and gentlemen. Prepare for battle.
Now on ground zero, the civilians are the bride the groom and the immediate family who have no clue what is going on. Their life is in the hands of the vadhiyar and the mandapam for those three days.
And in the age of DSLR the photographer breathing down their necks do the smell the roses pose, twirl her around, of course she doesn’t mind. Who said all that jewellery was heavy, the groom pick up your bride, sure! I haven’t picked up weights in the gym but I will pick her up, how else will it look pretty on Facebook. So yep the civilians have no idea about the carnage around them.
While that is going on? The Generals of your army a.k.a your parents are chalking out strategic maneuvers of how to accidentally put you in the path of an unsuspecting girl/ boy who is still single. In typical assassin style they have all the info down to which mole is on which foot for that person.
You are trying to be a good soldier and defend your ground in a small corner hoping to get tover with this hoping and praying for coffee because that early morning muhurtam did not help with you dark circles. So you are defending your ground..but in reality you have walked into a ground full of landmines.
A random mami who was once at your aandinarvu but has never seen you ever after that recognises you and bam! Enemy fire! I do not know how these mamis develop a radar. Even Bruce Wayne cannot develop this with all his wealth. But aandinarvu mami has caught hold of you, now you are a prisoner of war, and starts the grilling but not before the customary. ‘Evalo illauchu poitai..naan nyabagama?’
You fumble through those politely. Because like I said we kids are trained for it. And then starts the ‘how old are you? what are you doing? what are your expectations?’
Makes your first job interview seem like a peice of cake, doesn’t it? Somehow you manage to shake of aandinarvu maami but word has already spread beyond enemy lines about the POW.
Strategy no.2 stick you with an equally unsuspecting single individual who couldn’t talk his/her way out of marriage madness. Its way more awkward than when you first started talking to guys/girls. But you play it cool, equal amounts of chivalry, sympathy and shake them off or get their no.(p.s. never let a dating prospect go.)
Meanwhile the generals of your army (your parents) are congratulating themselves for successfully planting a bogey in enemy territory. Your relatives have clued in on the agenda too..and a mass guerilla warfare starts people pop up from unsuspecting places to question your credentials. Spread the word.
After fending off every soldier with every ounce of politeness in your body,you finally make it home exhausted and swearing you will never ever go to a kalyanam again. But who are we kidding, we will continue to do this, till we become the unsuspecting civilians in the mandapam ourselves.
40yrs down the line we will also plot war strategies for our kids who are we kidding we will be Indian parents too.
P.S. Please let your kids buy MTR idli maav, it is really tasty. There’s nothing wrong with it.
P.P.S. Men there’s no way to escape this, not even makeup, unless you are Batman!