Blog Post by Murali Shankaran
Back from office in erstwhile Bombay, staying in Dombivili which is a mini Chrompet with lot of namma avaa, my dad called me. “Ambi, adutha vaaram unnaku ponnu parka madras porom.” (Inner mind voice in Hindi: “Ab mera number aa gaya!!”). The horoscopes were matched. “Nalla porutham irukku, move panalaamae” endru the girls parents decided and wrote to my parents.
A mutual friend had helped us in exchanging the horoscope, first moonu porutham paarthaachi and matched. Everyone was happy because there were lots of commonalities. “Avaalukkum Tirunelveli thaan, Kallidaikurichi poorvigam, avaalum namba Sringeri mutt followers. Aacharyal ku romba vendiyavaa. Nalla pazhakam.” (Inner mind voice: Who is not close to the Aacharyal? Even if people are not, they at least proclaim to be so).
They had conveyed some good things about me too. “Paiyan nalla velaiyila irukaan. Newspaper le irukaan. Paper vithundu irukaan.” (Inner mind voice: ‘Aahaa!’ in Vadivelu style. First ball leye kavuthutaar) Working in a newspaper selling advertisement space was my work profile. Idhaithaan avar avalavu azhaga sonnaar.
So, it was time for us to be off to Madras for the ponnu paakkara ceremony. My Appa told me only one point – “Ambi, ponnu unnai reject panninaa, yen endru kekka koodathu. Aana nee ponnae ekkaaranatukkum reject panna koodathu.” As a dutiful son, I nodded. Ponnu paarthom, pesinom, rendu verum Yes sonnom, Nischiyathartham thattu maathinom at the girls house… all on the same day! Please note: Pillai veetu kaara naanga only 10 persons.
A few weeks later, the girl’s father called up to check which kalyana mandapam to fix – Raghavendra or Shobana is available. My father, like a dutiful brother, told Mama (Inner mind voice: Ippo thaan nischayathartham aayaachae, appidi koopdalaam) “Enga anna Madras la irukaar, neenga avar kittae kelungo, avar enna sonaalum ok.” I was secretly praying that my Periappa takes the right decision. And he said, “Enga kootam konjam perisu thaan, aana parava illai neenga Shobana-vey book pannungo.” (Thanks Periappa).
November la, anda nalla mazhai kaalam la, ennakum en aathukaari-kkum Gowri Kalyanam paadinaa. Madras was flooded and people took pains to attend the wedding. Marriage mudinja adutha naal, we all left for Sringeri to celebrate the Shasthi Abda Poorthi of my Appa in a grand style with Acharyal’s blessings. A group of more than 100 people travelled. When we went to seek Acharyal’s blessings he called out to my Appa & Maamanaar – “Vaango Shankaran, Vaango Seetharaman. Romba santhosham. Kalyanam nalla mudinjidha? Enga aashirwadhams!” That was my story. My Appa is also a ponna petthavar. So he understood the pain of another ponnodu Appa.
But tell me one thing – do we see the same mentality nowadays? Maybe they don’t ask for dowry… aana dowry panattodu jaastiya, kalyaanattula aadambaram-na kekkara. It’s no longer a wedding. It’s an extravaganza – at the Ponnu’s father’s expense. How many of us can recollect the following statements by the Pullai veetu kaara:
Paiyyan’s father: “Idho paarungo… engalluku onnum vendaam, neenga kalyanam nalla panni veingo adhu porum. AVM or Kuchalambal. Or ippo latest MRC try pannungo dates available-aa irukku… namba Vichhu online paarthaan. Catering Patappa will be fine… or else Rajashekar. Illai naa neenga Ronak ketu paarungo.”
Paiyyan’s mother: “But Patappa is available-aam… enga Venkidi Mama ku avarae nalla teriyum. We will ask him to put in a word, matha padi ok.”
Paiyyan’s father: “Naanga oru 300 peru iruppom kalyanathukku. But idhu enga veetu mudhal kalyanam, so we will have to call lot of friends (vaddi illa kadan vasool pannanum)… Adhuvum Shanky (Maapillai) has just shifted his job and he needs to call all his current colleagues.”
Paiyyan’s mother: “Old colleagues and his other group friends kandippa varuvaa… vittu kudukka mudiyaadu. Indha list trim panni panni, it has come down to 400.”
“Amma en friends and colleagues koopidanum” (Idhu Shanky odu sister Priya) “Approximately 100 people kandipaa iruppaa.”
Ponnu odu Appa Mind Voice: “Evaa kootam paartha naan YMCA Ground thaan book pannanum”. Paavam ponnu odu appa mentally conversing with wife: “Eva ippadi iruppa-nu Seshu sollave illai.”
Ponnu odu Amma (replying in mind voice too): “Poana pogattum. Neenga onnum sollaadheengo. Adjust panni kalyanathai mudichudalaam. Venumnaa ennodo rettai vari sangali, rendu valayal jodi ammu ku podalaam.”
The list continues…
Paiyyan’s father: “Bakshanam 151 veingo, enga kaveri athai irukaa avaalukku mouth rumba neelam, edhaavudhu sollinde irupaa.”
Paiyyan’s mother: “Reception kku lets have a mix and match of north Indian south Indian and Chinese buffet.”
Eventually, 900+ people come ONLY from the boys side for 5 velai kalyanam. Oru vazhiyaa kalyanam mudinjudhu. Ponnu ava pukkaatukku poyaachu. But her Appa is busy settling all the bills.
Image Courtesy: https://meenuiyer1092.wordpress.com/
My heart truly goes out to the Ponnu veetu kaara… yenna naanum oru ponna pethavan daane.
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