Blog post by Raj Vaidyanathan
Weddings are usually the most joyous occasions for friends and families to get together, all around the world but TamBrahm Kalyanam offers unique happiness, camaraderie, retrospect and sometimes even tumultuous moments, like no other, it is like going to Walmart, there’s something for everyone.
Based on the experience of attending Kalyanangal over the years, here is my take on some of the common shall we say ‘features’? These may not be reflective of what happens these days, I’ve only attended 2 of them in the last 15 years. These are from the 80s and 90s, you know, the classics.
More often than not, every kudumbam has a regular of all of the above, so the quality is never in question, neither is the money, it is just a matter of making sure they are available for the occasion, in fact, they usually render services for the nichyathartham that happened 6 months ago, so they knew it was coming. The caterer knows what you like so it cuts down precious times, same with Vadhyar, he knows your Sarman name, Nakshatram and the Gothram, generally for the entire family, so he isn’t hanging in there for you answer him, occasionally he’d stumped, “Priya vukku peru Gopalanayagi ya? adu enakku ippo daan therium”. The cameraman would generally re-hash the same type of music, what better song than “Bhojanam seyya varungal” when they’re filming folks eating? One thing I never understood is why they pose still for a video with the ponnu-mappillai? That’s the perfect opportunity for method acting.
as intended but naam patta kashtam namakku dhaane theriyum.
No matter which Kalyanam you go to, there’s always a pool of usual suspects who’ll be called upon for a song, be it Arathi, Oonjal, or Nelangu or just because they are there, like the Twenty20 death bowlers, they know they’ll be called upon any moment without much notice and they better bring out their best. The beauty of the whole thing is that, everyone of us (yes, I was one of them) knew to never sing other person’s special, we all had regulars, it was almost a neyar viruppam style except the neyars and the viruppams were almost always the same and yet it was refreshing each time. In 100% cases, there’d be 2 sisters that’ll perform an impeccable rendition of a traditional song during “maalai mathal” which would then be overridden by a Saxophone or a Nadaswaram song in the video edition, so unless you paid attention to it or captured with your camera, it is a lost event.
Now this could be a Delhi thing, but every Kalyanam that I attended as a kid, we would spend more time playing cricket with cousins and instant friends made at the event (and never to hear from them ever again) than inside the Mandabam. No matter how cramped the street was or regardless of how many scooters are parked (remember, this is 80s and 90s), we would always find our Eden Garden, or Chepauk stadium with room to spare. It would rather smoothly until you hit a straight drive..straight to the middle of the kasi yathrai, prompting a periavar “ingellam vilayada koodhathu, idhu enna stadium a?” well touche, you just pretended this is “Kasi” while standing in the middle of Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi, but wokay.
You probably know what this is about, it is the typical Mama accepting a tumbler of Rasna from Arun as the thali found its destination around the neck of the ponnu, and responds with a “Varunukku kalyanam aayachu, inime un line clear”, whatever that means. I may not empathize with it because I am the oldest but even if I wasn’t, why would I suddenly feel like marriage ready?