Well, I came back from Kandaramanickam after attending Nitsy’s wedding and what a wedding it was!!! I mean wooooooow…. I have rarely been to a wedding that is not a typical Tamil Brahmin affair and if I had been to one, I don’t seem to remember it that well. This one was just out of the world. Although the wedding lasted for a much lesser time period than a Tamil Brahmin wedding, the rituals were just as interesting and meaningful (now do not come back asking what is the significance of the ‘Oonjal’ thing that we have in our weddings. I seriously don’t know. If you know, you could write it in the comments section).
The wedding rituals started with a ‘Nitchayadhartham’ – the official engagement ceremony on Sunday. That day, they also did this ritual where in they bring few small, tender branches of a banyan tree and tie it to a very long pole and fix it to the ground. I asked a relative of Nitsy’s what the significance of that is. She said, “These branches would be removed after the wedding gets over and would be planted in a different place. And the saplings would start growing there. It is similar to our girl – she is being taken from a big family and given to another place, to a new family. When she goes there, she would be a part of the new place and grow there and help their family to grow, just the way the saplings do!” I was amazed by the amount of thought their ancestors have put into the ritual (Now, somebody please tell me the significance of our ‘Oonjal’ ritual).
The next day was the day of wedding. Early morning, Nitsy had gottena red ribbon and a yellow rope tied around a piece of turmeric – together called a “Kaapu” on her hand. Unlike our weddings, “Maapillai Azhaippu” (inviting the bride groom and his family) happens on the day of the wedding. Once the groom came, he was also made to tie the “Kaapu” in his hand. This “Kaapu” is supposed to be removed after the knot is tied around her neck and she becomes a part of his family (again, unlike in our marriages, Nitsy is allowed to eat well even when she has the kaapu ties. Our brides are poor things; they don’t get anything to eat until well after 2pm – main reason why I am NOT going to get married!). After this, the guy ties the knot around her neck and in a matter of less than half an hour, she is the groom’s wife and from that point onwards she is bound by the rules and regulations of her in-laws and they would take all her decisions for her.
I can’t forget how they all cried – Nitsy, her mom, dad, sister, grandma, grandpa, Kavi, Divya – when she was leaving home, to be officially inducted into the bridegroom’s house (Another reason why don’t want to get married). It was so painful to watch her go.
More than all the rituals and the colorful dresses and the warm people and even warmer climate, one thing I enjoyed the most was the food. I had authentic Chettinad food for 2 days. For a person who gets hungry once in every 2 hours, the place was heaven. Whenever I met anyone, the first question they would ask is, “Saaptiya?” If you thought I’d shamelessly have told, “Not yet” and went for “pandhi” after “pandhi” of pure bliss, you are wrong. I had two “close” friends (close pannama vida maataanga) – Yals and Kavi who were always beside me reminding me, “Sandy, control…” And now, a full meal at our office cafeteria isn’t enough to fill my stomach!!! God, what is with me?